BLOG: Go Wild in the Woods: Great green days out across Greater Manchester

23 August 2019

Our Go Wild in the Woods campaign is back again this summer to encourage families across Greater Manchester to explore the woodland across our city region. Woodland is so important to our environment and eco-system but it's important not to forget how vital it is to childhood.

Getting children away from their electronic devices and outside to run, jump and play in the woods is important for their well-being, as well as physical and mental development.

We're so lucky that there is a lot of nature reserves and parks across Greater Manchester offering amazing places to play, learn and explore. Take a look at the list below and try to tick off a few new day trips this summer.

Most of the locations are accessible by public transport and are completely free to visit, although some of the locations will have car park charges. Most of them have accessible paths, but it's a good idea to check before you set off.

If you find another local woodland which you like to visit that we haven't mentioned, please tag us @cityoftreesmcr in your twitter and instagram so that we can share it with our tree-loving audience.


Smithills Estate, Bolton

This Woodland Trust estate has a range of habitats, including woodland, grassland, bog and moorland. This is the largest estate acquired by the Woodland Trust in 2015, at 685.61 hectares and is overlooked by the iconic 310m high Winter Hill TV mast, which is visible from miles around. A new car park has been created off Walker Fold Road, BL1 7PT. From here you can walk up onto the fhills, with amazing views over Manchester. Keep your eye out for butterflies and birds!


Waterdale, part of City Forest Park, Bury

Waterdale is one of the Forestry Commission's Community Woodlands, which has a fantastic mix of native woodland, wildflower meadows and parks. There is a flat, wide forest track which meanders alongside a river. Top tip! See if you can identify the wild cherry, ash and oak trees. Buckley Lane, Whitefield, M45 7JZ

Photo credit: By User:Richerman, CC BY-SA 3.0.


Heaton Park, Manchester

This 242 hectare park just north of Manchester city centre, bordering Middleton and Prestwich, is a brilliant day out. The park comprises the grounds of Heaton Hall, and the estate was sold to Manchester City Council in 1902.

The park was renovated at a cost of £10 million and includes many attractions such as an 18-hole golf course, boating lake, animal farm, adventure playground, ornamental gardens and much more.

There is a circular walk through the park, taking in treasures such as The Dell, Hazlitt Wood and pond at the north of the parkland and the Temple. 

Top tip! Visit the Dower House to see bees going about their business in a special demonstration hive – you can even buy some Heaton Park honey! (Postcode: M25 2SW).


Tandle Hill Country Park, Oldham

Oldham's oldest park covers 48 hectares of parkland and beech woodland. With stunning views of Manchester city centre, the park has picnic areas, children's play areas, trails and paths through the woods and a countryside centre. On a clear day, it's possible to see as far as the Welsh mountains. Tandle Hill Road, Royton, OL2 5UX

Photo Credit: billy m on Flickr


Hollingworth Lake Country Park, Rochdale

It is often said that Manchester has everything but a beach - but perhaps this is the closest we have! Hollingworth Lake is a 53 hectare reservoir in Littleborough, just outside Rochdale. With a brilliant fish and chip shop and a cafe selling ice creams, it's a great place to visit on a sunny day. There are a selection of parks around the lake and nature reserve, ranging from two miles around the lake to a longer 10.5 mile walk, which takes you through some beautiful woodland. Address: Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre, Rakewood Road, Littleborough, OL15 0AQ.


Worsley Woods, Salford

Worsley Woods covers a very tranquil 30 hectares and can be reached from Salford's network of looplines or the Bridgewater Canal. There is a pond/ lake, sculptures and a wild flower trail. Top tip! Keep an eye out for the woodland’s woodpeckers. Address: Beesley Green, Greenleach Lane, Worsley, M28 2QW.

Photo credit: Salford Council


Bramhall Park, Stockport

Bramhall Park is a large park in the grounds of Bramall Hall, with a stream, woodland trails, ponds for fishing and feeding ducks, as well as children's play areas. There are a number of different trails starting from the hall, that take you through some magnificent woodland. Address: Bramhall Park, Bramhall Park Road, Stockport, SK7 3NX.

Photo Credit: Allen Wilson, flickr.


Stamford Park, Tameside

Stamford Park is another summer favourite for families and has an aviary, boating lake, water features and brilliant woodland area with accessible paths, called The Dingle. This steep-sided valley is heavily wooded and features ornate Victorian rockwork and water features. Address: Stamford Park, Stamford Street, Stalybridge, SK15 1QZ.


Sale Water Park, Trafford

Sale Water Park is an amazing walk around a lake and through woodland and meadows. Head to the woodland north of the visitor centre, following the path along the River Mersey to Broad Ees Dole. This is a fabulous little oasis of nature, despite being so close to the M60.


Haigh Woodland Park, Wigan

Haigh Woodland Park on the outskirts of Wigan has a fantastic woodland, as well as mini golf, miniature railway, orienteering, walled gardens, a high ropes course and a children's adventure playground. Head for the ancient woodlands by going down the main drive near the hall.



We're so lucky to live in a city region that has so much woodland, and we're working hard alongside various agencies to make sure we look them for many generations to come, as well as planting new trees.



Full the full download of Go Wild in the Woods woodland walks, visit:


Tag us @cityoftreesmcr with #gowildinthewoods and you could win a copy of Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris's The Lost Words. This is a beautifully illustrated book about nature so that words around nature don't get lost in the modern world.