This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and nature is the theme for 2021. Many people have been getting out in nature more since the start of the pandemic - it's a great way to beat boredom, keep healthy and lift your mood.
Library staff have put together a few of their favourite walks and nature spots in and around Bolton. Have you visited all these places? Many are just a short drive or bus ride from the town.
Chosen by Sarah White
Borsdane Wood is just outside of Wigan, and is a nature reserve of semi-ancient woodland, and home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, badgers, squirrels and birds. Borsdane is one of my favourite places to retreat, explore nature and get some 'me time'. It is a beautiful place to walk, with gentle slopes, footpaths and a long brook stream. Ideal for dog-walkers and children, who will be delighted with the whimsical fairy-door tree carvings that can be spotted throughout the trail.
Chosen by Tim Leonard
This is a former mill lodge nestled between Chorley New Road and the Markland Hill area of Bolton. You don't realise from the main road how large (or lovely) it is. Its home to a range of birds and wildlife and you get amazing sunsets here.
Jumbles and Entwistle Reservoirs
Chosen by Dawn Grundy
For my mental health I like to visit both Entwistle and Jumbles reservoir during the week which revives me after lots of screen time. I enjoy connecting with nature and just an uninterrupted walk - but sometimes I will listen to a podcast such as ‘Obsessed with Line of Duty’ on the way there to drown out the traffic noise! For a walk further afield I recently did the Tolkien Trail which I really enjoyed.
You can get a train to Bromley Cross station, and Jumbles is just a short walk away. Visit North West have some easy trails around Jumbles and Entwistle, though there are lots of different routes to explore.
The Kingfisher Trail
Chosen by Lisa McLellan
One of my favourite walks is the Kingfisher trail. This 14-mile route from Bradshaw to Philips Park is split into 10 sites including a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) where you can spot rare wildflowers. The trail is made up of Heathland, Woodland and Wetland areas. Along parts of the trail, you can spot Tawny Owls. Woodpeckers and Buzzards to name a few. On the ponds and wetlands, there are Waterfowl, Herons, Great Crested Newts and Dragonflies. The whole area has a lot of history including Firwood Fold, the birthplace of Samuel Crompton. You may be lucky to spot a Kingfisher along the water, hence the name Kingfisher Trail.
Smithills and Winter Hill
The Smithills Estate is the largest property maintained by The Woodland Trust, encompassing 1700 acres. The estate is home to a diverse range of wildlife, flora and trees - you'll find details and some suggested walks on the Woodland Trust website.
Smithills Hall is a Grade 1 listed manor house and its grounds are a popular destination for families and dog walkers. There are lots of other walks on the estate, including some that take you up to towards Winter Hill and it's famed transmitter mast. On a clear day you get great views over Bolton and Manchester, and looking westwards you may even spot Blackpool Tower!
AllTrails has some good suggestions for the area though be aware that Walker Fold Woods is currently closed to the public at the time of writing. You can find out more about the Woodland Trust's important Moor Carbon project here.
Friend of the Library Paul Salveson has written a great book on the West Pennine Moors area called Moorlands, Memories and Reflections - you'll find details on his website Lancashire Loominary and we have a number of his books in the Library too.
The Library has a range of other resources about Bolton and the surrounding area, including historic maps and books. We are currently developing our Special Collections which will further celebrate the people, literature and history of the local area.
What are your favourite parts of Bolton and the surrounding area? There are so many great places! Let us know in the comments or by tweeting us @BoltonUniLib!