Macclesfield Forest – the country walk that looks like a Christmas postcard in winter weather Daisy Jackson
It is absolutely baltic out there – but also pretty beautiful, and we’ve found you a winter walk that looks better than ever at this time of year.
The weather in the UK has well and truly turned wintery, with temperatures barely creeping above freezing all week.
That comes with a lot of bad bits, like being really bloody cold all the time, having to scrape the car every time you use it, and energy bills going through the roof if you want to put your heating on for five seconds.
But also, when you stop and look around, brilliant blue skies, frost-tipped landscapes, perfect sunsets and crunchy leaves.
This sort of super-cold, super-crisp weather is actually perfect for a big walk, so we say let’s all get wrapped up warm and head on out to the beautiful countryside around our home city.
One of the most stunning sites in the north west is just across the border into Cheshire. We are of course talking about Macclesfield Forest.
Here, huge conifers dominate the landscape like giant Christmas trees – it’s about as close to an alpine wonderland you can get without travelling all the way to actual mountains.
When it snows, the whole forest is muffled. The only sounds you’ll hear is the soft thump of snow falling off the branches.
And if you don’t fancy killing an entire afternoon wandering through the woodland, there are also two reservoirs – Trentabank and Ridgegate to explore.
There are a number of walking trails to follow, from a gently green route all the way to a more challenging red route that takes you deeper into the forest.
- The hugely underrated reservoir walk with amazing views of Manchester and a waterfall
- The GM Ringway – a whopping 300km walking trail around Greater Manchester linking beautiful countryside with local attractions
- The incredible winter walk near Greater Manchester with a cosy pub at the end
If you brave the uphill climbs, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views over the Cat and Fiddle Moors and the Cheshire Plains.
And then you can defrost from your walk in the cosy Leather’s Smithy pub, which dates back to the 18th century and serves proper pub grub and real ales.
Leather’s Smithy, a cosy 18th century pub serving real ales, locally-distilled Forest Gin made from botanicals foraged nearby, and comforting pub grub.
You can find a full trail through AllTrails here.
Featured image: Unsplash
Canal-side Manchester hotel named one Britain’s best just one year after opening Daisy Jackson
One of Manchester’s newest hotels has been named as one of the best in Britain just a year after it opened.
Leven, a canal-side spot in the Gay Village, only opened its doors for the first time last December and has already gained itself some serious recognition.
The Times has published its list of The Best Places to Stay 2023, and Leven was the only Manchester hotel to get the nod from the prestigious guide.
Leven took over a former 20th century warehouse on the corner of Canal Street and Chorlton Street last year and turned it into a stylish, luxurious hotel.
Each room includes a free pair of limited-edition branded socks as well as a breakfast smoothie, plus bespoke furniture, natural mattresses and fast wifi.
Its penthouse suite sprawls over two floors, complete with sitting room, large kitchen and dining area, plus a terrace, two bedrooms, and three bathrooms.
Just this week, Leven unveiled plans for an ambitious art deco restaurant on its ground floor.
Maya will take over three floors, from a canal-side brasserie space serving modern-European classics to a lower ground-floor, elegantly designed dining room that will centre around an ingredient-led, locally sourced and seasonal menu.
In its review, The Times said: “The Leven is housed in a handsome red-brick, former cotton warehouse on Canal Street. It’s now a mix of an intimate boutique hotel and an aparthotel, with an industrial design that provides personality without fuss.
“This is the spot for the kind of person who might book an Airbnb but wants the services, style and location of a hotel. Many of the rooms come with handy kitchens and are great value for money if you want an apartment without the price tag.
“Bedrooms come with tone-on-tone greys, black Crittall windows, exposed brick, green velvet sofas and blue velvet bed frames.”
- Inside the five-star Salford hotel loved by celebs including Johnny Depp
- The best, biggest and boujiest hotels in Manchester city centre
- Manchester’s Hotel Gotham named one of the world’s most luxurious hotels – and you can see why
The paper was particularly impressed with Leven’s location, writing: “This is where the Leven really scores. It’s on pedestrianised Canal Street in Manchester, alongside the Rochdale canal, lined with alfresco tables and chairs and strung with overhead lightbulbs — great for a glass of wine and people-watching.
“The Gay Village has a thriving LGBTQ+ community, where Saturday night spills over into Sunday afternoon.
“The Leven looks over the canal towards Kampus — a cluster of newly renovated warehouses on cobbled streets that’s home to indie outlets such as Pollen sourdough bakery, Beeswing wine bar, Kampus General Store, and Madre for tacos and tequila.”
You can find out more about Leven and book a room here.
Featured image: Mariell Lind Hansen