Safety in Greater Manchester's Parks and Gardens: Covid-19 Restrictions and Best Times to Visit
While it is well known as a thriving urban centre, Manchester and its surrounding areas are also home to a wide variety of outdoor spaces where members of the public can relax, play sports or simply enjoy a breath of fresh air.
During the current coronavirus pandemic, however, the managing bodies of local parks and gardens have made the decision to implement certain changes and restrictions in order to keep the public safe.
These restrictions vary from location to location.
Here at CitySuites, we’ve contacted 114 parks, gardens, or reservoirs within Greater Manchester to be able to share which greenspaces are open, when is the busiest or quietest time to visit these spaces and also what coronavirus restrictions are in place.
So, here is a handy map that shows all local parks and gardens that are currently open to the public.
Of all the Greater Manchester greenspaces we contacted, only Fairy Glen and Roman Lakes Leisure Park remain closed and Beech Road Park is partly open.
The General Approach
Outdoor spaces provide a great opportunity for members of the community to get a little exercise while maintaining social distancing. For this reason, the majority of parks and gardens in Greater Manchester have remained open - with some able to do so throughout lockdown.
However, you should not be surprised to find that playgrounds, public toilets, cafes and other facilities have been closed or significantly restricted in order to improve hygiene and enable distancing.
This reduces the chances of coming into contact with carriers of Covid-19 or touching contaminated surfaces.
Busy and Quiet Times
Many of the parks advised us that their busy and quiet times generally correspond with good or bad weather. However, we have been given the following information about specific sites:
- Alkrington Woods Nature Reserve in Middleton is currently far busier than normal throughout its opening times.
- Brabyns Park in Marple Bridge is exceptionally busy throughout the day on weekends.
- Bramhall Park in Stockport is best before 9.30am is best if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
- Cale Green Park in Davenport is slightly quieter on weekdays.
- Clifton Country Park in Salford is at its quietest in the early morning.
- Etherow Country Park in Romiley is quietest early in the morning and in the late afternoon.
- Fletcher Moss Park is currently far busier than usual throughout its opening times.
- John Leigh Park in Altrincham is very busy throughout its opening hours.
- Marie Louise Gardens in West Didsbury report that their quietest times are early to mid-morning and during the evening.
- Marple Memorial Park in Marple is much quieter early in the morning.
- Seymour Park in Stretford is quiet early in the morning, but it becomes more crowded in the late afternoon and evening.
- Stalybridge Country Park in Stalybridge is at its quietest mid-morning and at its busiest around lunch time.
- Tandle Hill Park in Royton has exceptionally busy weekends, though there is a lot of space for social distancing.
- Three Sisters in Ashton-in-Makerfield is quiet most of the time, besides a number of early morning dog walkers
- West Leigh Park in Leigh is at its busiest around midday, while early mornings and evenings are quiet.
Play areas and play equipment in spaces run by Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - including Drinkwater Park in Prestwich and Manchester Road Park in Bury - remain closed in adherence to government guidelines.
Trafford Council, which maintains and manages Longford Park in Stretford, Abbotsfield Park in Urmston and Walton Park in Sale among others, say all of their play areas will remain closed too.
Playgrounds, play areas and sports facilities belonging to Salford City Council have also been closed, including those at Peel Park, Salford Crescent.
All Manchester City Council-run spaces are also banning access to play areas and sports facilities.
Play areas are also officially closed in:
- Beech Road Park, Chorlton
- Broadfield Park, Rochdale (including outdoor gym and bowling green)
- Bruntwood Park, Cheadle (although pitch and putt facilities are open)
- Clifton Country Park, Salford
- John Leigh Park, Altrincham (although Multi Use Games Area, tennis courts and bowling green are open with restrictions)
- Kirkup Gardens, Woodhouse Park (including Multi Use Games Area and all sports facilities)
- Light Oaks Park, Salford (including tennis courts and outside gym)
- Marple Memorial Park, Marple (including the skate park)
- Old Moat Park, Fallowfield (although caged sports areas are open)
- Orrell Water Park, Wigan
- Seymour Park, Stretford
- Stamford Park, Hale (including boating lake, aviary, fountains and Multi Use Games Area)
- West Leigh Park, Leigh (public are advised not to use play equipment)
Most toilet facilities in Greater Manchester’s parks remain closed in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. However, Lyme park are now permitting use of their toilets as well as Dunham Massey, though a visit to the site - including car parking - must be pre-booked.
We have the following details on cafes in Greater Manchester’s parks:
- The Stables Cafe at Bramhall Park, Stockport: operating as a takeaway
- Orrell Water Park, Wigan: cafe operating as a takeaway
- Alexandra Park, Oldham: cafe operating as a takeaway
- Tandle Hill Country Park, Royton: cafe open
All of the above are operating under strict social distancing measures that require visitors to remain at least 2m apart.
From the information that we have received, we can advise that facilities selling food and drink in all other Greater Manchester parks and gardens will remain closed until further notice.
With the majority of all parks and gardens in the Greater Manchester area now open, you can plan a nice and mainly safe family trip. If you are thinking of visiting one of the lovely parks and gardens in the near future, please note that you should pre-book your visit if travelling to National Trust properties.