One of the positives to come out of this year is discovering new beauty spots right on our doorsteps.
With travel restricted for large portions of the year, most of us have had to rely on the green space that’s easily accessed from where we live.
Whether that’s Springwater Park in Whitefield, the Roman Lakes in Marple, or a hidden waterfall in the hills above Rochdale, there’s plenty to discover.
When we asked our readers which places they’ve uncovered during lockdown, answers ranged from Moses Gate to Werneth Low, Daisy Nook to Kersal Wetlands.
And one answer that cropped up a few times was Levenshulme’s secret lake.
This body of water is so secret it is literally labelled on Google Maps ‘The Secret Lake’ – although given that it’s listed on Google Maps in the first place, it’s not too tricky to come by.
It may have developed a bit of an internet presence, but the lake is still a beautiful surprise to find in real life.
Sitting just behind a rubbish tip and a large industrial estate, the water appears like a mirage when you round the corner to it.
You can access it either from the Fallowfield Loop, or from a footpath on Sandfold Lane, though the Fallowfield Loop approach is the more scenic of the two.
Swimming is not advised here – it’s a fishing spot and there may be hidden debris beneath the surface – but you’ll spot a few hardy wild swimming fans bobbing around all year round anyway.
It’s a haven for local wildlife too, including the bright green parakeets often spotted around south Manchester.
Locals have reported seeing voles, kingfishers, swans, and all manner of wildflowers growing around the banks of the water.
The Secret Lake is a beautiful sunset spot too, with the calm surface of the water reflecting whatever’s happening above your head.
The lake has been popular with locals for generations, but in recent years has become something of a community project.
There have been regular litter picking sessions to clean up mess sadly left behind by visitors.
Locals have also campaigned on a dedicated Facebook group to improve the littering issues.
According to this post, the owner of the land once tried to develop it – until environmental surveys revealed that rare protected newts had moved in and scuppered that plan.
The post-industrial lake was historically used by nearby factories to cool machinery, but has since become a real urban oasis.
Have you discovered anywhere similar near your home? Let us know in the comments below.