Living in Manchester is fantastic. With so many places to visit in under an hour’s drive, there really isn’t much excuse not to get outside. I grew up on the Wirral and visited Delamere Forest a lot while I lived that way. Recently we have been making the trip from Manchester to explore the forest and it really does take less than 55 minutes to get there. There is a parking fee, but to support and maintain the forest, I think it’s a small price to pay. That and to have access to toilets too! (although to be honest, they can sometimes be a bit grubby or lacking in toilet paper – so make sure you take some tissues with you! Better than nothing though, I say)
Anyway, the weather has been pretty interchangeable over the past few days meaning that a big hike wasn’t really on the cards. So instead of forgoing our outdoor adventures, we decided to head over to Delamere Forest. There are some great paths there so no worry about getting too muddy and lots of different routes to keep you entertained.
We even went for the civvies look and went in jeans to make sure that we took things easy (yeah right! Worth a try, guys!) We still managed to bet our group on the Weekend Warrior on Fitbit with a whopping 55,105 steps – and that was a relaxing weekend!
Delamere Forest is a wonderful place to visit because you can go at any time of the year and discover something different – we have been known to visit in the winter and at art college we visited when it was snowy and icy to do some land art work – my gosh was that cold!! Sat in a ditch in the snow, weaving sticks into the roots of trees for an entire three days!
Luckily the weekend was much warmer and sunnier than that and I didn’t have the urge to sit in ditches and make fairy glens, so we were free to roam and wander.
The Forestry Commission that supports Delamere Forest have done an excellent job of creating a map with waymarked walks which are great for first time visitors (it only costs a few quid and you can keep it in the car for your next visit) or if you have been before, you can go off track and explore the lesser trodden areas. We like to couple a bit of both into our adventures as it is fun to watch the plantation changes through the seasons and the pathways help you to see that. I often end up with the same photos at different times of year – without even realising!
The only thing you need to watch out for when you’re heading off track is that you don’t accidentally end up on a bike track as some of those cyclists can pick up some speed! Most of the cyclists are really courteous though and share the ways kindly!
Some of the off track routes were a bit on the muddy side, but with careful maneuvering, calculated leaping and meticulous stick stepping, you could get around most of it without getting knee high in mud! If you wanted to stay really clean, the paths really are the way forward. (we just like to check our boots still coordinate with mud after the dry weather!)
As you can see, the paths are great – perfect if you’re taking someone in a wheelchair or a buggy. You’ll see lots of families around too, as there is the Gruffalo trail. There definitely is a good mix for those wanting rougher terrain and those wanting it flat and easy.
I took a bit of a time lapse video to share the terrain and give you a better idea as to what it is like (i’m really enjoying taking them and the effect that they have! Although I think I might have to start doing them in landscape to fit YouTube better)
Having known Delamere Forest for a long time, I have seen it change so much, from flooding different areas, reshaping the paths and planting new areas. It is no surprise to see stacks of logs. It may seem a bit surprising at first (as is seeing trees growing out of what seems to be a lake) but it is all part of the management.
You’ll find that there is often a lovely bench here and there for a rest and a brew too – make sure you look through the ferns as there are usually some hidden ones with excellent views over the lakes and towards where the birds hang out, so great for some bird spotting too.
As you might very well know by now, we always have our flask to hand to keep ourselves hydrated and tea’d up!
After having a break and a tea, it was time to head back to the car – our parking was running out! So we started in the direction of the visitor centre.
Never ones to take the easy route, we meandered through trees and switched between the many paths to get back to our parking spot – making sure to stop at the loo on passing so we were good for another cuppa and the drive home.
With less than an hour to drive to and from Delamere, you can easily make it a day trip from Manchester and it is somewhere that all the family can enjoy. I personally love it for the changing seasons, environment and atmosphere.
If you haven’t visited, I really urge you to make the trip! Plus, if you fancy taking the train instead, you can jump off right by the forest too.
Get outside and enjoy nature!
What is your favourite thing about getting out and about in nature?
Share in the comments below! 🙂
Linmere, Delamere, Northwich, Cheshire CW8 2JD
Features: Camping, Picnic Areas, Parking (paid), Nearby Train Station, Play Areas, Circular Walks, Bike Hire, Cafe, Shop, Bike Repairs, Segway, Go Ape, Dog Friendly, Picnic Areas.