Children buzzing at Stick Man story walk along Bee Network

Date Released - 20/12/2022

CHILDREN were treated to a winter wonderland with a story walk along their favourite walking and cycling route.

It took place at Chadwick Dam, through Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge, which is leased by Ridgehill Big Local Enterprises, a not-for-profit social enterprise that leases and manages the land to benefit the community. 

The beauty spot benefits from the first Bee Network scheme to open in Tameside. The development includes enhancements to an off-road path for people to enjoy walking and cycling and a new crossing at Mossley Road – all improving access to the park and connections between residential areas and Tameside Hospital. Bat boxes have also been installed and picnic benches positioned in a wildflower sensory garden.

Pupils at neighbouring Silver Springs Primary Academy use the new network to make sustainable journeys to and from school.

Reception classes made the most of the new facilities on Tuesday 20 December when they enjoyed a special performance of the much-loved picture book Stick Man, written by former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson.

Simon the Storyteller used the natural surroundings as he led pupils through the park. Teachers were there to support the event, which was facilitated and supported by Tameside Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Ridgehill Big Local Enterprises.

School Principal Deborah Mason said: “The children loved taking part in the story walk and the experience of one of their favourite books coming to life in the picturesque setting of Chadwick Dam.

“The new facilities are of great benefit to our families living in the surrounding area by giving them the option to cycle or ride to and from school and some lovely scenery to enjoy.”

Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Education, Achievement and Equalities, said: “It was wonderful to join the Silver Springs pupils for the storytelling and lovely to see how much they enjoyed taking part in this healthy, educational and fun activity in the fresh air.

“The new facilities have enhanced Chadwick Dam and I’d encourage people to make the most of this beauty spot, which will benefit their physical and mental health.

“This Bee Network route provides a healthier, greener, more sustainable travel option for those making short journeys and is just one of the many improvements we’re making to our walking and cycling infrastructure across Tameside.”

Greater Manchester’s Bee Network will provide a 1,800 mile, joined up cycling and walking network across the city-region to connect every neighbourhood and community and make it easier for people to get around on foot or by bike. It’s funded by The Mayor’s Challenge Fund (MCF) with £160million being invested across Greater Manchester. Find out more at