Sports, leisure and the Arts Gore Brook Valley Conservation area


Although a small watercourse, Gore Brook has eroded a fairly steep-sided valley, creating the topography of the conservation area. Sunny Brow Park is a bowl-shaped hollow which is relatively formalised by the work of man, creating a park with large expanses of mown grass. Spatially it is enclosed on the north and south sides by rows of houses.

The middle portion of the designated area, also on the south side of Hyde Road contains the only dominant buildings: a group containing the Sunday School, the lodge and Brookfield Church. The churchyard has been neglected and is now a densely wooded area which obscures the view of the church from Far Lane.

An earlier centre of Gorton Village was located at the bottom of Ryder Brow, also called Bottom O'th'Brow on Far Lane. A few small cottages remain on what is essentially a winding country lane. By the late 17th century another centre was established on higher ground to the north at Wellington Street and Hengist Street, but this is outside the present conservation area.

Hyde Road, with its Roman origins, is the main road in the area and typically straight. Highways established at other times are narrow and meandering, particularly Ryder Brow, Far Lane, Tan Yard Brow and High Bank. Consequently there are no long vistas on these roads. Hyde Road defines the third portion of the conservation area to the north.

This part is once again largely rural, and contains only a few remnants of industrial buildings and the remains of a tannery. The area is more fragmented than elsewhere and is traversed by a number of footpaths which connect roads and bridges across Gore Brook. A high, disused railway embankment bordering the conservation area to the east is a major visual and physical barrier.

Roads are surfaced in tarmacadam, but would originally have been paved with setts or cobbles. Some footpaths still have their original stone flags, as do a few side streets such as Tanner Street off Tan Yard Brow. Some footpaths are less well defined, being made of gravel compacted into the earth.

As Gore Brook Valley is of semi-rural rather than urban character, the relationship of buildings to landscape and topography is of greater importance than in many of the city's conservation areas. The buildings are important in defining the open spaces which surround them.

Houses at the western end of the area are included to complete the frontage to Sunny Brow Park and to contain the open space of the park. Most of them, built at the beginning of the 20th century, are two-storey terraced houses having small front gardens with brick boundary walls. The walls of the houses are red brick with vertical sliding sash windows.

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