Manchester and Day Trips Out

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Countryside Access Around Manchester


Manchester is surrounded by some of the most beautiful open countryside in England. Take any bus or train from Manchester City Centre, and chances are that within 10-15 miles you will be in open countryside - some of the most notable places to visit follow

: Peak District Countryside 2 English Lake District
Left to Right: the Peak District hills to the east of Manchester: Greater Manchester seen from the south; the English Lake District

Listed Alphabetically:

Alderley Edge

One of the most famous day trip places in the north-west, Alderley Edge rises up abruptly from the Cheshire plain, about 12 miles due south of Manchester. A distinctive sandstone edge with pleasant hearty walking capabilities. Approached from the village (off the A34), lined by huge pine and beech trees. A National Trust property, once used as copper mines. Offers panoramic views of Manchester and the Cheshire plain. Frequent Intercity trains from Manchester Piccadilly Rail Station.

Ashworth Valley

A fabulous 2 mile walk to Norden beside the pretty Cheesden Brook along its tree-lined valley. Located at Hooley Bridge, on the Bury-Rochdale Road (the B6222), and ends at the Rochdale-Edenfield Road (the A680).

Beacon Fell Country Park

The Ranger, Beacon Fell Information Centre, Chipping. Telephone: 01995-640 557.
or Bowland Ranger Service, Goosnargh, Preston. Telephone: 01995-616 93.
The Forest of Bowland offers many facilities for walking and rambling. This area, and nearby Pendle Hill are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, situated mainly in the county of Lancashire, but with parts extending into North Yorkshire. Extensive heather moorlands, woodlands and open countryside. The Country Park itself occupies some 185 acres with panoramic views of Lancashire. Easy walks are clearly way-marked.

Boggart Hole Clough

Located in Blackley, Manchester, this wooded ravine runs through the immediate north-eastern inner suburbs of Manchester, yet it is totally unspoilt. It is accessible by path from Rochdale Road. There is a large boating lake with a tree covered island. In 2002 Boggart Hole Clough was awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award by the Civic Trust in recognition of its excellent standard of environmental protection, landscape, cleanliness, accessibility, design and maintenance.

Bollin Valley

Bollin Valley Project Officer, County Offices, Chapel Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. Tel: 01625-534 790/1.
A variety of activities on offer including horse riding, archery, model car racing and live music. Regular annual events held at the Macclesfield Riverside Park - contact the wardens for information.

Bruntwood Park

Cheadle, Stockport.
Pleasant walks beside lovely gardens and a brook, heavily wooded with evergreens and deciduous trees. There is an 18 hole putting green, children's adventure playground, pets corner and a BMX Cycle track. Entrance located on the A5149 Cheadle to Cheadle Hulme Road.

Burnley Way

A 40 mile long walkway made up of existing rights of way incorporating 5 shorter walks that start and finish on public transport routes. It includes extensive scenes of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, woodland, meadows, country houses, reservoirs and beautiful moorland. The highest point is at Thievely Pike (elevation 1,474 feet). Several leaflets are available on walks within the Way, from Burnley Tourist Information Centre, telephone: 01282-664 421.

Burrs Country Park

About a mile from the centre of Bury, along Brandlesholme Road, the recently developed Burrs Country Park is a good example of what a Local Authority can do to reclaim derelict industrial land when it chooses to. Many natural and man-made water courses, and the resultant watersports which that attracts. Situated at the junction of the Irwell Valley Way (See below) and the Peel Trail, it is overlooked by Castlesteads, thought to be a prehistoric fort. There is a special leaflet available from:
Bury Tourist Information, Derby Hall, Market Street, Bury BL9 0BN. Tel: 0161-705 5111.

Chadkirk Farm Trail

A most pleasant walk between Bredbury and Marple, well signposted with information boards. The walk starts from the A627, 200 yards north of the River Etherow. There is the 14th century chapel at Chadkirk, with an exhibition of old farm photographs. You can also walk through woodlands to the Marple Aqueduct on the Lower Peak Forest Canal.

