Winter wonderland: see Wigan’s surroundings in a new light with our seasonal walks guide

From natural beauty to industrial relics, there’s plenty to enjoy in the Wigan area in winter.
Time to blow away those cobwebs – and earn those mince pies! Picture – supplied.Time to blow away those cobwebs – and earn those mince pies! Picture – supplied.
Time to blow away those cobwebs – and earn those mince pies! Picture – supplied.

If you can beat the urge to snuggle up indoors as the days get shorter, you’ll be rewarded with a new take on the stunning scenery we’re surrounded by.

It’s time to blow away those cobwebs and earn that mince pie with our guide to some of the most unbeatable winter walks on our doorstep.

Get wild about woodland

The green jewel in our crown, Haigh Woodland Park on the outskirts of Wigan, is a fantastic spot for winter walks. Its 350 acres of wood and parkland make it a great spot for a family day out; you can explore the network of trails through woodlands and around the park's picturesque lake. The park often hosts seasonal events and has a popular miniature railway and play area.

Find peace by the water

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal – Britain’s longest canal – offers a scenic route for peaceful winter walks and the chance to see the area from a new perspective. The towpath is well-maintained, and you can enjoy waterside views and the serene atmosphere beside the water, especially on a quiet frosty morning.

During the winter months, the lakes and wetland areas of Wigan Flashes are great for birdwatching whether you’re an amateur or a fully-fledged enthusiast. There are six bird hide screens from which to spot the various waterfowl; in the colder months, you can expect to see overwintering herons, tufted ducks, gadwall, great-crested grebes and pochard – and maybe even an elusive bittern among the reeds. The 10km of paths around the site offering a range of short -to medium-length walks.

A short drive from Wigan to the north, Worthington Lakes provide pleasant winter walks around three reservoirs, whether you fancy a leisurely stroll along the pathways or a longer hike around the lakes. The lakes are surrounded by woodlands and offer beautiful views all year round.

Get a blast of fresh air

Just a bit to the west of Wigan, Rivington Pike and Lever Park in the West Pennine Moors provide a great opportunity for winter hikes. You can climb to the summit of Rivington Pike for panoramic views as far as Blackpool Tower and the Welsh mountains on a clear day, explore the trails through the woods, and check out the terraced gardens and the iconic Pigeon Tower.

Take a trip back in time

Combine a walk along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal with a visit to historic sites like Trencherfield Mill and Wigan Pier for a glimpse into Wigan's industrial past: Trencherfield Mill’s steam engine built in 1907 was thought to be one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

Or take a stroll around the grounds of the Lancashire Mining Museum at Astley Green. The museum is home to the only surviving headgear on the Lancashire Coalfield which, along with the engine house, provides a fascinating insight into the area's coal mining history.

Staying safe in winter

When embarking on winter walks in and around Wigan, it's important to check the weather conditions and dress appropriately. Make sure you have enough daylight for your chosen walk, and consider carrying essentials such as maps, navigation aids, and extra clothing if you’re heading off the beaten track; a charged mobile phone is essential.

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