A wonderful way to keep busy and healthy is to get out and enjoy your surroundings. In the Greater Manchester area, we have many wonderful parks and spaces that you can take advantage of.

Here are a selection of some of our local outdoor spaces.

Heaton Park
Heaton Park is the largest municipal park in Europe offering an area of 640 acres. There are plenty of areas to explore with fantastic views of the hills across to the Pennine hills.

Landmarks and features include Heaton Hall, The Temple, Dower House, Grand Lodge and the Colonnade which was once the frontage of the old Manchester Town Hall which was located on King Street. There are ornamental gardens and a fine boating lake. Hazlitt Wood pond is in Hazlitt Wood situated at the far north of the park. This area is reached by foot only and remains quiet and secluded.

Whitworth Park and Garden
Whitworth Park was opened in 1890 and was known as Potters Field before the Whitworth Institute secured the site as a memorial to the engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth. In the grounds there is a statue of Edward Vll by sculptor John Cassidy and a First World War memorial to the 7th Manchester’s.

The Art Garden is an Urban Sanctuary designed by Jo Malone of London and devised by renowned garden designer Sarah Price.

Platt Fields
The park features paths, rose gardens, a boathouse and a lake. Platt Hall is located at the Wilmslow Road side of the park and was formerly the Costume Gallery.

Platt Fields has a history going back to A.D 1200 with Nico Ditch which runs through the park and is known a defensive line against Danish or Viking raiders attacking from the River Mersey.

Alexandra Park
This park is one of Manchester’s earliest and most intact Victorian parks. It is a 60-acre site and is a Grade 2 listed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens.

Improvements have been made to the lake, paths, the restoration of historical features such as the drinking fountain and tabernacle with the reintroduction of flowering plants and shrubs.

Debdale Park
There are many walks around the site with the Fallowfield Loop Line on the edge of the park. You can find a memorial on one of the trees dedicated to local boy Davy Jones of the 1960’s pop group the Monkees.

Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens & Parsonage
There is so much of interest at Fletcher Moss. The park and gardens cover 3 separate but linked areas: Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens, Parsonage Gardens and the Nature Reserve of Stenners Woods, Millgate Fields and the River Mersey.

Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens are open from dawn to dusk every day. The café is open offering takeaway food and drink, but the toilets are currently closed.

Chorlton Water Park
Chorlton Water Park is a Local Nature Reserve set in the Mersey Valley and includes a central lake surrounded by grasslands and woodlands. There is a network of accessible paths which leads into woodlands and wildflower meadows. It forms one of the 5 Mersey Valley health walks.

For more details on all Manchester’s parks check out the parks and playgrounds website here.

Greater Manchester Parks & Outdoor Spaces

Alkrington Woods Nature Reserve
The River Irk flows along the lower reaches of the reserve and is fed by Wince Brooke near the centre of Middleton and Boardman Brooke at the Blackley Border. The waterways are populated by swans, geese and duck with kingfishers and cormorants occasionally seen fishing the river. A wide range of other bird life make their home in the surrounding woodland.

There are 25 entrances to access the site with the River Irk public footpath beginning at Middleton town centre (opposite the bus station) and continues to Heaton Park and Blackley Forest.

Reddish Vale Country Park
Reddish Vale Country Park covers 161 hectares along the River Tame in the heart of Stockport.

The Vale is a green oasis linking Reddish with Denton and Woodley. You can walk, cycle or horse ride with links to the Goyt Etherow, Saddleworth and the Longdendale Trails. The Midshires Way and Transpennine Trail are accessed from the area should you wish to take long distance routes.

Sand martins and kingfishers’ nest in the riverbanks. The mill ponds and wetlands are visited by wildfowl including geese, herons, grebes, cormorants, coots and a variety of ducks.

Haigh Woodland Park
This parkland is one of the Northwest’s most treasured natural attractions. There are miles and miles of walks either through the woodland or down by the canal.

There’s 250 acres of park with magnificent views across the Douglas Valley to the Welsh hills.

Healey Dell Nature Reserve
A beauty spot and wildlife sanctuary set in an industrial landscape. The disused 1800’s railway line is now a nature trail with views from the old viaduct which is 100 feet high.

The 2-mile route leads from Rochdale town centre through Whitworth and on to Bacup. The River Spodden carves its way through woodland with delightful scenery and waterfalls which once powered the local mills.

Sale Water Park
The Water Park is open from dawn until dusk for taking walks through the grassy meadows down to the banks of the River Mersey and along to Jackson’s Bridge a Grade 2 listed wrought-iron footbridge crossing the River Mersey built in 1881.

Dunham Massey
The park and garden are the ideal place to enjoy the ever-changing Autumn landscape. A ramble around the park will reveal a range of architectural oddities and views of the house complete with Dunham’s resident herd of fallow deer. Other wildlife you may glimpse may include owls and woodpeckers.

Dunham Massey has all the elements of a great medieval deer park. In the grounds you’ll see fine avenues, wide vistas, ancient trees, roaming deer and open grassland which with the changing colours of nature offer a fantastic sight.

For loads more information on where to visit contact the visitor information team at visitorinformation@manchester.gov.uk.