NORTH WEST ENGLAND
BIRCHWOD FOREST PARK
From junction 11 of the M62 follow the A574 (Birchwood Way). Turn left at the mini-roundabout and right at the next mini-roundabout into the car park.
Birchwood Forest Park is the name given to all the green spaces throughout Birchwood and covers an area of 550 acres. The area has a fascinating and varied history. There are many pleasant walks which include beautiful parkland, secluded ponds and mosses, and birch woodland rich in wildlife whilst the footpath network, suitable for prams and wheelchairs, is excellent for jogging, cycling and walking. There is a skateboard park, kickabout pitch and play areas.
BLACK BEAR PARK
From Warrington town centre take the A49 south along Wilderspool Causeway. At the traffic lights turn left into Loushers Lane. The cabin is situated set back on the left next to the shops, opposite Loushers Lane Recreation Ground.
Take a walk down Black Bear Park and step back in time. As you see it now it is a valuable nature park linking up with local rights of way and the countryside beyond, but it has not always looked like this. It was once part of an 8 mile canal built in 1804 between latchford and Runcorn to avoid the awkward tidal stretch of the River Mersey between Runcorn and Warrington. Today Black Bear Park is an ideal starting point for exploring the Trans Pennine Trail and the Mersey Way. The Trans Pennine Trail joins the park near to Stockton heath swing bridge, while the Mersey Way meets the park at Kingsway Bridge.
CULCHETH LINEAR PARK
From Culcheth village centre turn left by the Cherry Tree pub into Wigshaw Lane. After 500 m turn right by the park entrance signs and follow short road to the car park and Ranger Centre.
Culcheth Linear Park lies on a section of the former Wigan to Galzebrook railway line. Thousands of trees have been planted and wild flowers sown to form attractive copses and colourful meadows. The park is linked to 6 major public footpaths, giving access to many miles of paths through the Culcheth and Croft countryside.
NORTHWICH COMMUNITY WOODLANDS
Created from what was once largely derelict land, the Northwich Community Woodlands now provides a rich and green environment to the north of Northwich town centre. Northwich Community Woodlands is made up of nine countryside sites each with a different character and history. The Weaver Navigation and the Trent and Mersey canal flow through the heart of the Northwich Community Woodlands adding further variety to the landscape.
LUMB BROOK VALLEY
From Warrington town centre take the A49 south through Stockton Heath village. Pass London Bridge pub and continue up the hill. At the traffic lights, turn left into Lyons Lane, right at the roundabout on Longwood Road and left into Dingle Lane.
Situated between Stockton Heath and Appleton the mature woodland of the Lumb Brook Valley is an important habitat for wildlife such as bats and owls. A woodland walk by the stream takes you through the Dingle, Fords Rough, Dipping Brook and on into Pewterspear - perfect for a Sunday stroll or as a means of joining public footpaths into the surrounding countryside. The Dingle is an excellent place to see bluebells in the spring.
By car take the A49, north out of the town centre. Go past McDonalds restaurant on your left. Take the second right, crossing the dual carriageway into Alder Lane. The car park is 1/2 mile down on the left.
Orford Park as we know it today originally formed the land and gardens of the no-longer existent Orford Hall. The first owner, Robert Le Norris lived here in 1232. Over recent years local school children and community groups, working with the rangers, have planted thousands of bulbs and trees to improve the park for both people and wildlife. Whether you want a gentle stroll, a game of crazy golf or bowls, or to attend one of the many ranger organised events, the park has something for the whole family. The games kiosk for bowls, tennis and crazy golf is open from April to September when refreshments are also on sale.
From Paddington Bank, off Kingsway North, a gate in the fence allows visitors onto the 2 km riverside path, leading to New Cut Lane, Woolston. Access is also possible via Larkfield Avenue, off Manchester Road (A57) next to the garage
Paddington Meadows is an important part of Warrington's heritage. This green oasis (74 acres) of quiet countryside near Warrington's town centre is the town's last remaining area of original riverside grassland, once typical of the Mersey river valley in this area. The site is enclosed on three sides by a loop of the River Mersey, and to the north by the disused New Cut Canal.
One of the striking features of the site are the huge hawthorn trees which mark the field boundaries. These hedges, some of the oldest existing examples in Cheshire, attract large numbers of berry eating fieldfares and redstarts in the winter months. The traditionally wet nature of the fields has been enhanced by the creation of scrapes, and waders and waterfowl can sometimes be seen during the winter months roosting in the fields.
