WITH the weather forecast now looking drier and warmer as we head into April, this weekend may be the perfect time to dust off your walking boots and start exploring Northwich’s natural beauty again.

Sitting in the heart of Cheshire’s rural landscape, Northwich residents are spoilt for choice when looking for somewhere to enjoy a day outdoors.

But if you’re looking for a woodland stroll on your doorstep, here are some of the best in the area…

Furey Wood

Furey Woodland consists of two main areas of grassland, one of which is an area of amenity grassland and the other is a meadow area.

There is a circular path (with disabled access) through the new plantation areas which is linked to a riverside pathway by steps. The grasslands are surrounded by woodland, the majority of which was planted in the past 15 years.

This is a mixed broad-leaved wood and a mixture of both exotic and native tree species. The more mature area along the slopes down to the river is dominated by Sycamore, Crack Willow and Oak.

Marshall’s Arm

Marshall's Arm was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1998, for wildlife and people.

This woodland lies close to the River Weaver and the arm in its name refers to the shape of the river.

The three fingers of woodland are full of wildlife and a wide variation of trees.Well kept by a team of volunteers, paths follow the meandering streams up from the river.

Northwich Guardian:

Marshall's Arm Nature Reserve. Picture: Woodland Trust

Uplands Wood

As part of the Northwich Woodlands, Uplands can be found between Anderton Nature Park and the Marina.

As a young wood it provides open spaces to wander between smaller trees. A winding path takes you all around the wood with linking paths into the surrounding woodlands.

Northwich Guardian:

Some of the wildlife that can be spotted at Uplands Woods. Picture: Woodland Trust.

Griffiths Park

Griffiths Park is a valuable amenity to the residents of Rudheath.

Features include sculptures, wide walkways, informal playing areas, games areas, and woodland paths and walks.

The Woodland Trust describes it as a nice place to walk the dog or get some gentle exercise.

Gunners Clough, Bestway and Nursery Woods, Barnton

The Woodland Trust says Gunners Clough has become a 'nice little wood' after some steps and a path were put down there a few years ago. It's now a popular spot for a walk on a sunny day in the spring.

Bestway and Nursery Woods are also mature deciduous woods, which follow the footpaths on the banks of the Trent and Mersey Canal, and make a nice place to walk.

Thorn Wood

Thorn Wood is a young community woodland planted in 1999 and is located alongside the main road between the villages of Weaverham and Hartford.

The site can be accessed via a kissing gate entrance off Northwich Road. There is a good network of unsurfaced footpaths and the wood is well used by local dog walkers. There are also areas of wildflower meadows and a pond.

Northwich Guardian:

Thorn Wood. Picture: Woodland Trust

Church Wood

This wood contains a lot of tall deciduous trees such as oak. Cars can be parked along the side of the adjacent lane, from which a path runs through the wood with a bench near the far end.

Hazel Pear Wood

Hazel Pear Wood was planted in 1998/99 as part of the Woodland Trust's Millennium Woodland On Your Doorstep (WOYD) programme.

It was designed and planted by people in the local community. At the heart of the wood there is a standing stone with a time capsule buried beneath it.

The wood's name comes from a local variety of pear called the Hazel Pear and twelve of these trees were planted throughout the site.

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Sandiway Quarry

New trees have been planted on the eastern and western banks of an old quarry, the centre of which has been filled in and grassed over and is now used for sheep.

There is a path along the bottom of the trees on the eastern bank and you can walk all over the sandy bank on the northern side. There is no access to the field in the middle or the planted area on the eastern side.

You can park along the sides of Kennel Lane, on the other side of which are woods leading to Blakemere Craft Centre.

Northwich Guardian:

Sandiway Quarry. Picture: Woodland Trust.

For further details about the woods listed above or to find woods in other areas of Northwich, visit woodlandtrust.co.uk/visiting-woods