In Cheshire

With the excitement and often chaos of the festive season behind us again, it’s time to make a fresh start to 2022. We may be guilty of being anchored to our devices, binging a little too hard on must-watch streaming, and monitoring our social feeds a little too often. With the beginning of 2022, we can embrace new experiences and changes to our habits, and luckily Cheshire is the perfect place to escape the everyday and get reacquainted with nature. Being outdoors has been scientifically proven to make us healthier and happier. Getting out in nature can help us deal with anxiety and stress, improve our focus, and even lower blood pressure. Cheshire has abundant green spaces, forests and waterways – the perfect place to take a break away from our gadgets and fall in love with nature again. Here at Visit Chester & Cheshire, we thought we’d provide you with some inspiration on where to get out and explore this new year.

Lovell Quinta Arboretum
 

The Lovell Quinta Arboretum in Swettenham has a fascinating history that provides a timely reminder of the balance between tech and nature. Renowned physicist Bernard Lovell, of the telescope fame, found great peace amongst nature and would collect trees, plants and saplings from around the world, planting them on the property at Swettenham to become the arboretum we know today. The Arboretum is home to a colourful range of around 2,500 different plants including snowdrops, crocus and daffodils in the spring as well as trees and shrubs. A tranquil place of grassy walks and leafy arbours, the Arboretum is home to a wide variety of wildlife and makes the perfect destination to switch off and enjoy nature. What’s more, the Arboretum is the only location in Cheshire taking part in the Silent Space scheme (https://www.silentspace.org.uk ) an initiative set up by garden writer Liz Ware, in which gorgeous green spaces allocate time and space to simply be silent.  


 

Tatton Park
 

Tatton Park is a superb option to explore nature. Located just a stones throw away from the vibrant town centre of Knutsford, there’s 1000-acres of stunning parkland to traverse. With so much space, you will be sure to find some tranquillity, whether amongst the vast open spaces, shady woodland, or gazing over the mere. There are hundreds of species of trees, valued for their natural beauty, the wildlife they support, and their importance in the landscape – you really feel at one with nature as you gaze upon a hundreds-year old oak. Tatton is also a forager’s paradise, with a whole host of wild plants and fungi. And as well as reconnecting with plantlife, there are also roaming deer and sheep as well as other woodland critters like squirrels and numerous birds. You can really get lost and reconnect with nature in the Parkland. As well as the Parkland, the magnificent, curated gardens that span 50 acres, with hundreds of species of plants are just as good an escape from the hustle and bustle. You can explore these carefully manicured gardens and learn about the plants and fascinating history of the gardens themselves.


 

Chester Zoo
 

A couple of miles out from the hustle and bustle of Chester’s city centre is Chester Zoo. This much-loved attraction is a haven for wildlife of all kinds and although a busy tourist destination, offers a chance to really reconnect with nature. Getting acquainted with the over 20,000 animals that call the zoo home emphasises the importance of wildlife to our planet, and while it may be tempting to snap a selfie with some of these majestic creatures, we encourage you to take a beat to observe and learn about the inhabitants. Chester Zoo serves as a crucial reminder of the special place wildlife has in our lives, both personally and globally, and visiting and supporting Chester Zoo aids their ongoing conservation works that preserves natural habitats and saves the natural world. And as well as the animal menagerie, the zoo is home to 128-acres of zoological gardens. You can find some quiet respite from the everyday amongst a vast array of tropical, rare, and exoctic plantlife that supports the local ecosystem.


 

Macclesfield Forest and the Cheshire Peaks
 

Macclesfield Forest is a magnificent space to explore the outdoors. What you see today are the remnants of the Royal Forest of Macclesfield, a once-extensive ancient hunting reserve. The roughly 400-hectare forest, bordered by two of Cheshire’s highest peaks, Teggs Nose to the Northeast and Shutlingsloe to the Southwest, is set around the Ridgegate and Trentabank reservoirs, the latter being a much-loved wildlife reserve. Once a hunting ground, now Macclesfield Forest is home to the largest heronry in the Peak District and there’s plenty of wildlife including mandarin ducks, red deer and stoats.

Macclesfield Forest lies on the edge of the Cheshire Peak District. Cheshire’s Peak District encompasses nearly 100 square miles of inspiring scenery that includes the world-renowned Peak District National Park. The area also includes the Gritstone Trail, a 35 mile walking route taking in wild moorland, rocky outcrops, impressive peaks and breath-taking scenery. There’s and abundance of natural beauty to explore, from the crested views of Mow Cop and Kerridge Hill, to the epic Gritstone Trail and vistas surrounding Rainow, making the Cheshire Peaks a must to explore and find yourself in the natural environment.




The Sandstone Ridge
 

Above the expanse of the Cheshire Plain, you can find the Sandstone Ridge. This 230 sqkm landscape is rich in heritage, archaeology, wildlife and culture. It’s little surprise the Ridge was recently shortlisted for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status when you traverse the landscape to find peaks with panoramic views, serene forestry and vast heathland. This celebrated landscape provides a home for a wide variety of plant and wildlife with everything from purple heathers, yellow gorse and green bilberries to colourful wildflowers, native birds and more. With such an expanse, there’s plenty of room to explore and find a spot for quiet reflection.

One of the most popular aspects of the Sandstone Ridge is Delamere Forest. Once the Royal Forest of Delamere, the forest now provides a number of excellent walking routes through the serene, often mystifying woodland. To really experience the essence of the Ridge, we recommend walking up Old Pale Hill. Once you reach the summit, you’ll experience panoramic views of the plain below and much farther afield including the Clwydian Range, the Mersey Estuary and Liverpool, the iconic Lovell Telescope and much more. Technology is literally and figuratively far away when you experience the views from atop Old Pale.

Credit Nick Holmes

These are just a few suggestions, and there is plenty more room to explore, relax and reconnect with nature across Chester and Cheshire this year.

Related

The Lovell Quinta Arboretum
Garden
Bluebells at The Lovell Quinta Arboretum

Nestled in the heart of the Cheshire countryside in the picturesque village of Swettenham lies this horticultural treasure. The arboretum was the lifelong project of Sir Bernard Lovell, founder of the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope.

Tatton Park
Historic House / Palace
Daffodils in the Parkland at Tatton Park

Tatton Park’s ancient Parkland is just waiting to be explored.

Chester Zoo
Animal Collection
Giraffes, Chester Zoo

A visit to Cheshire isn’t complete without a trip to the UK’s number one zoo. Chester Zoo is home to over 27,000 endangered and exotic animals based in beautiful, award-winning zoological gardens.

Macclesfield Forest
Nature Trail
Macclesfield Forest

Today Macclesfield Forest is managed by United Utilities as part of the water catchment area around the reseroirs. There are four reservoirs in the vicinity with Ridgegate and Trentabank reservoirs providing Macclesfield town with drinking water.

The Sandstone Trail
Walking Route
Beeston Castle on the Sandstone Trail

Stride out along the Sandstone Trail and sample some of the finest walking in Cheshire. Follow the ridge of sandstone that rises dramatically from the Cheshire plain and enjoy this invigorating walk at any time of year.

Delamere Forest
Forest
Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest is Cheshire's largest area of woodland and is a place for families to let off steam, escape the crowds, enjoy the stunning views and find peace in the heart of the forest.

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