Cheesden Brook

See Ashworth Valley above.

Chorlton Water Park

At the end of Maitland Avenue in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21, one of the most popular sites in the Mersey Valley. A large lake surrounded by pathways, woodland and childrens' play areas. The lake offers sailing, canoeing and angling facilities. An onsite Warden is available to help, direct and advise. Contact: The Mersey Valley Visitor Centre, Rifle Road, Sale Water Park, M33 2LX. Tel: 0161-905 1100 or Fax: 0161-976 6914.
Green Flag Award: Twice awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award by the Civic Trust in recognition of its excellent standard of environmental protection, landscape, cleanliness, accessibility, design and maintenance.

Croal Irwell Valley

Chief Warden, Rock Hall Moses Gate, Hall Lane, Farnworth, Bolton. Tel: 01204-571 561.
This valley stretches for 16 miles, passing through Salford, Bury and Bolton, with surprisingly profuse woodland, wildlife and countryside en route. There is a Visitor Centre at Rock Hall, and many access points for wheelchair users - contact wardens for details. The Croal Irwell Valley walk includes much of Moses Gate Country Park, Clifton Country Park and Chesham Woods.

Daisy Nook Country Park

A valley of the River Medlock forming a pleasant escape from Oldham and Ashton-under-Lyne, between which it runs. Centred on the old canal system which once connected local cotton mills and mines to the city of Manchester. A small lake now exits, called Crime Lake. There are caf�s and a Visitor Centre, and a pleasant circular walk in National Trust parkland.

Debdale Park

Hyde Road, Manchester M18.
In 2002 Debdale Park was awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award by the Civic Trust in recognition of its excellent standard of environmental protection, landscape, cleanliness, accessibility, design and maintenance.

Etherow Country Park

George Street, Compstall, Stockport. Tel: 0161-427 6937.
Designated in 1968, Etherow was one of Britain's first country parks. Created to supply water to a local mill in the 1820s, now an extensive walking trail, fishing spot and place for model boat sailing. Audio Cassette commentaries available (bring your own Walkman). Two powered scooters and wheelchairs available free of charge.

Forest of Burnley

An exciting new project aimed at planting one million trees to vreate 1250 acres of new woodland within the borough of Burnley, offering excellent walks in beautiful settings. For further details of the Forest of Burnley, telephone: 01282-839 657.

Fred Perry Way

The Fred Perry Way, named after the famous tennis champion from Stokport, is a recently designated 14 mile walking route which spans the Borough of Stockport, from Woodford in the south to Reddish in the north. The route combines rural footpaths, quiet lanes and river valleys with urban landscapes and parklands. Interesting features of the route include Houldsworth Mill and Square, the start of the River Mersey at the confluence of the River Tame and River Goyt, Stockport Town Centre, Vernon and Woodbank Parks and the Happy Valley.The route passes through Woodbank Park where Fred Perry actually played some showcase games of tennis in the park's tennis courts.

Goyt Valley

Lying between Whaley Bridge in the High Peak area and Buxton, the Goyt Valley is a popular place with day-trippers and walkers. Woodland walks around the Fernilee and Errwood Reservoirs, along the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, and a more energetic walk from Errwood Reservoir to Taxal. Near this reservoir is the notorious "Cat & Fiddle Inn" on the Macclesfield-Buxton road.

Healey Dell

Healey Dell Nature Reserve Visitor Centre, Healey Hall Mills, Shawclough, Rochdale.
Tel: 01706-350 459. A thickly wooded valley, host to a variety of wildlife. An old railway line gives limited access to wheelchair users.

Hollingworth Lake

Hollingworth Lake Country Park Information Centre, Rakewood Road, Littleborough.
General: Tel: 01706-373 421. Water Activity Centre: Tel: 01706-370 499.
Originally a reservoir, this lake has been used for recreation for over 100 years. Path around entire lake. Powered wheelchairs available. Canoeing and surfing facilities, as well as lake cruises.

