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The urban sprawl of Greater Manchester is built upon the ground where the scenic moorland landscapes of Lancashire meet the atmospheric gritstone of the Dark Peak. This means your walks around Manchester can bothexplore its vibrant cityscape and the beautiful natural landscapes that have survived amidst the expansion of one of the world’s first industrial powerhouses.
Today, this proud city is North England’s cultural hub, with all the buzz that comes with it. Walks around the city centre are a feast of iconic sights and signature sounds, highlighting Manchester’s rich heritage. Hikes around Manchester’s surroundingstake you to windswept moors, picturesque villages and tranquil greenspaces, so it is easy to find a peaceful oasis within touching distance of the city.
Manchester is also just a stone’s throw away from some of the best countryside in the UK. The Peak District nudges into its borders and there are many superb adventures to be found in the wider national park.
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Walks in Manchester’s urban centre are guaranteed to excite. They don’t call it ‘Madchester’ for nothing; the whole city has a uniquely energetic vibe. Experience the bohemian Northern Quarter where you can stroll from trendy cafés to hip boutiques whilst taking in the vibrant street art. Industrial heritage and modern architecture collide on the quayside in Salford. Amble along the water’s edge in the shadow of iconic museums and one of football’s most hallowed grounds: Old Trafford, Manchester United’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
Many of the best hiking trails around Manchester explore the beauty spots that liberally skirt the city’s limits. Swathes of greenspace filled with towering trees, wildflowers and bustling communities of wildlife await discovery. To the west of the city, a ramble in Colliers Wood amongst its 338 acres (137 ha) of gorgeous woodland and meadows is sure to delight. The nearby village of Worsley, with its picturesque half-timber buildings, is a serene canal-side setting, perfect for post-walk refreshment.
Manchester also boasts some beautiful country parks in which you can unwind and wander at will. To the south east, Etherow Country Park is a quiet sanctuary for wildlife where you can amble alongside mill ponds, rivers and streams, with colourful views of the lovely Goyt Valley. To the north, Tandle Hill Country Park offers 110 acres (45 ha) of woodland and grassland, with contrasting views across Manchester, Rochdale and the Pennine Hills.
For more strenuous hikes around Manchester, the high moors of the West Pennines await you with trails that are a pleasure to tread at any time of the year. Above the charming village of Hawkshaw, Holcombe Moor offers a stupendous, uninterrupted panorama of the city and the Northwest from its summit. Further east, Blackstone Edge is a terrific moorland ramble with equally impressive views.
Saddleworth Moor, in the northern reaches of the Peak District, is glorious, open-access hiking ground, with a plethora of trails that explore the elevated plateau. Four reservoirs are nestled beneath the looming gritstone, perfect for circular walks amidst spectacular valley scenery.
Explore more of North West England: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.