Daisy Nook is a country park in Failsworth, pretty much right between Oldham and Ashton, running along the Medlock Valley. It’s 40 hectares of varied landscapes which is fantastic for wildlife and bird-spotting, with an abundance of creatures from great-spotted woodpeckers and owls, to foxes and squirrels.
The Daisy Nook Circular is a 6.4km loop through the park that is perfect for all levels. It’s primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running and nature trips and is easily accessed if you’ve got a car or on a bike. Public transport is a little bit trickier – although you could potentially get the tram into Ashton and then walk up from there.
The name of ‘Daisy Nook’ actually comes from a book by Benjamin Brierley titled ‘A Summer Ramble’. Brierley asked his friend Charles Potter, an Oldham artist, to draw an imaginary place called Daisy Nook and Potter headed to the Medlock Valley to complete it.
Most of Daisy Nook now belongs to the National Trust after it was left to them by the late James Lublam, J.P. “in order that the fields and woods be kept as a pleasure area”. It is now maintained by Oldham and Tameside Councils.
Okay, to the trail. The best place to start the walk is from the car park just on the edge of Crime Lake, the unfortunately named body of water just near to Woodhouse Green Farm on the edge of the M60. There’s actually an Italian restaurant here too, which unfortunately I’ve never had the pleasure of eating in, but I’ve heard very good things.
Crime Lake is actually named after the local word for “meadow” back in the 18th Century, the result of the construction of the Manchester & Ashton Canal coinciding with a brook and flooding. I can’t totally guarantee that the lake is completely free from crime, you could get mugged by a stoat or a squirrel if you’re particularly brazen with a Fruit & Nut. Keep it hidden in your bum bag just in case.
From Crime Lake, the trail continues down the side of the river, before taking a sharp right turn when you see a rickety old wooden bridge, the kind a troll would sit under in the olden times. From here it’s a straight shot to the Daisy Nook Countryside Centre where you can grab an ice cream.
From here, the trail heads east alongside the meandering River Medlock, through a sparsely wooded area that’s teeming with wildlife. Keep going until you reach Oldham Road – which is always super busy – so you’ll hear it before you see it.
Cross the road at The Bardsley Brew, and pop in if you want a bit of refreshment. From here, the path continues heading North West following the Medlock, and featuring a few quaint bridges, woodland and loads of wildlife. You can do a little circular here (it’s not hard to get lost, just follow the paths) and then head back the way you came towards Oldham Road.
Once you cross the road again, you’re going to head ‘over the top’, following the Manchester & Ashton Canal back towards Crime Lake. If you fancy, take a stroll around the lake before heading back home for a Roast Dinner and a few tinnies.
Daisy Nook Circular
Starting point: Crime Lake
Time: 1.5 hours
MAD Walkers are a hiking group for 20s and 30s for people who live in and around the Greater Manchester area. With over 400 members, they offer a variety of group walks to suit you and many other like-minded people.
Head to their website to find an upcoming walk…