The bohemian suburb of Chorlton boasts an area of woodland and meadows that will make you momentarily forget you’re in a city. The perfect place to walk your dog or simply enjoy a little fresh air, a series of meandering paths take you through the trees leading you to a secret meadow, a scenic lake or the banks of the River Mersey, where you can stroll downstream to Jackson’s Boat for an al fresco pint. Ideal for summer picnics or frosty winter strolls, the close proximity of this sprawl of nature makes it perfect for lazy weekend strolls or post-work jogs.
Also in South Manchester, Fletcher Moss is a beautiful place to walk in any season. Nestled behind The Didsbury pub (perfect for a post-walk tipple or a delicious roast dinner), the botanical gardens play host to a variety of interesting trees, flowers and shrubs to discover. If you really want to feel like you’ve left the city streets behind, explore further by walking through Stenner Woods and meandering around the meadows that lie between the gardens and the River Mersey.
Just a short journey by car or train south of Manchester, the affluent village of Alderley Edge is a favoured location of city dwellers seeking the great outdoors. The many paths that snake through the woods are fun to wander along, but the main draw here is the jaw-dropping view over the Cheshire Plains when you emerge from the trees to find yourself on a sandstone ridge towering above the fields below. The perfect spot for scenic photos, this is where to head if you want to add an outdoorsy selfie to your Instagram feed.
Just a short walk from Littleborough train station, Hollingworth Lake is the perfect destination for those seeking an easy walk in the hills. A simple circuit of the lake can be walked in less than an hour, but if you want to challenge yourself and take in the views, head uphill shortly after passing the turnoff for the Country Park. For barely any effort, you’ll be awarded with dramatic views of the lake from above, and can cross the M62 if you fancy taking your walk further into the hills.
Accessible by car, this hilly area north of Manchester offers many walking routes, some more challenging than others. The walk up to the Pike is best suited for walkers seeking a longer hike, but there are plenty of shorter and easier walks in the area. The two reservoirs at the foot of the hill are an especially scenic option for those seeking a comfortable country walk.
The Peak District National Park is situated on Manchester’s doorstep, providing the perfect destination for those seeking a more challenging climb up its many summits. Nestled on the edge of the Peaks, the walk around Torside Reservoir takes less than two hours, providing beautiful views of the surrounding hills reflecting in the water without having to actually commit to any serious climbing. Visit in autumn to admire the scenery at its best, when deep red and yellow hues scatter the horizon.