Bowlee Community Park, Middleton

Park name
Bowlee Community Park
Windermere Road, Middleton M24 4LA

Set within 40 hectares of land, Bowlee Community Park is a former RAF barrage balloon centre and is now used for community sports.

Opening times

Open every day

  • Informal orienteering route
  • Cycle path suitable for disabled users
  • Football pitches
  • Changing facilities for private football users
  • Guide dogs allowed

There is free onsite parking at Bowlee Community Park.

Events and activities

A number of events are held at Bowlee Community Park throughout the year.


Bowlee Community Park is a former RAF barrage balloon centre that 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.

Memorial stone at Bowlee Park.