TAKING in the changing seasons with a visit to the region’s stunning woodland habitats is the perfect way to blow away a few cobwebs this weekend.

Absorb the changing colours, breathe in the earthy smells of the season and spot late autumn wildlife with plenty of special places to explore within an hour’s drive of Bolton.

With so many woodlands, hills and lakes to be found near Greater Manchester, it’s well worth escaping the hustle and bustle – and with excellent public transport links, it’s surprisingly easy to do just that.

So wrap up warm and explore and let us know if you have any tips.

Tom Wood

TOM Wood in Charlesworth is a great destination for those seeking a trip to a wood from nearby Greater Manchester. A beautiful landscape with ash oak birch and sycamore and varied wild flowers, Tom Wood lies on a steep gullied valley running down into the River Etherow near the village of Charlesworth. The surrounding land is the rolling country between the hills of the Peak District National Park and the outskirts of Manchester.

Dunham Massey

VENTURE into the deer park at Dunham Massey to take in wildlife while you walk. Wrap up warm to take in the changing seasons and come back in the New Year to meander through thousands of winter shrubs, trees and bulbs in Dunham’s winter garden - the largest of its kind in the UK.

Dunham’s fallow deer have been part of the estate since the park walls were built in 1748, and they roam freely around the parkland.

Beacon Fell Country Park

THE Beacon Fell Country Park consists of 110 hectares (271 acres) of woodland, moorland and farmland. The Beacon Fell summit is 266 metres (873 feet) above sea level and offers spectacular views of the Forest of Bowland and Morecambe Bay. On a clear day it is even possible to see the Isle of Man. There is also an abundance of wildlife for those who are prepared to be observant!

Worsley Woods

LOCATED in the picturesque village of Worsley, Worsley Woods offers a peaceful place to wander.

Occupying around 30 hectares of beautiful woodland, the site can be reached from Salford’s network of looplines or the historical Bridgewater Canal. As well as self-guided trails, the Salford Ranger team with support from an active friends group provide a wide range of exciting events and activities throughout the year including walks and talks, orienteering and a range of outdoor education activities.

The site also forms part of the Worsley Village Heritage Trail.

Blackley Forest

BLACKLEY Forest is situated in the Crumpsall and Higher Blackley areas of Manchester, a densely populated urban area to the north of the city. The River Irk runs through the west side of the forest en route to the city centre.

The nature reserve, covering 20.5 hectares, includes a mixed deciduous forest. Walking maps and information sheets are available at blackleyforest.com.