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Travel & Tourism

Brilliant Boxing Day walks through Greater Manchester

daisy jackson

It’s Boxing Day, and for many of us the only requirement of the day is to sort out (eat) the leftovers and enjoy one last day vegetating in front of the TV…walking isn’t on the agenda .

But all that Christmas Day overindulgence can start to wash over you — the tight belts, the slightly hazy head, the bank balance definitely suffering from the Christmas Eve pub session.

Not to sound like your nan, sometimes a bit of fresh air is just what you need to get back on your feet.

Not to mention, it may help you regain your appetite to dive into that cheese board for the sixth time this weekend.

Greater Manchester is blessed with beautiful walks in all directions.

We’ve rounded up 11 great Boxing Day walks for you to try.

Macclesfield Forest

Macclesfield Forest
Macclesfield Forest. Credit: Unsplash, Marty Finney

There aren’t many places in the UK that look as much out of a Christmas postcard as Macclesfield Forest, making it one of our favorite winter hiking destinations.

Here, huge conifers dominate the landscape like giant Christmas trees – it’s about as close to an alpine wonderland as you can get without traveling up the mountains.

There are a number of hiking trails to follow, from a slightly green route to a more challenging red route that takes you deeper into the forest.

You can find a full trail via AllTrails here.

Read more: The countryside walk that looks like a Christmas postcard in winter weather

Greenbooth Reservoir, Rochdale

Greenbooth Reservoir is one of the most underrated places in Greater Manchester.

If you tackle a full loop of all three reservoirs, you’ll encounter a small waterfall, stunning views of the Manchester skyline from the dam wall, and paths carved into steep hills.

It’s all tucked away in the Naden Valley in Rochdale, just above Norden.

A tank trio full loop is just over 6km, but you can shorten the walk by just going around one.

Read more: The extremely underrated Reservoir Walk with stunning Manchester views and a waterfall

Peel Tower, Bury

Credit: Visit the Northwest

Let’s see how awake your quads are, shall we, with a fully uphill climb from the village of Ramsbottom to its magnificent Peel Tower.

The walk isn’t too difficult if you take it at a slow pace, and it’s worth it for the views. Trust us.

You can go straight up the hill and back down if you don’t want to rack up too many miles, or turn it into a circular one and walk through Holcombe Moor instead (beware, it can get windy here).

There is a circular route map here and some great pubs in the village to relax in afterwards.

Dovestone Reservoir, Oldham

Dovestone Reservoir. Credit: Unsplash @stravekc

Dovestone Reservoir is a treasured gem for many Mancunians. It can get very crowded on Boxing Day, but thanks to its generally wide paths and circular route, it’s easy enough to have your own space when strolling.

The path around the water is mostly flat and accessible, making it ideal if you still have a few generations of parents hanging around.

You can continue if you’re feeling adventurous, extend your walk to include Greenfield Reservoir and Yeoman Hey, or head to Saddleworth Moor and the rocks above.

You can find more information about the Dovestone Reservoir here.

Read more: The lesser-known beauty spot above one of Greater Manchester’s most popular destinations

Roe Green Loopline, Salford

Worley. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This is another that is pram friendly and not strenuous at all, so it’s perfect for little legs and hangovers.

A 3km circular walk will take you from Monton along the old Roe Green rail line and then back along the Bridgewater Canal.

During your walk, you will see churches, an old abandoned train platform and the lighthouse of Monton, as well as beautiful wooded landscapes.

You can see the details of the walk and learn more about its history at Visit Salford.

Sale Water Park, Trafford

This is by far one of the best winter walks you can do locally, especially on a nice sunny day (which we hope will be Boxing Day).

The water is surrounded by woods and meadows, and you walk along the banks of the River Mersey while here.

The lake itself is actually an artificial lake and was flooded after gravel was dug to build the M60 in the 1970s.

In the summer it’s full of people doing water sports, but in the winter it’s a scenic little walk – and as a bonus you can even take the tram right to the door.

Reddish Valley, Stockport

Reddish Valley, Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Then, if you want the most bang for your buck (like soaking up as much fresh air and scenery as possible in as short a time as possible), Reddish Vale is the one for you. .

There really is gentle loop that leaves from the parking lot and skirts the edge of the lower pond, also enjoying the view of the huge viaduct looming above our heads.

And if you’re looking for something a little more intricate, you can keep exploring – this urban oasis spans 161 hectares and is crossed by the River Tame.

Edge of Alderley, Cheshire

The view from Alderley Edge. Credit Tomasz Kozak ©

A walk around Alderley Edge is one of the best days out in our area for good reason.

There’s that view, on the one hand, gazing at Manchester’s ever-changing skyline from the south, while standing on its dramatic sandstone escarpment.

We like to park in the village and ogle all the mansions on the way up.

Alderley Edge is a National Trust site and they have put together a convenient wooded walk to follow.

Pike Lantern, Derbyshire

Pike Lantern. Credit: The Manc Group

If you’re looking for a view of Greater Manchester that you may never have seen before, put on your hiking boots and head to Lantern Pike.

Just on the edge of the Peak District, near the village of Hayfield, this hill offers incredible 360 ​​degree views of the Peaks and towards the town.

The best bit is the pint you won at the famous gastro pub, The pack horseonce back down.

Read more: The country walk with stunning views, an old railway line and a great pub at the end

Rivington Pike, Lancashire

Rivington Pike is a true North West gem, just across Bolton’s border with Lancashire, with loads to explore.

There are a trio of reservoirs at the base of the hill, but most people head uphill to the historic tower at the top, where you can soak up views for miles around.

The terraced gardens are also worth exploring, where you will find a hidden Japanese garden, lakes, waterfalls, bridges, sculptures and caves.

Heaton Park, Manchester

It may not be the most adventurous Boxing Day walk – Heaton Park is one of Manchester’s most popular and important green spaces and one of Europe’s largest city parks – but it is a perfect option for a family walk.

The huge park has miles of accessible footpaths that loop around the boating lake, the Grade I listed Heaton House and the ‘Temple’, which stands at the highest point in the city of Manchester.

There are also cows and horses roaming around (even when the wildlife park itself is closed) and the old tram line to check out.

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons

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