Is there anything better than a country stroll? We can’t think of much, except maybe one with a decent little pub along the way.
There’s something soothing about getting out for a walk, taking in the scenery and surrounding yourself in greenery. As well as the physical benefits, it calms the mind and it’s good for the soul.
Feeling inspired by the weather forecast for this weekend, we thought we’d share five of ours too. There are long walks and short walks, walks that need transport, and walks where you can easily manage without. Oh, and four out of them include a nice pub stop-off, just to sweeten the deal.
For those on a mission, it is possible to walk the 32 miles to Sowerby Bridge along the Rochdale Canal, with a few short detours. But the great thing about this route is that it’s easily modified to suit your needs. You can join the canal from a number of points and enjoy a historical amble towards Castlefield, enjoying the canalside scenery before stopping off at The Wharf pub for swift half.
Kersal Dale forms part of the Croal Irwell Valley and is classed as a site of biological importance. It’s home to a wonderful and varied selection of wildlife such as deer, tawny owls, great spotted woodpeckers and kingfishers (a rare sight for city dwellers), with ash, black poplar, silver birch and willow amongst the variety of broad-leaved trees. Stroll through the woods or follow the river to spot some of the resident wildlife.
The Chorlton Ees*, aka Chorlton Water Park, offers a multitude of walks for all abilities. Meander through tree-lined paths to find the hidden meadows, or follow the Mersey banks to Jackson’s Boat, a dog-friendly pub which also offers cycle hire.
*Ees is an archaic English term for a piece of land liable to flood, or water meadow.
Macclesfield Forest is another stunning site with a range of walks suited to all abilities. Opt to saunter through the conifer trees at your leisure, keeping an eye out for the forest’s resident herd of red deer before making your way back past the Ridgegate reservoir for a drink at The Leather’s Smithy, a charming 18th-century pub. Whilst you’re there, why not try a Forest Gin made with botanicals from the forest.
Or try a longer walk up to Shining Tor (Cheshire’s highest point) and Axe Edge Moor starting from opposite the Cat & Fiddle pub on the A537 Buxton to Macclesfield Road. Predominantly moorland in character, this walk takes in three counties – Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire – and offers some stunning views.
Winter Hill and Rivington Pike
An area of cultural significance, a walk up to Winter Hill offers fabulous views towards Greater Manchester, Blackpool Tower, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Snaefell in the Isle of Man and the fells of the Lake District mountains. In the nearby village of Belmont, you’ll find a lovely little Joseph Holt pub called the Black Dog that dates all the way back to 1825.
Another popular trek in the area is the route up to Rivington Pike, which features an ascent through the old Lever Park terraced gardens and promises incredible views from the summit – at 363 metres, it’s the highest point in the West Pennines.
Do you have a favourite walk you’d like to share? People who love walking have been sharing videos and photos of their favourite walks online, with prizes worth £250 and £500 up for grabs.
Whether it’s a site of local interest, a hidden oasis you think deserves recognition or even just a walk that has strong personal memories, if you choose to share it online you could be in with a chance of winning a big prize this summer.
To enter the competition, simply upload a short video or photo to Instagram or Facebook and tag @GMWalks, accompanied by the hashtag #HiddenWalksGM and some information about where the walk is and why you love it.
But you’d better get your skates on. Closing date is 30th August 2019.