Location: Adjacent to Princess Road (A5103), which is the main road into Manchester from the M56, on the west side.
Directions: From the South - get onto the A5103, or the M56 if far enough out. Watch out for the last bit of the M56 branching off to 'Didsbury' - ignore this and follow signs for A5103/City Centre. You can get to this point from the M60 if approaching from East or West. Watch out for speed cameras on A5103. Continue northwards past Southern Cemetery and the Siemens building. Hough End is on the left immediately after the (disused) railway bridge but it is best to ignore the car park on Princess Road (it's normally locked anyway). Turn left at the next traffic lights onto Mauldeth Road West. Entrance to Hough End Fields and Broughton Park Rugby Club is 400m along on left. Follow the driveway and park adjacent to the sports pitches. The OS grid reference refers to this entrance.
Parking: Free parking in car park adjacent to flying area.
Facilities: Bring your own toilets, shelter, seating and refreshments. Southern Pub a few hundred metres down the road but possibly not a family venue. Shops just past the pub. Southern Friary in this block of shops does an interestingly international selection of takeaways.
Accessibility: The field is adjacent to the carpark. No toilets.
Flying Area: Field is approximately 500m square and is the largest recreation ground in Manchester, which means that it is possible to get clear of obstructions regardless of wind direction. Surface is well maintained sports pitch grass and drains fairly well after periods of normal rainfall. Soccer and Rugby pitches get churned up in wet winter weather but recover reasonably well. There are fairly wide areas between some of the pitches. The area is very well used by dog walkers but fouling is at a low density because of the large area of the field.
Comments: The land is owned and maintained by the council and is open to the public. Organised sports matches will take precedence to kite flying. Evening training sometimes restricts access to the pitches adjacent to the car park but the upside is that the floodlighting sometimes allows flying after dusk in winter! The Broughton Park Rugby Club has a clubhouse on the site but I don't know if any enquiries have been made about using their facilities. There is a long history of model aircraft flying at Hough End, so please be polite in seeking a flying area that will not interfere with their activities.
Local Clubs/Contacts: None as far as I know.
Nearest Retailer: There are no kite shops in Manchester.
Report By: Stuart Baldwin, 15/7/2005 - See Northern Kite Group site and forum at www.nkg.org.uk to find occasional Hough End fliers.