PEEL HALL PARK
Access to the park is through distinctive "ranch style" gates off Blackbrook Avenue, Cinnamon Brow or Grasmere Avenue, Orford. Blackbrook Avenue is off the A574 Birchwood Way following the signs for Blackbrook and Winwick.
Peel Hall Park was created in the 1980's with the transformation of marshy farmland into meadows, ponds and grassy areas. Today woodland paths, pleasant landscaping and several ponds provide a variety of habitats for wildlife and interest for all the family. Adjoining Peel Hall Park, Radley Common is a wild area currently undergoing a transformation. Existing woodland plantations are to be extended and enhanced as part of The Mersey Forest.Both areas are home to many birds and mammals - kestrels, heron and many smaller birds such as goldfinches and tree creepers can be spotted by the keen eyes.
SANKEY VALLEY PARK
The main car park is at Waterways, off Cromwell Avenue, with smaller car parks at Ledyard Close, North Park, Brook Road, St David's Drive, Lodge Lane and off Cromwell Avenue South.
Steeped in history, the Sankey Valley provides a wealth of opportunities to explore and enjoy. Whether wildlife watching or fishing, picnicking or playing, the park is a fantastic place for all the family to spend a day. Ponds, mature woodlands, a wetland reserve and wildflower meadows provide a magnificent backdrop to a variety of recreational facilities such as a maze, play areas, orienteering course and formal lawns. Much of the park is accessible for prams and wheelchairs with numerous information boards to help you get the most out of your visit. Take the opportunity to cycle or walk the Sankey Canal Trail, or join the Trans Pennine Trail at signposted points. Horse riders are welcome on the bridleway between Bewsey and Winwick, and walkers will find the park links into a vast network of footpaths and rights of way.
The park is centrally situated on the main A5061 Knutsford Road from Warrington town centre.
Victoria Park is home to Warrington's Multi-Sports Arena. There is also a multi-purpose indoor activity room - available for a wide range of activities including keep fit, martial arts and general community use. In addition to the Athletics Stadium there is approximately 67 acres of parkland with many other facilities. 2 crown bowling greens, 8 football pitches, 2 rugby pitches, floodlit training pitch, basketball and netball court, dressing rooms and showers, areas for fairs, circuses and exhibitions, children's playground.
WALTON HALL GARDENS
Take the A56 out of Warrington, turning left at the Walton Arms public House. (Pay and display system in operation)
Situated in the picturesque village of Walton to the south of Warrington this former country estate of the Greenall family has been enjoyed as a public park since 1945 and is the ideal place for a family day out. With many facilities as well as gardens and parkland Walton Hall Gardens is an ideal starting point for country walks on the footpaths of Walton, Appleton, Moore and Daresbury. The Children's Zoo is open every day of the year and entry is free of charge. Games include Pitch'n' Putt, Crazy Golf and Bowls.
Take the A57 (Manchester Road) from Warrington to Holes Lane traffic lights, signpost Padgate. Take the right turn on the bend into Hillock Lane, first left into Somerset Way and then immediately right into the drive to the car park. There are numerous pedestrian entrances.
Woolston Park's fifty-six acres follows the line of Spittle Brook providing a pleasant recreational setting and a wealth of natural habitats. As part of The Mersey Forest the park is a haven for wildlife and has large areas of woodland habitats and open parkland to explore. Certain areas are managed traditionally such as the hazel coppice where poles are grown for woodland crafts and along the banks of Spittle Brook where willow is cut for baskets and weaving. The park contains areas suitable for a whole range of leisure activities from gentle strolls to cricket and football.
ASHTON PARK- PRESTON
Blackpool Road, Ashton, Preston
Situated on the west side of the town this park provides two first class bowling greens, tennis courts, playground and footpath pitches, next to a beautiful wooded area, ornamental gardens and flower beds.
ASHTON PARK - DARWEN
From junction 4 of the M65 follow the signs for the A666 (Darwen). When you come to a small town keep to the right and head for Bolton (A666). You will come to a set of traffic lights with a big factory to your right (Crown Wallcoverings), go through the lights until you come to a public house on your left (Mill Gap Public House), Turn left after Mill Gap Public house (Mill Gap Street), turn right at the bottom and then left. You will find Ashton Park to your right 100 yards up the road.
Ashton Park was built in 1981 following a petition in 1979 to convert the 7 acres of derelict land into a park. The money for the playground equipment was raised by holding sponsored walks and many other events. Ashton Park has become widely used by visitors from all over the world. Within Ashton Park there are two playgrounds for children of all ages, Football pitch, and lots of wildlife, with a small lake for Ducks, Moorhens, Coots and Canadian Geese. Ashton Park is also a home for many Wild Rabbits, squirrels and Kingfishers.
