Copyright 2019 - published by Neil Pedley an independent web publisher

The area has many Countryside Parks, Nature Reserves and Beauty Spots for leisure & pleasure, nature watching, walking, picnicking etc. We have listed below a selection, some are well known others are perhaps more of a local secret - we hope get to enjoy them.


Stafford Area

Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve – Aqualate Estate nr Gnosall
the largest natural lake in the West Midlands, internationally important wetland reserve for its habitats and overwintering wildfowl - car park is off Guild Lane a single track road (signposted Quarry) from the A518 Stafford to Newport road -
Accessibility wheelchair accessible bird hide - however our inspection visit found only standard gate latches and an unmade, very rough path from the car park - robust equipment and assistance recommended


 image of aqualate lake


Doxey Marshes Nature Reserve wetland oasis near the centre of Stafford and one of the country's best bird watching sites
Accessibility Flat surfaced paths cover most of the reserve, although access is occasionally reduced during periods of flooding, wheelchair accessible bird hide - however our inspection visit found unmade and very rough paths - robust equipment and assistance recommended



 image of Doxey Marshes Nature Reserve


Stone Area

Downs Banks (NT) – nr Barlaston
This is a valley of woods and heath with a brook running down the valley with a ford. There is no development except for the car park - the land was purchased by the Joules brewing family and public subscription and given to the National Trust in 1950 in honour of the fallen of the second world war
Accessibility wheelchair accessible walks - there are no toilet facilities at this site



 image of the Downs Banks website


Stoke on Trent Area

Apedale Community Country Park and Apedale Valley Light Railway & are located on the outskirts of the Newcastle, 454 acres of parkland reclaimed from the coal mining industry, Visitor Centre, walks, outdoor activities etc
Accessibility baby changing, disabled access, disabled toilets



 image of the Apedale Community Country Park website


Westport Lake – nr Burslem – created alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal is a nature reserve consisting of two lakes and a conservation area. It includes a Visitor Centre, cafe and play area – Birdwatching, Cycle or walk along the canal towpaths or the cycle tracks
Accessibility accessible toilet and baby changing facilities, plenty of car parking.



image of Westport Lake website


Greenway Bank Country Park – Brindley Ford – Old estate parkland retaining many of the original and interesting historical features with 114 acres of beautiful woodland walks around the Serpentine Lake and Knypersley reservoir. Children’s adventure play area adjacent to the visitor centre
Accessibility baby changing, disabled toilets at the Visitor Centre car park, accessible paths from the Knypersley car park and over the dam (road)



 image of the Greenway Bank Country Park website


Biddulph Grange Country Park – Biddulph – Based on the Victorian theme of landscaped views combined with natural features, the 73 acre park offers woodlands, meadows, a large lake and ponds. Paths have been restored and new ones created to give easy access throughout the park. Adjacent to the world famous Biddulph Grange Gardens(see the Properties and Gardens page)



image of Biddulph Grange Country Park website


Park Hall Country Park – Nr Longton – Over 300 acres of grassland, woodland heathland and wetland areas, with a Local and a National Nature Reserves, Sandstone canyon, ( contains nationally important red sandstone and pebble beds, which were deposited between 250 and 215 million years ago) Pine Forest, Lakes and ponds, toilets and small play area (the 9 hole pitch and put closed but is still accessible for walking)


image of the Park Hall Country Park website


Hanchurch Hills – Nr Trentham – Picnic Site, woodland walks and mtb trails
see walks on
download a walks leaflet at


image of the Park Hall Country Park website


Cheadle Area

Alton Valley and Dimmingsdale – Nr Cheadle – the valley sits below the Alton Towers Resort, it is locally called Little Switzerland due to the fairytale like castle structure that rise above the trees (Alton Castle). (See the Oakamoor listing below) There is a car park at the Ramblers Retreat on Red Road, accessible from Alton or Oakamoor and access to Dimmingsdale a Forestry Commission managed site, with walks along the river and ponds and through the woods.
Accessibility The main walk in Dimmingsdale is accessible but the surface is rough and requires robust equipment (old roadway) and has an incline
Bike Hire is available from Cheadle Cycles in the Market Square, Cheadle, have folding bikes & a tandem for hire
and Churnet Valley Cycle Hire have Adult and Childrens bikes for hire The village website details a number of walks




