One of my recent guests, the Head Ranger with Staffordshire County Council, mentioned on my show, Going Green, that the Stoke-on-Trent area is one of the greenest in the UK. We have a huge array of places to visit, from country parks to canal tow path walks, woods and forests to moorland hikes. Whatever your fitness level and whether you walk alone, with friends, with a partner or with children or grand-kids, there are walks around Stoke to suit you.
Being an avid walker and lover of the outdoors, I decided to share some walks that I think show how great the great outdoors can be. The best bit is, they’re all on our doorstep!
- Knypersley – Greenway Bank Country Park
Picked out by Head Ranger Steve Williams as his favourite of the local Country Parks, Greenway Bank Country Park circles around the reservoirs and includes woodland walks with beautiful bluebells along the edges of the paths in early May. Featuring a tower, waterfall walk and well, exploring on a longer walk through the woodland off the beaten track is well worth it.
- Apedale Country Park
Apedale Country Park is just outside Newcastle-under-Lyme and features walks around the former mining site. With car parking available near the visitor centre where mining tours and train rides are available some weekends (check in advance) or from Black Bank where a new energy centre was constructed featuring green building techniques and wind turbines for power, you can enjoy a walk for an hour or 3 hours, exploring the many paths around the area. Woodlands with trails and pools have good pathways and some geocaches hidden within, and bluebells are stunning in parts during May. Heading to the top of the site gives a fantastic view over Newcastle with the iconic blue wheel monument and a viewing circle showing local landmarks.
- Barlaston Downs
Between Trentham and Stone as easily accessible from the A34, Barlaston Downs is a beautiful area to walk around. There is parking at either end of the downs, with a walk along a public footpath taking you in front of the Upper House if approaching from the Trentham end, or a walk starting by the river if you park at the Stone end of the downs. You can find a few circular walks and either avoid the bigger hills or have a varied walk with beautiful views, riverside walks and tree lined areas. It’s worth taking your camera along and both kids and dogs will enjoy the exercise.
- Biddulph Grange Country Park
Next to Biddulph Grange Garden and boasting accessible paths and a visitor centre, Biddulph Grange Country Park used to be part of the main estate. Great for a circular walk with a boat house, ponds, a large lake, woodlands and meadows to explore, there are many photo opportunities and you can make the walk as long or short as you like. There is also a small scale water turbine on site demonstrating how water power can be used to power communities.
- Westport Lake
Popular with families and having free, accessible parking, Westport Lake is great for a shorter walk or you can head along the canal and explore further afield. The tracks are ideal for kids to cycle around the lake and the area is popular with fishermen. A smaller lake sits alongside the main lake, where people sometimes have remote control boats and there is an abundance of water fowl making the it a popular local destination for feeding the ducks. A visitor centre on site provides somewhere to enjoy a drink and a snack along with toilets and kids can wear themselves out on the play area after circling the lake.
All around the city, green spaces give opportunities to explore and enjoy the fresh air. There are often events like wildlife walks, health walks and much more so keep an eye out on bulletin boards on site and enjoy discovering somewhere new around the Stoke area with your family, friends or the family dog.