Preston town centre.
Located at far end of Winckley square.
With a backcloth provided by the River Ribble, Avenham Park ranks amongst the finest examples of traditional Parkland in the North West of England. Designed and created by Edward Milner, during the 1860's Avenham Park, together with Miller Park, are probably the best surviving examples of his work today. The park is created from a natural amphitheatre and has a famous Japanese Rock Garden. Avenham Colonnade, the splendid riverside Ribble Walk, The Belvedere and the majestic Derby Walk are amongst a few of the splendid features to be found within the park. A number of outdoor events are held here throughout the year ranging from Major Music Festivals and Traditional Egg Rolling on Easter Monday to Fun Days and Sponsored Walks.
94 acres of parkland with excellent play facilities
Situated off North Clifton Drive A584. Just next to BR Station (St Annes)
Laid out gardens and Cenotaph. Facilities include bowling and children's play area, café.
Large town park with extensive bowling greens, tennis courts and public conservatory (a listed cast iron and glass building)
HAPPY MOUNT PARK
Tel: 01524 582808
Marine Road East, Morecambe
The park features outstanding flower beds, putting, bowls, refreshments and Sunday band concerts during the summer months.
Situated between Tom Benson Way (B6241) and Woodplumpton Road (B5411)
Photograph by Helen Walmsley
Probably the finest feature in he park is the magnificent lake, which is linked to the Lancaster Canal by a natural waterfall. Flanked by wildflower meadows, park benches and home of hundreds of wildfowl, the lakeside provides an attractive place for a family picnic on warm summer days. The park has one of the finest colonnades of Lime trees. It has an enclosed children's playground.
HURST GRANGE, PENWORTHAM
Off Cop Lane, Car park off Hill road near Cemetery
A fairly large park with a children's playground which is fenced in with a sand area, slide and climbing frame, swing and a rope pyramid. Field, meadow areas, two ponds with ducks, frogs, fish, with woodlands to play in..
Information from Information Centre, Leyland,
Tel: 01772 621857.
Located along Liverpool Road (A59) south of Preston in Longton
Open: Visitor Centre open six days a week during summer afternoons (Tues-Sun)
This nature reserve has several footpaths around water filled claypits and surrounding woodlands. Car parking available. Many birds nest here with bats, frogs and wild plants. Events are held suitable for children
Situated off West Beach A584
Well laid out gardens. Shows and exhibitions held thoroughout the year in Lowther pavilion. Facilities include mini-gold, bowls, tennis, café and playground.
Located next to Avenham Park
Located on the riverside adjacent to Avenham Park. This park has the best floral displays to be found in the Borough. Look out for the spectacular Sundial flower beds and nearby Grotto water feature. The large ornamental Rose Garden has a Gazebo, which featured at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, where you can sit and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area. Adjacent to the Rose Garden there is an elaborately designed fountain with four figures emblematic of Earth, Air, Fire and Water; shell, rush and trident designs occupy the angles and a large shell-like basin permits an impressive display of jetted water. The fountain was restored to its original splendour during 1993.
Situated between Blackpool Road and Garstang Road.
Preston's largest open space which has played host to many of the Town's major ourdoor exhibitions and events. There are four bowling greens, room for four cricket matches, tennis courts, football and baseball pitches. There are also two well-equipped children's play areas (fenced in) and literally miles of pathways to jog around. For those who just want to enjoy peace and serenity, Moor Park has ornamental gardens, a woodland area and a restored lake with areas to feed large numbers of wildfowl.
Tel: 01282 435411
The most impressive of the several Victorian parks in the town, surrounded by imposing 19th century residences. Facilities for tennis and bowls.
Tel: 01253 25212
Beautiful 250 acre woodland park with ornamental gardens, conservatories, cafeteria, children's playground, 18 hole municipal golf course, athletics arena, all weather games pitches and sports centre. Other seasonal recreational facilities include boating (25 acre lake), putting, crazy golf, tennis, table tennis, trampolining, grass pitches for football, cricket, rugby and hockey.
Tel: 01282 424213
The grounds near the Hall retain the look of an English landscape garden but within a couple of minutes walk you can find golf courses, bowling greens and tennis courts. Trails lead into woodlands where there is always something new to see.
Tel: 01524 33318
38 acres of landscaped garden with breathtaking views. Also in the park - Ashton Memorial Folly and Tropical Butterfly House, Mini-Beasts, Foreign Bird House, Conservation Garden & Exhibition Gallery.
Tel. 01772 455000
Located on the southern edge of Leyland- follow signs for Worden Arts Centre.
