New Tier 4 restrictions mean we’ll be spending even more time at home over the coming weeks.
But exercise is one of the permitted ‘reasonable’ excuses for leaving the house – and walking is one of the best ways to relax and connect with nature.
The summer months made getting outside a breeze, but with drops in temperature and increasing rain, getting that daily walk in might suddenly feel less appealing.
Enter friluftsliv: a Norwegian concept that means “a commitment to celebrating time outdoors, no matter the weather forecast.”
And rightfully so: regularly spending time outdoors in nature has huge benefits for our health and wellbeing. In fact, spending just 20 minutes with nature can help lower stress hormone levels, according to a recent study.
If you’re looking for a quiet walk, Clarks have analysed over 5,000 TripAdvisor listings to showcase which parks, forests, beaches or hiking trails are among the least reviewed, but best rated – including nature’s hidden gems in Greater Manchester that offer locals the chance of a socially distanced walk.
Here’s their top picks.
Burrs Country Park, Bury
Covering an area of 36 hectares of scenic countryside, one mile north west of Bury town centre, Burrs features a wide variety of different wildlife habitats: woodland, open space, wetland, ponds and waterways.
Burrs Country Park has retained a Green Flag Award since 2005, and has received 85.71% 5-star ratings among all TripAdvisor reviews.
Alexandra Park, Whalley Range
— Alexandra Park (@AlexParkMCR) December 27, 2020
Opened to the public in 1870, this 60 acre park underwent a £5million transformation during 2013/14, bringing the original landscape and community facilities back to life.
It’s received 76% 5-star ratings on TripAdvisor.
Walkden Gardens, Sale
A public green space owned by Trafford Council, Walkden Gardens has a fuchsia garden, rose garden, wisteria arch and a Japanese garden.
It’s received an impressive 75.93% 5-star ratings among all TripAdvisor reviews.
Greenbooth Reservoir, Rochdale
Situated near Rochdale, four reservoirs make up this site: Naden Higher, Naden Middle, Naden Lower and Greenbooth reservoir.
With a variety of walks, the site offers views of Manchester, Yorkshire and the surrounding moorland and is a great escape all year round, with wildlife including Egrets and Pallid Swift.
Reddish Vale Country Park
During the 19th century Reddish Vale was noted as a source of rare and interesting wild flowers and was the favourite haunt of the rambling ‘hand loom weaver botanists’ referred to in Mrs Gaskell’s Mary Barton.
Covering 161 hectares, it’s received 65.63% 5-star ratings.
Nuttall Park, Ramsbottom
Just 600 meters from Ramsbottom town centre by foot, Ramsbottom Park opened in 1928 and has retained a Green Flag Award since 2005.
Linked to the Irwell Sculpture Trail, it’s received 60% 5-star ratings.
Tandle Hill Country Park, Oldham
Oldham’s oldest country park has 48 hectares of parkland with mature beech, mixed woodland and grassland.
With views across the Manchester Plain and the Pennine Hills, it’s received 59.03% 5-star ratings.
Clifton Country Park, Salford
Clifton Country Park on a sunny December morning. pic.twitter.com/VSoD5R6LRc
— Postcards from Salford (@Monton70) December 15, 2020
Situated in the Irwell Valley, Clifton Country Park is 48 hectares of beautiful countryside in the heart of the city.
The park was designated a local nature reserve in 2005, and has received 57.45% 5-star ratings.
Woodbank Memorial Park, Stockport
Situated close to Vernon Park and connecting with the River Goyt and the Goyt Way, Woodbank Park is ideal for a leisurely stroll in its wide open spaces.
Covering 49.20 acres, it’s received 55.93% 5-star ratings.
Moss Bank Park, Bolton
Covering 34.25 hectares of open space, woodland, gardens and other facilities, Moss Bank Park has been awarded the Green Flag Standard.
A space that is perfect for relaxation and reflection, it’s received 54.67% 5-star ratings.
Best of the rest
The rest of the top 20 of least reviewed but best rated walks in Greater Manchester on the list includes: Memorial Park, Walton Park, Daisy Nook Country Park, Healey Dell Nature Reserve, Brabyns Park, Lilford Park, Mesnes Park, Didsbury Park, Fallowfield Loop and Debdale Park.