There’s nothing like stretching your legs after a few days of over-indulging at Christmas - and a little fresh air helps to keep the kids happy once they get bored of their new toys and being cooped up indoors. So wrap up warm, grab a brolly, go for a walk to blow off the cobwebs. And you don’t need to travel for miles to experience a little piece of nature and greenery.
Here are five of our favourite buggy-friendly walks to suit kids of all ages in Greater Manchester.
Victoria Park, Stretford
There are some nice easy options here for folk of all levels of fitness - including short routes if you have a determined toddler who likes to escape their buggy and go on their own steam for a bit. Friends of Victoria Park have put together a set of five walks ranging from just 200 metres to 1.5km to get families moving - with some nice flora and fauna to spot on the way.
The shortest green route starts at the tea room in Victoria Park, heading along a paved avenue, and then takes in a sundial garden with lots of interesting features to point out to wee ones before ending back to the tearoom with a nearby play area for kids who still have some energy to burn.
The longest red route takes in a lap of the whole park, in a figure of eight shape. You can download maps for all five walks here.
Chorlton Water Park trail
This local nature reserve holds a Green Flag park award and there are five walking routes to choose from, with no steep hills and evenly surfaced paths. There is a signed circular route of about a mile which is easy to follow around the lake and there are also benches if your little ones need a rest or snack stop. There are also picnic tables, a play area and loos. See Manchester city council’s website for more info.
Sale Water Park, Trafford
This 2.5 mile circular route is great for wildlife lovers with lots of birds to spot, and there are cafes in the water park and pubs nearby if you need a warming brew or hot chocolate afterwards.
Starting at Sale Water Park Metrolink stations, the walk passes along Barrow Brook and Broad Ees Dole before going into Priory Gardens where there is nice woodland to explore. The return loop heads along a mature beech tree-lined avenue and over the M60 footbridge to the southern section of Sale Water Park.
Download a PDF map at the GM Walking site here.
Manchester by the Sea, Salford Quays
A little more uncoventional as it’s not in a park but good for a wet day to dodge the mud thanks to the paving, and it’s nice and flat - just take care for kids going too near the railings round the water. This is a short walk (1.5 miles) in the Royal Geographical Society’s “Discovering Britain” series and takes a loop round what used to be Manchester’s working dock but is now known better as Salford Quays. There is lots of history to explore from ghost trains and banana boats to race horses and wild deer - and for the real littlies, you can always spot the Blue Peter Garden and the home of CBeebies at MediaCity en route.
The walk starts from the piazza next to the MediaCity Metrolink station and ends at Centenary Walkway next to the shopping centre - you can download a map from the RGS here.
Vernon Park, Stockport
This is Stockport’s oldest park and it offers a number of short routes of under a mile, though some of the paths are a little steep so you’ll get a bit more exercise in.
The park was built in 1858 and underwent a big restoration in the early 2000s thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant. You can explore the Vernon museum and cafe in its grounds, and while there is no set walking route sign-posted, it’s a small park and easy to find your way around.