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TwiTrip to Manchester – the verdict

Your Tweets led Benji Lanyado far beyond his old Manchester student stomping ground, from an indie tour of Salford to a dusty old library that witnessed a meeting of the masterminds of communism

Last Wednesday, I journeyed to Manchester with high hopes. I was determined to banish the dissatisfying memory of my misspent time at university in the city, when I loitered around the student district of Fallowfield for three years, save for the occasional drunken foray into town. This time I wanted to find truly Mancunian pursuits, aided by the good people of the Twittersphere. They did me – and their city – proud.

As per TwiTrip tradition, the day began with a request for train-time trivia. @Shabbychicb got the ball rolling, informing me that “Manchester City is the only football team to be founded by a woman: Anna Connell in 1880”. Then @danpyt sent me a map depicting a Soviet plan from the cold war era to storm Manchester with tanks. Excellent stuff.

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Top 10 UK walks: Orford Ness, Suffolk

National Trust UK walk 3, best for history: once a top-secret military testing site, this rich nature reserve still bears signs of its darker past

Orford Ness is one of the most dynamic landforms on the UK coastline and the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe. A large proportion of the world’s rare coastal vegetated shingle is found here, which together with the marshland provides important habitats for a range of bird species, mammals and invertebrates. 

In 1915 the arrival of the Royal Flying Corps ushered in a 70-year period of secret military experimentation, mostly working on aerial warfare. Between 1935 and 1937 the first experimental work on radar was conducted on the Ness, and from 1953 tests on Britain’s atomic bombs. The best thing about this walk is the strangeness of the landscape: the juxtaposition of wild remoteness and fascinating but disturbing history. After a welcome chat about safety, visitors guide themselves through the site. Allow at least three hours, carry plenty to drink and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.
Duncan Kent, visitor services warden, National Trust

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