Until 1835, Hazel Grove was known as Bullock Smithy. The village of Bullock Smithy didn’t possess a church until the end of the sixteenth century and as a result, it was seen as a morally corrupt place for a number of years. While preaching in Bullock Smithy in 1750, John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist church, described it as, “one of the most famous villages in the county for all manner of wickedness.” It is thought he was referring to the village’s penchant for dog fighting, bull fighting, cock fighting and gambling.
Locals had referred to the village as Hazel Grove for over 30 years before the name was officially changed. It is thought the name originates from a local Hamlet, which was called Hessel Grove and it is also attributed to the large number of hazel trees in the local area.
The village has had a popular brass band since 1850. The band was an important part of village life, playing every Christmas Day for over a century in the local liberal club. However, the closure of a local factory in 1950 posed many problems for them. The factory had not only served as their rehearsal space but also employed a number of their players, making it impossible for the band to continue. Happily, the band reformed in 1992 and is now one of the best in Greater Manchester.
While in the village, you should visit the beautiful Torkington Park. The park has a great children’s play area and plenty of attractions for adults too. The bowls pavilion is a lovely place to spend a relaxing afternoon and the formal flower garden is an attractive spot to sit and enjoy the local wildlife. If you’re interested in more active pursuits, there are also tennis courts, football pitches and a putting green.
Intimate and relaxing, Hazel Grove is a great village with an unbeatable atmosphere.