If you haven't yet come across Worsley Woods in Salford, make sure you put it straight on your to-do list. Occupying around 30 hectares of woodland, there are several ways of accessing the woods, each entrance bringing you in at a different point.
See Worsley Woods in all seasons
When arriving by car, it is best to park at Beesley Green Community Centre or at the top of Sefton Drive. If walking, or on bike, as well as using these entrances, you can access the woods via the Roe Green loop line which can be reached at various access points throughout Walkden, Worsley and Monton.
Despite the proximity to the M60 and the East Lancs Road, Worsley Woods offers a wonderful dose of tranquillity. I love to walk in the woods, as they change dramatically depending on the season. In spring, there are gorgeous wildflowers to enjoy and it is truly wonderful to see the changing colours of the leaves in autumn. If the weather is hot, the trees offer shade – on a winter's day they offer shelter from the wind and the rain.
If you have children, they will enjoy the flower sculptures scattered throughout the woods. It can be a useful way to get them moving as they hunt for the next one. There is also the chance to play pooh sticks on the bridge over the river or paddle in the shallow stream (make sure you bring wellies.) The stepping stones close to the Beesley Green entrance will entice even the adults to hop across
Most of the Woods can be navigated relatively easy with a good pushchair, and it is easy enough to choose a simple loop for smaller legs. If you fancy getting adventurous though, get exploring and see where the paths lead you.
Although Worsley Woods offers a true natural playground, if you're looking for the more traditional kind, there is a playground towards the Sefton Drive entrance which is perfect for older kids, with various challenging equipment to balance on. If you have younger children, there is a playground at Roe Green which only involves a small detour.
One of the most outstanding views in the entire woods is looking out towards The Aviary and Old Warke Dam. Here you can feed the ducks and gaze out at the Aviary, a 19th century fishing lodge which was built for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere, Francis Egerton, back in 1840. The Woods were built as his private hunting grounds and the Old Warke Dam was constructed at the same time to act as a private boating and fishing lake.
Although there are no cafes in Worsley Woods (which is a real shame), if you come out of the entrance on Aviary Road towards Walkden Road, there's a lovely pub about ten minutes walk away called Worsley Old Hall. Just head down the driveway to the Marriott and take the left fork. It offers a log fire to warm you in the winter and in the summer, they hold BBQs on sunny days. There is plenty of space for the kids to run around on its vast lawn and they allow dogs, so it's a perfect place to stop for a drink and a bite to eat.
Or if you prefer, why not head into picturesque Worsley Village where you will find a lovely tearoom called The Secret Garden and several pubs and restaurants.
All in all, Worsley Woods offers something for everyone, and each time you visit, you are bound to discover something new.