Set within 40 hectares of land, Bowlee Community Park is a former RAF barrage balloon centre and is now used for community sports.
Address: Heywood Old Road, Middleton, M24 4GS
Opening times: 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Facilities at Bowlee Community Park
There's a range of facilities at Bowlee Community Park, including:
- Informal orienteering route
- Cycle path suitable for disabled users
- Football pitches
- Changing facilities for private football users
Events at Bowlee Community Park
A number of events are held at Bowlee Community Park throughout the year.
Bowlee Car Boot Sale: regular car boot sales are held during the summer months at Bowlee Community Park.
Accessibility Cycling Sessions: Bikes4All run accessibility cycle sessions at Bowlee Community Park. In 2016, the footpath through the park was improved to allow access for disabled cyclists in the borough.
Bonfire and firework display: every year in October, Bowlee Community Park hosts a bonfire and firework display.
History of Bowlee Community Park
Bowlee Community Park is a former RAF barrage balloon centre which was set up in October 1939. It was the squadron headquarters and maintenance depot for 3 barrage balloon squadrons - 925, 926 and 931. These were Manchester's main balloon defences.
On 7 March 1941, a German Luftwaffe plane struck the base in a daylight raid with direct hits on the motor transport shed and headquarters.
The Junkers 88 aircrew had been given one of several simultaneous RAF targets, most of the others being in the Midlands and was travelling at a height of 800 feet.
Police reports say 9 high-explosive 50kg bombs were dropped on the site with 3 failing to explode. A further 12 small incendiary bombs were dropped with one failing to explode. The plane also machine-gunned certain parts of the camp.
One airman and one airwoman were killed and 12 were injured in the raid.
The site was an active RAF facility until June 1944. A modern reference to what used to be on the site is located next to the park with a landscaped area of grass. When viewed from the air, the grass takes the shape of a barrage balloon.
Lest we forget.
View a selection of images showcasing Bowlee Community Park.