Open: every day from 8.00 am to dusk
Worden Park extends to 63 hectares and includes many interesting features making an ideal day out for everyone. The host of attractions include children's adventure playground, miniature railway, immaculate formal gardens, 18th century folly and ice house and well stocked arboretum. Craft workshops and coffee shop are at the heart of the park where the stunning focal point of the arts centre is the new conservatory bar, a tribute to the arts and craft movement in the northwest. An active events programme helps visitors to make the best of Worden Park.
The magnificent Alexandra Park in the middle of the town is the place to relax. The Park, which has a visitor centre, an exciting children's playground and sporting facilities, was opened in 1865 after being constructed with a government loan designed to boost the town at a time when the American Civil War caused supplies of cotton to the mills to dry up and left many people out of work. The park covers 72 acres including an attractive lake. The features include a statue of 'Blind Joe', Joseph Howarth, who held the job of town crier for 40 years. Also a pagoda built as a meteorological observatory and opened in 1899 to commemorate the town's Golden Jubilee. The visitor centre is near the boating lake.
BOGGART HOLE CLOUGH
Tel: 0161 795 2650
Charlestown Road, Manchester
4 miles from City Centre
Athletics, boating, bowls, fishing, orienteering, tennis.
BOWLEE COMMUNITY PARK AND SCULPTURE TRAIL
Tel: 01706 373421
Heywood Old Road, Middleton
Bowlee to the south west of Middleton was formerly a Ministry of Defence area which housed barrage balloons during the war. A 90 acre community park has been created with woodland planting and grassland management to improve the park for wildlife and visitors. Explore the park by following the Bowlee Sculpture Trail. The series of carved stones depict an element of the history or use of the area. Free trail leaflet available.
Tel: 01706 867306
St Alban's Street, off Drake Street, Rochdale
Rochdale's town centre park, the oldest in the Borough, is of greast historic interest and of considerable landscape beauty and charm. The park extends into the town centre and contains a significant formal rose garden.
Rochdale/Oldham - one mile north of Shaw town Centre within the Beal Valley.
The park covers an area of approximately 12 hectares and lies midway between Rochdale and Oldham. It offers you the opportunity to discover and enjoy its wooded hillside with views across the Beal Valley towards Crompton Moor, Shaw, Oldham and Rochdale. Car park and main entrance located on Small Brook Road, Shaw. Information point and picnic area adjacent to the woodland. The area includes an access route for pushchairs and wheelchairs into the lower valley area of the park. The route adjoins a wild flower meadow showing you a variety of wild plants to be found growing in Oldham's wooded countryside.
Tel: 01706 867306
Falinge Road, Rochdale
Close to Rochdale town centre, a popular park with children' s play facilities and a Victorian style bandstand. Conservatories plus formal 'Sun Gardens' and bowling greens.
FLETCHER MOSS PARK
Tel: 0161 445 4241
Millgate Lane, Didsbury, Manchester
Bowls, rugby, and tennis
FOG LANE PARK
Tel: 0161 445 4241
Fog Lane, Didsbury, Manchester
Basketball, bowls, cricket and tennis
HARE HILL PARK
Tel: 01706 867306
Hare Hill Road, Littleborough
The lovely Hare Hill Park, located near the centre of the town, has bowling greens and an excellent Bowling Pavilion. Panoramic views of the hills beyond.
Tel: 0161 773 1085
Farm Centre, Heaton Park, Prestwich, Manchester
Heaton Hall and Gallery, orangery, function rooms, farm centre, pets corner, livery stables and horse riding, donkey hire, horticultural centre, woodland area, boating lake, angling, golf course, pitch and putt, tennis courts, bowling green.
The Animal Centre is open all year and our 3 resident Alpacas, the Hebridean Sheep, and Kune Kune pigs are thriving along with all the other animals. Heaton Park has an exciting events programme from astronomy evenings and children's activities through to large scale dramatic and musical productions.
Tel: 01706 867306
Long Street, Middleton
This delightful park is located in the town's historic conservation area between the Library and St Leonard's Church with elegant bandstand and scented rose beds. Band concerts during the summer.
MOSS BANK PARK
Moss Bank Way, Bolton
This popular park's attractions include Animal World and Butterfly House, miniature railway (summer weekends), rock garden, children's play area, old English garden, tennis courts (fees payable during the summer), pitches for football and cricket, pitch and putt, bowling and cafe (summer weekends). The park was originally used for the Ainsworth family's bleaching business and family residence.
