The idyllic destination for a day trip right next to Manchester Airport


When the restrictions allowed us to venture more than a few yards from our front door, one of the first places I headed was Styal in Cheshire to enjoy a walk I took of countless times, but which never ceases to satisfy and delight.

There is something a little magical about the trails and bridges that crisscross the forest, under the thick canopy of trees and along the Bollin River.

And no matter how many hikers park along Altrincham Road, everyone quickly disperses in Styal Country Park, so you don’t have to move through the crowds and you can really relish the tranquility of the place.

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We usually start our walk off the main road, along cobbled paths lined with perfect cottages and gardens filled with wildflowers, until the start of the 19 e century Norcliffe Chapel and in the wooded valley.

Here you will find all kinds of things to walk, whether you are a kid or a big kid at heart, from bridges that look like something out of a fairy tale book, to steps that have been cast from thousands of feet that have trampled here over the years.

The magical wooded valley within Styal Country Park

There are all kinds of routes you can take as you roam the park, passing through meadows, ancient trees and small burrows that look like something Beatrix Potter could have drawn inspiration from.

Whichever path you choose, be prepared to take a breather as there will undoubtedly be some hills to go up and down, providing the kind of exercise that is satisfying on weekends, without feeling like to be a workout.

A photo of Quarry Bank Mill, a former cotton mill, with water flowing next to it
Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire

The region is also steeped in history. Quarry Bank, a former cotton mill built at the start of the Industrial Revolution, which you might recognize in Channel 4 period drama The Mill, is located nearby, and Styal himself remains a striking tribute to the workers who lived here.

Unlike stuffy museums, Quarry Bank, which is run by the National Trust, is a kind of time capsule and offers visitors the opportunity to get a glimpse of what conditions the workers would have been like.

It is also possible to discover the interior of the mill owner’s house, unsurprisingly built at a discreet distance from the mill, and to stroll through the landscaped gardens.

A photo outside of Styal's quaint traditional pub called The Ship
The ship’s pub in Styal

In stark contrast to the historic sites around Styal is Manchester Airport, which may not seem particularly interesting at first glance, but unlike most airports, you can actually walk along part of the perimeter. from the runway and watch the planes take off with wide eyes. proximity.

A weekend walk isn’t complete without a treat or two along the way, and for a bit of food there are a few options.

As well as a picnic, you can sit at the cafe right across from Quarry Bank, or grab a coffee to go.

On Altrincham Road you’ll find Earloms Cafe, which serves drinks and cakes, then nearby is The Ship, a traditional chocolate boxed pub that’s as cozy and cozy inside as it suggests. ‘outside.

For a weekend stroll the whole family can enjoy, I would say Styal has it all.

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