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Blakemere lake with leaves from trees around the edge of the picture

Top forest spots to cool down near Manchester

Looking to escape the city heat within an hour's drive of Manchester? Look no further! We've put together the ultimate guide to escaping Manchester city centre this summer with our favourite shaded woodlands.

With the climate heating up, there are a number of increasingly hot summers ahead. Cities become significantly warmer in hot weather than surrounding rural areas due to the ‘urban heat island effect’, so escape Manchester and find a secret spot under the trees of a nearby woodland. 

Plus, there's no need to reach for your car keys - you can reach these forests by train or bus and do your bit for the planet! 

Family walking through pine forest

1. Delamere

Delamere Forest, Frodsham, Cheshire

34 miles from central Manchester

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Just an hour's train journey from Manchester, Delamere is an oasis in the summer. Offering beautiful views of Blakemere Lake and quiet shaded spots for a walk or cycle, this is the perfect spot to spend a sunny day out. Don’t forget to bring lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic spots you’ll find in the forest! 

We recommend: Venture away from the visitor centre on the Old Pale trail or hire bikes and explore the forest on two wheels – you’ll love the breeze as you cycle along!

Did you know? Trees can help us to adapt to a changing climate. They provide shade, alleviate flooding, and create valuable wildlife habitat. They also ‘lock in’ some of the estimated 3000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in the air. 

Drinkwater Park, Salford, Manchester

6.4 miles from central Manchester

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Escape the hustle and bustle of city centre Manchester and cool off with a visit to Drinkwater Park on the edge of Salford. Home to a diverse mix of native woodland, open meadows and the River Irwell.

We recommend: Leave your car behind and use public transport to get here. Drinkwater Park is totally accessible by train or bus, so you don’t need to worry about getting stuck in traffic. Located just to the west of Salford you can catch the number 93 to the entrance of the park or travel via train to Swinton and walk.

Lakeside path at Drinkwater Path

2. Drinkwater Park

Did you know? To combat climate change, we are ambitiously planting more trees. Last year our nurseries produced nearly 16 million new trees to replant and create new areas of woodland. In the same year, we harvested 7.75 million trees for use in everything from home-building to furniture-making. 

Goyt Valley landscape with views over reservoir

3. Goyt Valley

Goyt Valley, Buxton

17 miles from central Manchester

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Cool off under the trees and enjoy a forest walk at Goyt Valley. Located on the edge of the Peak District, you’ll find endless rolling hills and the lovely Errwood Reservoir to walk around. 

We recommend: Bring a pair of binoculars and keep an eye out for a variety of birds, such as red grouse, meadow pipit, curlew, and snipe who call Errwood Reservoir their home. 

Rochdale Woodlands, Rochdale

13 miles from central Manchester

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Take a trip from Manchester Piccadilly on the picturesque TransPennine Express to cool off in the beautiful Rochdale Woodlands. River Roch runs through the woodland, with trees on either side providing much welcomed shade in the summer heat! As you walk, keep an eye out for woodpeckers, dippers and kingfishers which are a regular sighting here, along with many other wildlife. 

We recommend: Take your running shoes. With a running track, this woodland is perfect if you're looking for a place to exercise away from the heat.

Shaded forest woodland walk
Photo credit: Isobel Cameron

4. Rochdale Woodlands

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