I freakin’ love this place! It’s probably the most varied park in the city with all the random bits it has. Plus I love that it has Pebble Beach actually on the council installed maps in the park – this will mean something if you grew up in Leicester, or perhaps more specifically in the Saff/Aylestone area (but I lived somewhere else and still went, so who knows). Pebble Beach is about as exotic as it sounds – it’s a bit where the river meets some earth in a pebbly mess which is shallow enough to wade through when rainfall has been low. If you went as a kid you probably jumped around getting more wet and muddy than was ever allowed, made some dams and got scared by older harder lads on their bikes.
A wander around will lead you to the fun maze of board-walks around the marshy bits, some horses horsing about, the locks, play areas, fields of wild grass and other unexpected pretty bits. Aylestone Meadows is a real in the city alternative to a trip out to Bradgate Park.
Aylestone is a fascinatingly underappreciated part of the city. The whole area has remnants of the utopian/Quaker ideals of old Victorian industry owners – it’s not hard to spot the influences of the progressive thinking of industrial leaders back then. The British Gas houses (the ones next to the Gas Museum) are a great example, some cut a slightly shabby figure (in their current slightly dejected state) but overall they actually are rather beautiful and an ambitious undertaking by the employers of the then gas workers. We shall have to commit some more time to getting down to Aylestone and it’s surrounding bits. I think it’s going only improve in it’s offerings as the recession hopefully lifts.