Smithills Estate is now under our wing

Damaged by centuries of exploitation by man, Smithills is a landscape on the edge. But thanks to incredible funding success, the process of restoration can begin. All in all, we now have 1,700 acres of open countryside, streams and woodland in our care.

And it's all thanks to generous public donations, a grant from Biffa Award (part of the Landfill Communities Fund), and crucial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Viridor Credits.

Credit: Susan & Allan Parker / Alamy Stock Photo

Preserving a rich history

The last piece of land we purchased here includes Barrow Bridge, a woodland area of steep cloughs and streams. Its trees are part of important ancient woodland, a vibrant habitat for wildlife. Hidden within are several historical features, such as the 63 Miners’ Steps which local miners used to climb to work up on the moorland in the nineteenth century.

Credit: John MacPherson / WTML

Access for all

In 1896, more than 30 years before the famous Kinder Scout mass trespass, 10,000 people took to the moors of Smithills, demanding their right to access. We're conserving and improving this, encouraging more people to explore the beautiful place on Bolton's doorstep.

Credit: Dennis Johnson / WTML

Helping wildlife bounce back

Twite, brown hare, little owl and adder - all species once found on the Estate but that are now missing in action. By planting trees and re-wetting dried out blanket bog, we'll give these animals a helping hand to return. 

Credit: Joel Goodman / WTML

Wild fire recovery

In the summer of 2018, the top of the Smithills Estate became engulfed by the Winter Hill fire, causing serious damage and destroying newly planted trees. Our generous supporters came to our aid, donating to help us restore what was lost.

Visit for yourself

A Woodland Trust Wood

Smithills Estate


685.61 ha (1694.14 acres)

Explore this wood

The future of Smithills Estate

Now that all of Smithills is in our hands, we can begin a five year project of restoration and development. Our plans to revitalise the landscape include: 

  • expert management of the moorland fringe, lowland woodland and other special habitats, providing a better home for plants and animals
  • planting 130,000 new trees with the help of local people, doubling tree cover and creating corridors for wildlife to move along
  • encouraging new social enterprises on-site, inspiring a renewed economy 
  • holding a range of events and activities to get involved in
  • protecting and enhancing public access for everyone.

There's still time to help

We can't do any of this without you. By donating to our Smithills fund, you'll make it possible for our work to continue.

Whatever you choose to give, donating online is secure, quick and cost effective, so more money goes directly towards supporting our work at Smithills Estate.