A city like Manchester can really take it out of you. Whether you’re running up and down 6 flights of stairs to make it to your next lecture on time or bustling through Deansgate Locks to get a selfie with Love Island star Molly-Mae, metropolitan life in one of the country’s liveliest cities really drains even the hardiest of party-goers. If the smell of peri-peri chips as you enter the Fallowfield strip is getting a bit repetitive, stay on that 142 and get amongst some nature. Here’s some of the finest spots in the local area for some peaceful nature exploration, hand-picked just for you.
Reddish Vale Country Park
Stroll along the banks of the beautiful River Tame, met by geese, ducks and fantastic views on every turn of this snaking river. Reddish Vale offers an expanse of greenery and wildlife along the river banks and in its forests, including some adorable hedgehogs and even deer! Look out for the Roman viaduct that stretches along much of the river, providing a great little view for a picnic.
The Mancunion would like to apologise sincerely for failing to announce the Park’s ‘Apple Day’ on Sunday the 22nd of September, featuring such activities and attractions as ‘Allen’s Garden Ornaments’, a hog roast, and ‘Meet Crocodile Joe’. There’s always next year!
If you’re more into petting than walking, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a farm in the park, with a whole host of cute pigs and goats, with a cafe nearby. Reddish Vale is just a 30 minute train journey away from the town centre, or about the same distance in a car.
Highfield Country Park
For a bit of nature within walking distance, look no further than the Fallowfield Loop. Running around the edge of everyone’s favourite cesspit, the Loop offers a high, leafy treeline either side so you can feel protected from urbanity for a few hours. Full of dog walkers, excellent graffiti and very fast cyclists, walk along until you find Highfield Country Park in all its forested glory!
The Park isn’t too large, but has multiple trails to explore and forks in the road to contemplate, meaning you’ll stumble on peaceful clearings and secluded ponds along the way. It makes for an excellent and very easy day out with friends; bring some shoes to get muddy and a spirit for adventure, and lose track of time for a while.
If you fancy a journey into the heart of leafy Cheshire, Tatton Park is a perfect location for a day out. With a country house, ornate gardens and a farm on offer, Tatton has you covered no matter what kind of outdoors adventure you’re in the mood for.
Each part of the park costs £7 to visit individually, or £13 for all three. It’s incredibly easy to spend a whole day there, with many good viewpoints or heavily forested areas to get lost in. There’s no shortage of wildlife; deer lurk somewhat menacingly around the long walk into the park, and a real menagerie of birds can be found across the park making for a lovely peaceful day of just watching nature do its thing.
Tatton isn’t the easiest to get to without a car, but the nearest station is Knutsford which you can get to from Piccadilly or Oxford Road stations. I feel obligated to warn people to not make the same mistake as I did: you can get an Uber to Tatton Park, but you cannot get an Uber home from Tatton Park. But if you enjoy long walks, feel free to make that journey.
Located just beyond Didsbury, Fletcher Moss (and especially its Botanical Gardens) offers some outrageously good nature in a very convenient package. Hop on a 142 and explore the expanse of the Gardens and the neighbouring nature reserve, which is home to a great variety of birds according to its website, including such great names as Chiff-chaffs, tree-creepers and Sand Martins. and a range of edible produce!
The Botanical Gardens are a serene spot in which it’s very easy to sit and read a book, or just watch the world go by. The plant-life is large and vibrant, stretching way into the sky to create an immersive natural world, which feels a lot further than 20 minutes away from Owens Park.
A well-known and well-loved fan favourite, such a list would be incomplete without the Peak District. Take a train to one of numerous stations across the Peaks accessible from Manchester, or take a drive that is rarely more than an hour. Beautiful rolling hills as far as the eyes can see, babbling streams and air so fresh you won’t want to leave, the Peaks really are the perfect spot for a student overwhelmed by city life, or anyone looking to immerse themselves in nature.
A group of friends could easily spend a night camping out, provided the harsh northern winds don’t get you, but it really does provide some beautiful scenery, perfect for reflection and relaxation. If the Oxford Road Corridor is looking a bit too familiar for you, look no further.