Hyndburn Clog

A 33 mile walk passing through some of Lancashire's most beautiful hill country, it encompasses lowland and moorland with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. For the less energetic it is broken down into 7 shorter posible walks. Glossy brochure of the Clog is available - for further information, contact Accrington Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01254-872 595.

Jumbles Country Park

Jumbles Information Centre, Waterfold Car Park, off Bradshaw Road, Bradshaw, Bolton.
Tel: 01204-853 360.
Part of the West Pennine Moors is Jumbles Country Park. The moors comprise 90 square miles of moorland, farmland, valleys and reservoirs. Wheelchair access to the Information Centre and to parts of the park.

Medlock Valley

Medlock Valley Chief Warden, The Stables, Park Bridge, Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside.
Tel: 0161-330 9613.
Extending from the centre of Manchester to the moors above Oldham, it has three Visitor's Centres at Park Bridge, Daisy Nook and at Clayton, all accessible to wheelchair users. Maps and leaflets available from Visitor's Centres. Short circular routes possible using the canal towpath.

Mersey Valley

The Chief Warden, Recreational Services, Altrincham Road, Sharston, Manchester. Tel: 0161-491 1647.
The Mersey Valley covers 870 acres from Stockport to Irlam. A surprisingly green and pleasant haven in which it's easy to forget you are in the midst of urban sprawl. Access for wheelchairs. Circular routes. Concessions at Chorlton Water Park and Sale Water Park. Water Parks have bar and refreshment facilities, as well as offering windsurfing and other watersports. See also: Sale Water Park (below).

Moses Gate Country Park

An attractive area beside the River Croal now the restored habitat of Kingfishers. Walking is now possible from Bolton to Salford down the Croal Irwell Valley Trail. See Croal Irwell Valley - above.

Orrell Water Park

Lodge Road, Orrell, Wigan. Tel: 01695-625 338.
Two fishing lakes with pleasant walks on offer. No warden service, but information boards on site.

Pennington Flash County Park

Off St Helens Road, Leigh. Tel: 01942-605 253.
Open to the public all year round, the "Flash" offers many recreational activities besides walking. Well known for its many species of bird life - over 300 species identified - with bird-hides. All accessible to wheelchair users.

Piethorne Valley

The Warden's Office, Waterworks Road, Ogden, Shaw, near Oldham. Tel: 01706-881 049.
Six reservoirs surrounded by open moorland. Fishing allowed in two lakes. Limited wheelchair access, please contact the Warden.

Redesmere Lake

A mile and a half long lake at Siddington, midway between Congleton and Alderley Edge, Redesmere is a popular venue for day trippers from Manchester. Apart from beautiful wooded surroundings, there is a profusion of waterfowl and the lake is a venue for yachting. Lakeside walks along good footpaths.

Red Rose Forest

Red Rose Forest, Community Forest Centre, Dock Office, Trafford Road, Salford Quays, Salford, M50 3XB.
Tel: 0161-872 1660. Fax: 0161-872 1680. Web: www.redroseforest.co.uk. Email: team@redroseforest.co.uk.
Red Rose Forest is a partnership initiative of The Forestry Commission, The Countryside Agency and six Greater Manchester local authorities - Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Wigan. Red Rose Forest is an inspiring vision for the future that is already transforming and regenerating a large part of Greater Manchester to create a thriving environment for the 21st century.
The Forest’s 40-year plan will see over 25 million trees planted across 292 miles of Greater Manchester. The development of the Forest will transform the lives of the 1.5 million people in the region by bringing jobs, investment, education opportunities, cleaner air and the most extensive change to our landscape since the Industrial Revolution.
Red Rose Forest is well placed to respond to future policy changes across a broad spectrum of interests, including environmental, economic, social and health. It offers a tried and tested model that combines a strategic mechanism for delivering environmental improvements alongside sustainable economic regeneration – a good quality environment can lead to a better quality of life and can generate inward investment to an area.
T he creation of the Forest will provide a series of well-wooded landscapes stretching from rural countryside into the urban heartland of the areas’ towns and cities. The Forest is creating better places to work in, better places to play and relax in, better places to do business in and better places to invest in.

