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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. We ask all visitors to respect the site by following the Countryside Code, keeping dogs under control at all times, but especially during bird nesting season (Mid-March to end of July) when there are rare and important ground nesting birds on the site that can be easily disturbed.

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.

Look at the Hyde War Memorial Trust website #
 


Lower Higham Visitor Centre

Lower Higham Visitor Centre is managed by the Hyde War Memorial Trust. 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, leaflets and publications. The Café is currently being run by volunteers from the Hyde War Memorial Trust, opening times can be found on their website Hyde WW1 Roll of Honour (hwmt.org)

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 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.

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.

Dogs

Dogs must be controlled at all times. This is especially important during bird nesting season (Mid-March to end of July) when there are rare and important ground nesting birds on the site which can be easily disturbed. Please look out for signs on the site highlighting where there are bird’s nest and help us protect them by sticking to footpaths in these areas and not allowing your dog to run through the fields potentially disturbing the nests and killing chicks. Nesting Birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

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 waste bins that can be used to dispose of waste at 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 bird nesting season (Mid-March to end of July), we ask visitors to keep to the paths.


Horse Riding

A network of horse riding tracks crosses the country park.
The tracks link up with other bridleways, extending beyond Werneth Low.


Kites

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 Cycles

Mountain biking is allowed on the park's horse riding tacks.


Country Park Greenspace Officer and Greenspace Volunteers

The Country Park’s Greenspace Officer is responsible for the day to day management of the area. A dedicated team of Volunteers also offer their time each week to help maintain the Park. Their work is varied, including practical conservation, gardening, estate maintenance, publicity and promotion. The service is there to help you enjoy your visit. Please do not hesitate to ask their assistance.


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.


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. Please be aware of any machinery or vehicles using the site for farming activity and stay well away to keep yourself safe.


School Visits

We welcome visits from schools, and can assist with helping to bring to life various aspects of the curriculum.


Emergencies

In the event of an emergency, please dial 999

There are two defibrillators on site, one in a phone box at the top of Joel Lane near to Quarry Carpark and another at Lower Higham Carpark attached to the garage wall.


Remember!

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!

Respect everyone

• be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside
• leave gates and property as you find them
• do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking
• be nice, say hello, share the space
• follow local signs and keep to marked paths unless wider access is available

Protect the environment
• take your litter home – leave no trace of your visit
• do not light fires and only have BBQs where signs say you can
• always keep dogs under control and in sight
• dog poo – bag it and bin it – any public waste bin will do
• care for nature – do not cause damage or disturbance

Enjoy the outdoors
• check your route and local conditions
• plan your adventure – know what to expect and
what you can do
• enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory

www.gov.uk/countryside-code


For Further Information

Contact Greenspace@tameside.gov.uk or Tel : 0161 342 8355