A walk around Lindow Common, Wilmslow

We quite often visit Wilmslow in Cheshire and go out for a meal or look around the shops, but one of my most favourite things to do when I’m in Wilmslow is to take a walk around Lindow Common.

Lindow Common is on the outer fringes of Wilmslow, off Racecourse Road, and it’s a site of special scientific interest. It’s also home to Black Lake, which is probably the main attraction for me. Come rain or shine, if we are in the area, we will take a turn around the lake, sometimes if it’s cold, wet and miserable, it’s a very speedy walk. Sometimes, like over the weekend when the sun was shining, it was very much worth a lingering visit.

Lindow Common

This pocket-sized nature reserve is popular with dog walkers and nature lovers alike. Hundreds of years ago it was the village common, where locals would graze their animals, but the trees have rather taken over these days. The common is classed as lowland heath, so there’s a management programme in place where they’re selectively removing some of the birch trees to allow the native heathers to grow.

If you’re driving, there’s a small free car park opposite Hickory’s where you can park if you need to. It’s about a ten minute walk from the town centre, so it feels pretty accessible to me.

Lindow Common

There are information displays throughout Lindow Common, highlighting some of the rare or interesting plants, amphibians, birds and insects you might encounter on your visit. There are any number of things to spy on your walk around this man-made lake, but keep your eyes peeled for water voles, dragonflies, damselflies and a number of aquatic species. Beyond the water, the habitats provide cover for early migrating bird species including the chiffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap.

We don’t always walk through the heath areas, but over the weekend we took a short path through the wooded pathways. We walked through the heather filled heath and back to the familiar territory of Black Lake. The footpaths around the lake are generally well maintained and easy to walk on, and probably fine for wheelchairs and buggies, though parts can get a bit churned up after a prolonged period of wet weather.


In all the years we’ve been visiting Lindow Common, I’m pretty sure the weather this weekend was about the most perfect it’s been. There was not a cloud in the sky and the water shimmered and sparkled in the light. We spotted a number of birds including a rather handsome heron, some baby coots, moorhens, regular ducks and we heard that someone spotted a grebe on the other side of the lake. There was clearly a lot going on.

For those who like to linger, there are plenty of benches around the common where you can stop and enjoy the surroundings and possibly fuss a passing dog. It’s quite a small nature reserve, so there are no refreshment stalls or cafes within the reserve. If you want a drink or snack, you’ll need to bring your own, or pop across to a local café or restaurant. There are bins available, but you’re encouraged to take your litter back home with you if you can.

Lindow Common

Black Lake has a sturdy wire fence around it, presumably to protect the wildlife from excitable dogs wanting a swim, so it would be a disappointing visit if I took my water loving spaniel. The lack of swimming opportunities for dogs does mean that the lake is very peaceful and a real haven for birds and wildlife.

Growing up in South Manchester in the 1980s, we heard all about the discovery of The Lindow Man, in 1984. Pete Marsh, as he was known as was discovered in a peat marsh close to Lindow Common. It is thought he could date back to the Iron Age or though to Roman Britain. Pete Marsh is now being cared for by the British Museum, though I did see him once many years ago when he was exhibited at The Manchester Museum. He may yet return north in the future, and if he does it’s worth visiting this fascinating chap, wherever he ends up.

Lindow Common

Visiting info:

Lindow Common SSSI, Racecourse Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5NQ

A walk around Lindow Common, Wilmslow

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

At this time of year, there’s something really nice about wrapping the family up and going for a winter walk. Being stuck in the house all day is a recipe for boredom and I know if I don’t get my lot out at least once over the weekend, chaos will ensue. Finding family friendly walks isn’t always easy, but where is good to go and easy to get to from Manchester?

Having a dog means we are out a few times a day in the park or down by the river anyway, but packing a flask and some treats, clambering in the car and setting off to explore somewhere a little bit further afield can be a fun but budget day out. If you’ve got buggies to contend with too, finding good paths to push a pram along can make all the difference on a country walk.

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

With the help of some other Manchester based bloggers, I’ve gathered a list of good family walks in and around Manchester, each with a little write up or review, so you know just what to expect when you’re planning your walk. Some of them are in and around National Trust properties, so if you’ve got a membership card, it’s worth checking and taking it with you.

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

Abney Hall – a lovely little walk, pond dipping optional. Cafe and free parking.

Alderley Edge – magical walks, huge views across Cheshire and beyond and a little bit of folklore and magic too!

Boggart Hole Clough – is a large woodland and urban country park in Blackley, Manchester

Clayton Vale –  is a natural wildlife habitat and a Local Nature Reserve.

Clifton Country Park – is a local nature reserve in the Irwell Valley at Clifton. Home to a fairytale trail!

Delamere Forest – managed by the Forestry Commission, there are recreational trails, a visitors centre and a cafe. There’s a nearby train station too.

Dovestones Reservoir – is on the very edge of the Peak District National Park and it a gorgeous place to walk with the family.

Dunham Massey – deer park, house and gardens. Lovely flat paths and lots to explore (National Trust).

Etherow Country Park – boating late, flat paths, cafe and good family walks to be had.

Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury – woodland walks, a botanical garden, a nature reserve, a great cafe and walks by the river. What more do you need?

Jumbles Country Park – reservoir, wooded walking paths, a cafe and year-round fishing.

Lyme Park – (National Trust) deer park, hall, mill and a brilliant playground, miles of walks and a cafe!

Lyme Park 20 family friendly walks around Manchester

Macclesfield Forest – lovely woodland walks with views to match!

Rode Hall – snowdrop walks, bluebell walks and a regular farmers market, plus the best cafe ever!

Sandstone Trail, Cheshire – one of the most popular long distance walks in the North West.

Speke Hall – (National Trust) a Tudor manor house with a maze, woodland walk and gardens to explore.

Tandle Hill Country Park – is a large country park with woodland areas, sweepings views and a countryside centre.

Teggs Nose Country Park – explore the meadow, moor and woodland areas around the 380m high hill, ideal for walking and cycling.

Werneth Low Country Park – panoramic views are offered from this grassy hilltop, which also features a country park.

Yarrow Valley Country Park – 700 acre parkland with a lake, waterfall, adventure playground, cafe and a visitors centre.

I’ve made a map with every single walk I’ve mentioned above in it, so you can find everything easily. Just click on the map and away you go!

Don’t forget your flask and waterproofs, this is Manchester after all. Where are you going on your next walking adventure?

20 family friendly walks around Manchester