Ramblers Association Rochdale Group

Call 01706-42376 for information about joining the Group and for forthcoming events.

Sale Water Park

Popular part of the Mersey Valley and site of the Mersey Valley Visitor Centre (Rifle Road, Sale Water Park, Sale M33. Tel: 0161-905 1100). Wide range of watersports and pleasant walks, nature reserves and woodlands.

Styal Country Park

Located near Wilmslow and adjacent to the Airport, and part of the Quarry Bank Mill complex, since the original owners, Samuel Greg & Company, donated the villages, farms, woodlands and parkland to the National Trust in 1939. Also see The Apprentice House, Styal Village and Quarry Bank Mill.

Tandle Hill Country Park

Oldham Countryside Ranger Service Tandle Hill Road, Royton, Oldham. Tel: 0161-627 2608.
A 118 acre site of pleasant walks through a beech woodland. Good footpaths, but unfortunately too steep for wheelchairs.

Tame Valley

Chief Warden, Council Offices, Wellington Road, Ashton-under-Lyne. Tel: 0161-334 3306.
A green pastured river valley, with visitors centres at Brownhill in Uppermill and at Reddish Vale, both accessible by wheelchair. Organised strolls in summer - contact the warden for details.

Three Sisters Country Park

Burn Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield. Tel: 01942-720 453.
Three Sisters offers peace and tranquility, or if you prefer, the noise and excitement of motor sports.

Trafford Ecology Park

Mosley Road North, Trafford Park, Manchester. Tel: 0161-873 7182.
Situated in the heart of Trafford Park Industrial Estate, yet surprising pleasant and rural, with traditional coppices, meadowland and ponds with occasional visits by Herons. All paths wide and clear, and fully accessible to disabled visitors.

Urmston Meadows

Part of the Mersey Valley Trail, a pretty quietly tucked away area just off Riverside Drive. Willow copses, ponds and wildflower meadows. Tel: 0161-905 1100 for details.

Watergrove

Valley Warden, Ramsden Road, Wardle, Rochdale. Tel: 01706-379 060.
Watergove reservoir set in the barren moors above the village of Wardle. Limited wheelchair access.

Werneth Low Country Park

The Warden, Lower Higham Visitor Centre, Higham Lane, Hyde. Tel: 0161-368 6667.
200 acres of hilltop and hillside country park offering great panoramic views of Manchester and Cheshire, with many footpaths and bridleways. Some wheelchair access possible - contact the Warden.

Witton Weavers Way

A 32 mile circular walk, conveniently split into 4 easy sections, and ending in Witton Coutry Park in Blackburn. The park itself has numerous trails within its 480 acrea, and is home to herons, moorhens and kingfishers. For further information contact Blackburn Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01254-53277.

Woodbank Park

This large Stockport park in Turncroft Lane is a gateway to the countryside in that it leads down to the River Goyt, from where the walker can follow the path through beautiful woodlands above the river path to Marple. Extensive views of the river and surrounding hills.

Worthington Lakes

The Visitor Centre, Chorley Road, Standish, Wigan. Tel: 01257-425 550.
Lying 2 miles north of Wigan town centre the lake has a nature reserve with many species of birds Wheelchair access in and around the lake is available, with designated picnic areas, and an amply stocked fishing facility.

Yarrow Valley Country Park

The Visitor Centre and main entrance is located Birkacre Road (B5251), Chorley. Tel: 01257-279 538.
Set in the attractive landscape of the Yarrow Valley near Chorley, this 300 hectare Country Park provides an ideal setting for a host of recreational activities and boasts an abundance of wildlife.
The park was created on land previously used for bleaching, dyeing, calico printing and mining. The Birkacre area of the park is of local historical importance with it's restored mill lodges and watercourses. The park encompasses Duxbury Woods and extends out towards Euxton. For more information see the website www.chorley.gov.uk/yarrowvalley or email yarrow.valley@chorley.gov.uk.

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Copyright © John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom - all rights reserved.
This page last updated 25 Nov 11.