What it's like
Think of Manchester and you think of many things – football, music and night life.
What you don’t think of is the great outdoors, yet this is an area surrounded by classic moorland and hill routes as well as plenty of county parks, reservoirs and canals that provide lower level walking of a more gentle nature. From the city centre catch a bus and in less than twenty minutes you can find yourself amidst some really glorious countryside.
It may come as a surprise that there is superb moorland walking within fifteen miles of a major city centre, but in the case of Manchester this is very true. The city is surrounded to the North and East with grand Pennine country while to the South and the South East is the Peak District as well as some interesting and unusual walking areas like the great Sandstone outcrop of Alderley Edge with its legends of local wizards and magic. It has been estimated that there are in excess of fifty hills and moorland monuments that can be visited close to the city and give views over it. Try too, The West Pennine Moors and the Rossendale Hills to stretch your legs on and for a city centre Manchester itself can be fairly fascinating to wander around but it is far from a country walk. It would be unfair to set an arbitrary border on the walking potential of the area but one thing the moors here will all have in common is ‘atmosphere’. Miles of open land and good paths under big skies give you a sense of freedom and isolation.
You can make this terrain as rough or easy as you want. The peat hags of Black Hill are legendary but a walk to the summit of Rivington Pike on good paths is a far easier proposition.
For too long the moors around Manchester have been passed over by walkers who have often seen the area as a nondescript wedge of industrialised landscape between the Peaks and the main Pennine range further North. But as our road network gets more congested maybe it is time to change our outlook and look to areas closer to our own homes or visit places we have never tried before. Many times we will be surprised at what we discover and in the case of the Manchester area probably very surprised.
- The ascent of Black Hill the one time scourge of Pennine Way Walkers with its vast peat bog on the summit. Great views and a chance to visit Manchester’s highest point, Black Chew Head, if the ascent is done from Crowden.
- Cown Edge Way a longer linear route starting at Hazel Grove and finishing at Gee Cross and taking in Cown Edge Rocks. 19 miles of good walking in the Greater Manchester area.
- Windy Hill and White Hill South Pennine route North of the City which starts at the well placed Hollingworth Lake.
Must see and do
- Visit Alderley Edge a sandstone outcrop 12 miles South of the city. Pleasant walking amongst outcrops and huge pine and beech trees with views over the city and the airport.
- Boggart Hole Clough A wooded ravine that comes as a surprise running as it does amongst a built up area. Located in Blackley it was awarded a Green Flag award in 2002 for its cleanliness, accessibility and design. www.manchester2002-uk.com
- West Pennine Moors well kept Northern secret. North of Manchester towards Wigan and an area of quiet rolling hills and great paths.
- Hollingsworth Lake a converted reservoir now used for recreation and a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Starting place for numerous moorland walks. Telephone 01706 373421
- Styal Country Park Lovely place to visit close to Manchester Airport. Lots of history and nice walking. www.manchester2002-uk.com
Destination County : Manchester