PLATTS FIELD PARK
Tel: 0161 224 2902
Wimslow Road, Rushholme, Manchester
Boating, fishing, putting and tennis
PRESTWICH FOREST PARK
Tel: 0161 796 6404
Prestwich Forest Park offers 200 hectares of land for quiet enjoyment of woodland. It consists of Philips Park, Drinkwater Park, Waterdale and Prestwich Clough. Events and activities organised by the Croal Irwell Warden Service and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Chorley New Road, Bolton
A large park just a few minutes walk from Bolton town centre with a lake with wildfowl, bowling greens, children's play area, tennis courts (fee payable and a football pitch )
Tel: 01706 656300
Queen's Park Road, Heywood
Dating from 1879 this Grade II listed park has major landscaped areas sloping to the river and is of historical importance. Formal gardens and lake. Tennis, bowling and orienteering children's play area, aviary and cafe. Regular bandstand performances in summer.
Situated in Stalybridge, features include large boating lake with Stamford Belle Steam Boat, crazy golf, crown green bowls, tennis courts, children's play area and children's tram ride.
Tel: 01706 867306
A58 Bolton Road, Rochdale
Between Rochdale and Heywood, the largest park with open landscape and wooded slopes down to the Roch Valley. Attractions include the lake, children's play area and, on summer weekends, you can ride on an extensive miniature steam railway. Sports include football, cricket, tennis, athletics track, a permanent orienteering course and an 18 hole golf course.
Historic Werneth Park was presented to the Council by the Lees family in 1836. As well as tennis facilities, a play area and free car parking, the park boasts beautiful Werneth Park Music Rooms - originally the home of the Platt family's private orchestra and now used by many local societies.
Tel: 0161 945 5827
Athletics, bowls, golf, hockey, orienteering and tennis
Bankfield Lane, Churchtown Southport
Along the A59 - Roundabout with plough Pub turn first left. Couple of miles down road.
Attractions at these lovely gardens include a land train, boat hire, café, gift ship, aviary, museum, rabbits, guinea pigs, pottery shop, fernery, as well as the usual children's playground. Local bands play on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer making it a pleasant place to visit.
Tel: 0151 488 6151
Okell Drive, Halewood
Halewood Park's woodland and grassland areas provide a perfect setting for a walk or a picnic. The park has the distinction of being one of the first Parks in Merseyside to hold the Green Flag Park Award of which Knowsley currently has six. A regular programme of events and activities is delivered at Halewood and the borough's other parks.
Circular park with easy access from many roads - e.g. Queens Drive, Cambridge Road with a large lake inhabited by many ducks and geese.Tour Train, Boating Lake, Conservatory, Observatory, Crazy Golf, Aviary, Cafe, scented garden for the blind, hot house and a large children's playground (on sand).
Aigburth Liverpool Merseyside L17 1AP
Tel: 0151 233 2008
Sefton Park in Liverpool is arguably the best known and most loved by locals. The magnificent 200-acre Park looks like a natural landscape rather than a man-made park. In spring the sight of millions of golden daffodils around the lake draws residents from across the city and carpets of bluebells give an impression of rural permanence. The park features many distinctive curved paths and driveways and beech and other indigenous British trees abound. Amongst the park's many features are a boating lake, replica statues of Eros and Peter Pan and a café. The park is also home to the famous Palm House, a fabulous glass-panelled building that has been restored to its former glory.
Marshalls Cross Road, St Helens
Large urban park with formal gardens, open park and woodlands, ponds, play areas and pets corner
At the southern end of the Promenade. Large gauge model railway which offers rides at weekends, play area, nature pond, croquet lawns, attractive bandstand. Near to the Victoria Park is Rotten Row, the country's longest herbaceous border. Model car racing club has events at the park.
Tel: 0151 652 5197
This was the first public park in Britain and was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. It became the model for Central Park in New York and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1997.
Roydon Park is a vast area of parkland adjacent to Thurstaston Common which offers a wide range of activities and facilities for the visitors. There are large open areas where children can play freely without fear of traffic hazards and families can picnic. During the summer bank holidays model train enthusiasts run a steam powered passenger locomotive which is a big hit with kids of all ages. Arts and crafts fairs are held during bank holiday weekends, where you can purchase items made by Wirral craftsmen and women.
The Green Flag Award website is worth having a browse through.
Green Flag Award - The Green Flag Award scheme is the national standard for parks and green spaces across England and Wales. The award is managed by The Civic Trust on behalf of CABE Space, and it has backing in England from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, English Heritage, The Countryside Agency, English Nature, Calor; and in Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales. The website gives details of the winners of the Green Flag Award.