As the nights are getting lighter, the weather (ever-so-slightly) warmer, and the easing of some lockdown restrictions are just around the corner, it would be easy to feel the spring months (and all of the refreshed energy and new life it brings with it) lightly tapping on our shoulders!
Without a doubt, walking has been so important in improving our mental health this past year and, regardless of the endorphins our daily exercise releases and the health benefits of raising our heart rates for at least 30 minutes a day, who can say they don't feel at peace surrounded by the calming sounds of nature? Especially if your usual background noise consists of constant questions about online homework and the delightful sounds of Peppa Pig!
I'm sure we all can't wait for the date we're allowed to meet up with one other family at the end of March (cheers, BoJo!) with things hopefully going back to normal end of June, so I thought I'd get a list together of the best family-friendly North West walks for us all to visit when it is safe to do so. These trails will be great for clearing your head (and tiring the kids out), and range from short local walks in Merseyside and Cheshire to lengthy routes a little bit further afield in Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Don't forget, though, please do stick to the local and national travel guidelines when planning your trips!
Read my top 16 family-friendly nature walks:
If you have any more, add them to the comments below!
The Tolkien Trail - 10.8km
Forest of Bowland, Lancashire
The Tolkien Trail is located near Clitheroe, Lancashire, and features a lovely river and beautiful scenery. The trail is quite long but easy to walk, and it can get muddy in wet weather - so don't forget to pack your walking boots!
Entwistle and Wayoh Reservoirs - 7.1km
This walk is a loop located near Darwen, Lancashire, which features beautiful moorland and woodlands areas. It is known for its fantastic views and is home to plenty of wildlife - a perfect bird-watching spot! You can also expect cattle and lots of kissing gates, oh and don't forget to check out the nearby picturesque village.
Roe Green Loopline and Bridgewater Canal - 6.0km
Salford, Greater Manchester
This canal used to be used to transport coal but is now part of a great walk in Broadoak Park. It is a great trail with lots of lovely social surrounding areas and is a great route for taking kids and it is easy and accessible with a pram too.
Beeston and Peckforton Castles - 5.8km
This walk features a beautiful forest and a combination of both stone and woodland paths. The route starts from Beeston Castle and then heads out along farmland to circle Peckforton Castle, and you also get to travel along a famous long-distance path along the Peckforton estate. Dogs are welcome too, but must be kept on a lead!
Walton Hall Circular - 5.6km
Walton Hall Gardens, Cheshire
This journey is a nice, easy walk with a cafe located at the Hall along the way. This area is very child-friendly, although can get muddy in places so wellies are advised! Beautiful picturesque gardens with lots of woodland areas.
Pennington Flash - 5.1km
Leigh, Greater Manchester
This is a lovely birdwatching walk around the Pennington Country Park, where a whopping 230 bird species are known to live! The trail is a great flat walk to travel with kids.
Sefton Park Loop - 4.3km
This beautiful trail can be used for walking, running, wildlife-spotting, and even dog walking (if kept on a lead), and features a lake in the middle of Sefton Park with lots of birds and a shop which sells bird feed. It can get quite busy but there are lovely views on the surrounding areas.
Blakemere Lake - 4.3km
Delamere Forest, Cheshire
A quick and easy local walk which boasts lots of lovely wildlife to spot in the dense wooded areas. There is also alternative paths to make this walk more difficult if you fancy a challenge!
Lyme and Wood Circular - 4.2km
A great forest setting and an easy walk for the kids with convenient parking available for ease of access. It can get very muddy, though, so make sure to pack your wellies and a change of clothes if it has been raining! Would not recommend this trail for prams or wheelchairs as some paths can be overgrown.
Turton and Entwistle Reservoir Loop - 4.0km
Bolton, Greater Manchester
This is a lovely little walk, where you will find woodland areas, little streams, lots of trees and fallen trunks (great for climbing!), and even some farm animals. Great scenery and an easy route for all the family.
Euxton Yarrow River Circular - 3.7km
This river walk is located near Chorley, it is dog-friendly and even features a waterfall. It is a gentle walk from Euxton Green, through the woodland and along the secluded and relaxing River Yarrow, although the route is mostly trail terrain (no paths) so would not be suitable for prams. If it has been raining it can get super muddy too!
Burrs Country Park - 3.4km
Bury, Greater Manchester
This circular walks starts from the entrance to the country park on the River Irwell, which is one mile from Bury town centre. There is much to see here as it is home to tons of wildlife found in their habitats, woodlands, ponds, and waterways. The end of the walk passes the East Lancashire Railway, so watch out for a stream train! Free parking and easy, although sometimes muddy and narrow, pathways.
Mere Sands Wood Loop - 3.1km
There's lots of wildlife to spot along this local wooded walk and boasts some gorgeous scenic views. However, it can get a little busy at times but the trail is great for kids.
Carr Mill Dam - 2.9km
St Helens, Merseyside
A mostly flat and easy walk, with walkers and bikers both welcome. As you'd expect, it can get a little muddy in places, but can be great fun for kids if dressed appropriately! There are helpful information boards dotted around to help you learn about the local wildlife, and there's even a nearby carvery pub to treat yourself after you finish the walk.
Paddington Meadows Nature Walk - 2.7km
Paddington Meadows, Cheshire
A lovely, quiet loop which features a river and offers a number of activity options. An easy and well-paved route along the New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail, which is perfect for kids. Dogs are also welcome!
Lymm Dam (Via The Dingle) - 2.3km
A beautiful walk which boasts great views of a lake and a picturesque village with lots of lovely old cottages and places to eat and drink after you finish. Lymm Dam is a lovely leafy area, and the Dingle path is a quaint and charming addition to your stroll. There's also an option to join the Trans Pennine Trail is you're wanting a longer walk!
Paige Edge Photography