Werneth Low Country Park
'To be kept forever as an open space' - The Dedication of 1921
Welcome to Werneth Low Country Park
Please take time to glance through this page giving information on park attractions to help you enjoy your visit.
The country park extends for 80 hectares (200 acres) across the Northern and Western slopes of Werneth Low. Only 9.5 miles from the city centre of Manchester, the area is both a haven for wildlife and an area where visitors can find peace and relaxation. The park's location provides panoramic views across Manchester and beyond to Liverpool. The dark blue silhouette of the Welsh mountains can often be seen on clear days, as can the Pennine hills close by.
Getting to the Country Park
The nearest bus stop is in Gee Cross on the main A560 south of Hyde. Baron Road leads from here to the Baron Fields entrance to the country park. On all roads approaching the Country Park keep a look out for the brown and white direction signs.
There are three car parks in the country park: at Lower Higham, the Quarry and Windy Harbour.
Please drive with caution along the narrow lanes that go through and beside the country park.
A Brief History
In 1920, following a public appeal, which raised exactly £14,013, 14 shilling and 8 pennies, the War Memorial Committee of the Hyde Borough Council made a momentous decision by purchasing Lower Higham Farm and all its land. Following the purchase a scheme was put forward to protect the land forever for the health and well being of the community, a lasting tribute to the 710 men from this area who perished in The Great War of 1914 to 1918. On the site known as Hackingknife, at a cost of £2,000, Hyde's main war memorial was officially unveiled on the 25th of June 1921. The land and farm are now held in trust by the Hyde War Memorial Trust.
During the late 1970s the former Greater Manchester Council, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and the Hyde War Memorial Trust agreed to establish Werneth Low Country Park. On the 9th of June 1980, His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester officially declared the park open.
A joint management committee was created, which continues to this day to govern country park matters.
Lower Higham Visitor Centre
Lower Higham Visitor Centre provides a range of visitor services and facilities. The present building dates back to the 17th Century and was once the farm house of Lower Higham Estate. Archaeological work in the area suggests a building of much earlier origin stood on the site. Inside the visitor centre are displays and exhibitions about Werneth Low. Leaflets, publications, souvenirs and light refreshments are available.
Outside the visitor centre the immediate area is full of interest, including the orchard, herb gardens and croft picnic area.
Recreation in the Park
Recreation facilities available in Werneth Low Country Park include surfaced footpaths, horse riding and cycle routes, picnic areas, view finders, informal gardens, and at many locations seats are provided for visitors to rest and take time to appreciate this unique area. A programme of events organised by the park's Countryside Ranger Service takes place throughout the year. The country park's footpaths link with the wider network of rights of way in the surrounding countryside. The 40 mile Tameside Trail and the Trans Pennine Trail long distance route pass through the country park.
Throughout the year there is a programme of public events organised by the Ranger Service, including guided evening strolls, all day rambles and children's activities. Details of all events appear in the Council's Events Calendar.
A network of horse riding tracks crosses the country park.
The tracks link up with other bridleways, extending beyond Werneth Low.
Werneth Low Country Park is a marvellous place to enjoy flying kites. Single line kites are allowed, but due to disturbance and public safety, stunt kites are not.
Mountain biking is allowed on the park's horse riding tacks.
Country Park Ranger Service
The Country Park Ranger Service is responsible for the day to day management of the area. Their work is varied, including routine conservation, visitor management, estate maintenance, publicity and promotion. The service is there to help you enjoy your visit. Please do not hesitate to ask their assistance.
Dogs must be controlled at all times. For public health reasons you are requested to clean up after your dog. Dogs are not allowed in the orchard area at the Lower Higham Visitor Centre. There are dog waste bins located at Lower Higham Visitor centre, Baron Fields and Quarry car park.
Wildlife in the Park
Around the country park the varied mixture of habitats is home to a range of wildlife. The flower rich hay meadows and dry heathland are particularly interesting to the plant lover or anyone who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings. In autumn, the wooded cloughs are especially colourful and in winter the Low is a marvellous place to observe the annual migration of wild geese. The country park really is a place to visit all year. During the ground nesting season, we ask visitors to keep to the paths.
People with a Disability
There is easy access from the Lower Higham car park into the visitor centre, where the staff are used to meeting people with special needs. There is a disabled persons toilet adjoining the centre. The Croft picnic area, adjoining the Lower Higham car park, and the nearby herb garden, are accessible by people in wheelchairs.
There is also a wheelchair route from the Quarry car park toward the Cenotaph.
Farming in the Country Park
A number of the fields are let for grazing, in a way that sustains the wildlife value of the meadows. Please do not feed farm animals in the park.
We welcome visits from schools, and can assist with helping to bring to life various aspects of the curriculum.
In the event of an emergency, telephones are available at the visitor centre (during opening hours) and at the junction of Joel Lane and Higham Lane (public payphone).
Our park deserves respect. Do not tear off branches, pick flowers or disturb park animals or nests.
Most people come to the park to escape the noise and stress associated with city life so be mindful of excessive noise or intrusive activity.
The Countryside is never closed. It's always there for you to enjoy.
Follow the Country Code!
- Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs.
- Leave gates and property as you find them.
- Protect plants and animals and take your litter home.
- Keep dogs under close control.
- Consider other people
Visitor Centre Opening Times
- Saturday - 1pm to 4pm
- Sunday - 1pm to 4pm
- Tuesday - 1pm to 4pm
- Bank holidays - 1pm to 4pm
The centre is not open on Christmas Day or Boxing Day
You can also contact the ranger outside the opening hours shown above by phoning 0161 368 6667.