image of the Churnet Valley website


Oakamoor picnic area – Nr Cheadle – There is a car park at Oakamoor with picnic areas and from here a cycle track runs along the valley utilising the old railway trackbed, following the River Cuhurnet, this passes through Alton village and on to Denstone. Leaving the track at the fist bridge brings you to the Ramblers Retreat and access to Dimmingsdale a Forestry Commission managed site see above
Accessibility The Picnic area is accessible and there are accessible toilets - The track is accessible from Oakamoor however there is no ramped exit for Dimmingsdale or Alton and The village website details a number of walks


image of the Oakamoor picnic area website


Hawksmoor (NT) – Nr Oakamoor
Ancient woodland reserve, a steep valley with unsurfaced or rough paths and tracks, small car park - this is a hidden gem, often quiet and good for bird watching
Accessibility Not wheelchair accessible, steep rough paths and tracks


 image of the Hawksmoor website


Leek and Staffordshire Moorlands Area

Manifold Valley Trail – Waterhouses
the cycle track follows the route of the disused railway through the Manifold Valley from Waterhouses to Hulme End - there is a car park just off the main road at Waterhouses and at the other end at Hulme End Visitor Centre. There are Tea Rooms and toilets at Wetton Mill and at Hulme End, picnic by the river, walk, cycle - Cycle Hire is available localy from Waterside Cottages Cycle Hire, Brown End Farm - Waterhouses
Accessibility the track is accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, limited parking at Wetton Mill
- download a map produced by the Peak National Park here



 image of


Ilam Park – (NT) Country Park with a Youth Hostel (Ilam Hall) and Tea Room
the grouds to the estate are well maintained, and offer many walks in the woods and riverside. The vilage of Ilam is quite picturesque. There is a walk from the vilage across the feilds to Dovedale (about 1 mile), the steepsided valley is a magnet for visitors, lots walks, follow the river to the stepping stones and then on to Mill Dale.
Accessibility wheelchair accessible walks in Ilam Park, accessible toilet by the visitor centre. - If you drive to Dovedale, from the car park (charges) there is wheelchair access along the closed road to the stepping stone


 image of


The Roaches – Nr Leek
This imposing rocky outcrop sits above Titersworth Reservoir and is a simply stunning landscape. The rocks afford some of the best climbing in the country, there are walks and wildlife a plenty -
Accessibility Not wheelchair accessible d


 image of aqualate lake


Rudyard Lake – located outside Stoke on Trent near Leek and the Peak District National Park, two and a half mile long lake, water sports, fishing, walks, wildlife, steam train ride, cycle track, visitor centre, cafe, shop
The Rudyard Lake Steam Railway runs by the lake and cycle track, has a Station Cafe
Accessibility There is wheelchair access to all the stations, plans to have a wheelchair accessible rail coach




 image of boats on Rudyard Lake


RSPB Coombes & Churnet Valley Nature Reserve Coombes Valley is a wonderful woodland reserve. It’s perfect for nature enthusiasts to explore and for families to have fun and play together outdoors. In spring and early summer, migrating flycatchers, redstarts and wood warblers come to breed. In winter, redwings, fieldfares and winter finches are regular visitors - woodland reserve at Bradnop, for nature enthusiasts to explore and for families to have fun and play together outdoors.




 image of aqualate lake



Consall Nature Park - located in the Churnet Valley it is reached by road via the hamlet of Consall, or by foot it can be reached via the Caldon Canal towpath from Cheddleton or Froghall. There is a small visitor centre and car park, fishing lakes and a variety of walking trails through woodland, marsh and riverside meadows. In the valley there is a station for the Churnet Valley Railway so you could arrive by Steam Train -
Accessibility Very steep sided valley, rough footpaths, roadway from has some blue badge parking at bottom of the valley allowing access to the canal and station via the roadway - robust equipment and assistance recommended


 image of Consall Valley


Deep Hayes Country Park – nr Longsdon
a small steep sided wooded valley with resivoir and footpath link to the canal it has a small Visitor Centre, picnic area, outdoor activity grounds -
Accessibility some wheelchair accessible paths, baby changing, disabled access, disabled toilets


 image of Deep Hayes website




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