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Things to do in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside


Newton le Willows is ancient town that has undergone many changes over the years. It was originally called Newton-in-Makerfield and in 1974 it was transferred from Lancashire into Merseyside.

Newton was a small market town of little importance until the 1830s. Then with the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, it became one of Englands major railway towns with 2 large foundries, well known for making locomotives and wagons.

As the town grew, new suburbs were created at Earlestown, Wargrave and Vulcan Village. Vulcan Village was built to house workers from the Vulcan Foundry, and is now a conservation area.

By the 1890s, Earlestown was the fastest growing part of Newton and the council decided to transfer the market from Newton High Street to Earlestown as this part of the town was badly served for services. This resulted in Earlestown being developed as Newton's town centre, and Newton High Street remaining an attractive tree lined street with cottages and small shops. High Street is still mostly like this today and is now like Vulcan Village, a conservation area. It is dominated by St Peters Church at the southern end.

Behind the church is Willow Park, with Newton Lake as it's main feature. From the High Street it is possible to walk to Castle Hill and Dene Dam, local beauty spots. The Mesnes Park provides all the usual facilities like football pitches, tennis courts, bowling greens etc. The Sankey Valley Park at Earlestown follows the route of the canal and has miles of pathways.

Newton is no longer an industrial town and has become a commuter town. It has seen considerable house building in recent years to accommodate all the new residents. It currently has about 23,000 residents. It has all the facilities you would expect, college, leisure centre, golf courses and Earlestown Market which attracts many visitors to the town. Just within the town boundary is Haydock Park Racecourse, opened around 1900 to replace the old Newton Racecourse.

Newton has good transport links, with Manchester City Centre about 20 minutes away by train, and the M6 and M62 running past the town. This means for commuters Manchester, Liverpool, and Preston are all about 45 minutes drive away, and also tourist areas like Blackpool, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and the North Wales coast are all about an hour away.

Description by Robert Holmes

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