‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme for World Environment Day 2017, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.

World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action and takes place every 5 June. This year’s host country Canada got to choose the theme and will be at the centre of celebrations around the planet.

World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.

This year’s theme invites you to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship.

Here at Verastar, we all love living in Manchester and most of us adore the city life, but sometimes you just need a break from the hustle and bustle, the bright lights and the brick; and we can all benefit from getting closer to nature. With that in mind we have asked our staff in our Manchester head office where they like to venture to on a weekend.

  1. Alexandra Park

Situated slap bang in the middle of Whalley Range and Moss Side this is a spectacular example of one of the city’s greatest parks. Designed in Victorian times with meandering footpaths to combat the flat landscape and perfect for strolling arm in arm with your loved one.

Today the park retains many of its original features including the fishing lake but also has a community orchard with apple, plum and pear trees. You can also grab an artisan coffee and handmade cake as the great Tea Hive cafe in Chorlton runs a pop-up here.

  1. Heaton Park

Perhaps Manchester’s most famous park due to the legendary Park Life festival held here, this green space has tonnes to offer.

There’s a range of walks, a boating and fishing lake, bowls, golf, football and playgrounds.

You can see loads of different animals including alpacas, chickens, cows, goats, guinea pigs, peacocks and sheep and the park produces their very own honey. You can even glimpse the bees going about their business in the hives.

There’s so much to do here that you may as well make a day of it and bring a picnic, alternatively there are a few cafes and even a licensed bar to boot.

They also have a garden centre so you can take home your own piece of greenery.


  1. Cathedral Gardens

Ok, so maybe not the greenest of gardens but still a great addition to our city. The gardens were created after the bomb in 1996 as part of a regeneration scheme to connect the Cathedral to St Anne’s Square. Ideal for a lunch break, coffee date, reading or a spot of people-watching.


  1. Walkden Gardens

These stunning gardens are located in Sale at the junction of Marsland Road and Derbyshire Road. There are many different lovingly cared-for areas for you to stroll around here including wisteria arches, a cherry walk and a Japanese garden. There’s also a ‘Theatre Lawn’ where performances are often held, from bands and concerts to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. A beautiful and unusual green space to appreciate.

  1. Whitworth Park

Located on Oxford Road this open green space is popular with students. Owned by The University of Manchester the park won a Green Flag award in 2014 which indicates that it is welcoming, safe and well-maintained. A lovely space for taking a bit of much-needed time out.

  1. Blackley Forest

This nature reserve is situated in North Manchester. Walk through the forest and experience incredible wildlife. Bats, hedgehogs and over 30 species of birds and 241 species of plants have made this place their home. In winter time you could be rewarded with stunning Narnia-esque scenes as the ice clings to the trees. A breath taking retreat away from the crowds.