Last week, one particularly sunny day we hopped in the car and went to Etherow Country Park, located on the far flung edges of Stockport. We’d not been before but we’d heard that it was well worth a visit for a walk, and if we went on a weekend there was a high chance we’d get to see the boating lake in action.
We arrived just before lunch and parked (pay and display, but not ruinously expensive). The boy and I wandered over to the lake to check out the local bird life, there was the usual selection of Canada geese, ducks, some swans and a few more colourful interlopers. There were also three little model yachts pootling about on the lake which were quite fun to watch.
We watched the birds and the boats for a while, there were lots of small children throwing bread for the ducks, but proper duck food is available from the little garden centre near the cafe if you forget your own.
We decided to walk down the path to the weir and back around the lake. For the most part the path is tarmac or firm ground and is accessible. The path runs along a small waterway so you can watch the wildlife and waterlife as you walk. There are lots of ancient ferns, undergrowth and interesting bushes and trees all around and it’s clearly a popular spot for local families and dog walkers alike.
Walking up to the weir you pass a few reminders of the industrial heritage of the site, Etherow Country Park was once a thriving cotton mill and various bits of machinery and gears remain. You can hear the weir from some distance away, the roar of the water is something to behold and I can’t help but think Stockport Council are missing out on a trick here, not making use of the water power at the weir.
Walking back to the car park we decided to skirt around the other side of the lake, by that time a few yachts were out catching the wind. The lake is surrounded by beautiful views all around and even in bleak but sunny February it was breathtaking, you’d never know you were so close to civilisation!
By the time we’d got back to where we’d started, the boys were hungry, so whilst I went to the garden centre to pick up some plants, they popped into the busy cafe for coffee and sandwiches.
We’d enjoyed our morning out, the walk is a good length for a five year old, with enough to interest them along the way. The walk we did was not long, but you can walk up beyond the weir and explore the woodland further up if you want. We’ll be returning later on in the spring for another walk up to the weir.
Etherow Country Park & Local Nature Reserve, George St, Compstall, Stockport. SK6 5JD