Hilly Oldham is a perfect place to head to for a walk. Tandle Hill isn't huge, but there's something magical about this place. As it's high up, it's quite exposed meaning that whatever the weather, it's more dramatic on Tandle Hill.
Full of hilly woods to explore, it offers a relatively small and manageable walk, but includes a steep hill with lovely views. There are two playgrounds, one which is more traditional but with a fabulous slide down a steep hill and the other is more challenging with plenty of balancing and climbing to be had. There's a hut selling refreshments at selected times and toilet facilities too. Most unusually, parking is free.
Rivington Pike and Rivington Reservoir, Horwich
Rivington is a really beautiful place to visit, no matter what the season. If you prefer a flat walk, head to the reservoir. There are plenty of sandy bays for dogs and kids to play by the water's edge, bridges to cross, and streams to leap over. Or you can watch various people climbing through the trees as part of the Go Ape experience – always fun entertainment. There's even some castle ruins to explore (they're actually fake ruins, but fun nonetheless.)
If you fancy something a little more challenging, head up Rivington Pike, a relatively steep climb up Winter Hill. On a clear day, you should be able to spot Jodrell Bank and Blackpool Tower.
For both walks, you can park at the Great House Barn, where parking is free. It's definitely worth popping into the Great House Barn, a gorgeous building which was restored back in 1953 and converted into a tea room. There's a small gift shop and you can enjoy warming foods such as corn beef hash.
Hollingworth Lake offers a lovely circular walk around the lake. It's a good accessible stroll for people with pushchairs, and there is a small playground part way round for the little ones. There's a cafe on the lake itself which usually has a small selection of children's books to browse, but really a visit to Hollingworth Lake isn't complete without fish and chips by the lakeside. Parking can be tricky on a beautiful day. You can park at the Lake Bank car park (90 spaces) which is pay and display, or at the Hollingworth Road car park (250 spaces) which is also pay and display.
Alderley Edge is a good walk to choose if you fancy a something with magnificent views without the steep climb. You can choose from several trails dependent on how far you want to walk. The Wizard Walk is a one mile easy-access walk, the Waterfall and Clockhouse Woods walk is 2 miles or if you fancy something a little longer, the Woodland Walk is 4.5 miles and offers spectacular views. There are plenty of opportunities for climbing trees and exploring whichever walk you choose.
The land is owned by National Trust, and you can park at their pay and display car park (if you are a National Trust member, it is free to park). If you fancy a bite to eat, The Wizard on the main road serves lovely pub food and welcomes dogs and children.
Lyme Park, Disley, Stockport.
If you fancy pretending you're Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, why not head over to Lyme Park. The main estate can get busy, as can the fabulous adventure playground, but take yourself into the hills and you can walk for miles without hardly meeting a soul. As you head up the hill, be sure to look back to get a good view of Lyme Hall which played Pemberley in the BBC's adaptation of Jane Austen's favourite novel. If you're lucky, you will spot some deer wandering the grounds (for this reason, there are some areas where dogs should be kept on a lead).
Again, this is a National Trust property and parking charges apply. If you're unsure of where to walk, as there are no marked pathways as such, Lyme Park occasionally offers guided walks in the grounds.
Tatton Park, Knutsford
Tatton Park is every families' favourite place to visit on a sunny day, but no one ever seems to venture far from the main courtyard. There are some lovely walks to be had around two lakes, so take the day and explore. Although you will be charged to park in the National Trust car park (even National Trust members need to pay as it is part-council owned), you can always park outside the gates in Knutsford and walk in that way. Dogs are welcome.
Holcombe Hill, Ramsbottom
Another walk that offers wonderful views across Manchester, Holcombe Hill is a good place to head to, if you fancy a challenging uphill walk. A good place to start is at the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Holcombe Village where you can follow a well-signposted path. At the top of the hill, you reach Peel Tower which overlooks Holcombe and Ramsbottom. Once at the tower, you can climb its 148 steps for views over Manchester, Cheshire and North Wales. Unfortunately, the tower is only open on certain days of the year so if you are set on climbing the tower, call the Bury Tourist Information Centre on 0161 253 5111 to find out when it will be open.
Dovestone Reservoir, Saddleworth
When you walk around Dovestone Reservoir, it truly does feel that you're hidden away from the rest of the world. This is a lovely flat walk for pushchairs and wheelchairs, but it has that lovely remote feeling that you get when in the moors too. Take a little time out to paddle in the stream and climb the rocks, or watch the sailing boats on the lake. Be sure to take a picnic and flask too if you're out for the day, as there is nowhere close by to purchase refreshments.
Delamere Forest, Cheshire
Delamere Forest offers signposted walks ranging from 1.7km to 3.6km and orienteering courses, whilst it proves popular with cyclists too. They run regular family trails, most recently the Gruffalo and Stick Man trails which are fabulous for getting younger members of the group exploring. There are also plenty of areas set up for den-making, so make sure you leave plenty of time to construct your best one. There's a cafe serving hot and cold food and there are several pay and display car parks.