Smithills Estate Visitor Information

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Landscape at Smithills

Smithills Estate (Photo: WTML)

The Smithills Estate is the largest site ever acquired in England by the Woodland Trust. Steeped in history and shadowed by the famous Winter Hill TV mast, it’s a rich mosaic of grassland, farmland, moorland, wooded cloughs and bog habitats, crisscrossed by dry stone walls, with panoramic views over Bolton to Manchester.

Many features of the Smithills Estate are in need of restoration but this is still a wonderful place to visit, and over the next few years the Trust will preserve and enhance the iconic landscape for the benefit of people and wildlife.

In July 2015, the Woodland Trust managed to acquire two thirds of the Smithills Estate through a fund-raising appeal which our supporters and the people of Bolton responded to with wonderful generosity. Further funding was received from legacies and grants such as that from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Then in 2017 we managed to raise the £450,000 required to purchase the final third (556 acres) of the estate. So now, the whole 1,700 acres of this fantastic landscape is securely in our care.

Under our protection, the free public access which has always been so precious to local people, will be retained and improved across the estate.

We believe that preserving and enhancing the Smithills landscape is vitally important for people as well as wildlife. We will interpret the land's wealth of history, bringing its hidden and important industrial and archaeological features to life and add visitor signs about the site's industrial heritage. We will also double the number of trees and undertake baseline wildlife and habitat surveys as soon as possible with the hope that parts of the estate will be designated as areas.

The appeal continues

Even though we've managed to buy the last third of the site, we still need to raise substantial funds to restore Smithills’ important habitats, engage the community, improve access and highlight the areas rich heritage. Securing these funds is vital. Find out more at Smithills Estate appeal.

Our vision

We believe that preserving and enhancing the Smithills landscape is vitally important for people as well as wildlife.

We will interpret the land's wealth of history, bringing its hidden and important industrial and archaeological features to life and add visitor signs about the site's industrial heritage.

We will also double the number of trees and undertake baseline wildlife and habitat surveys as soon as possible with the hope that parts of the estate will be designated as areas of Special Scientific Interest.

How to get here

The site is iconic in the landscape and can be seen and easily pinpointed from miles around due to the well known 310m high Winter Hill broadcasting transmitter perched at the top of the hill, just outside the Woodland Trust boundary.

By Train

Check times at Traveline website or telephone 0871 200 2233.

By Bus

Check times at Traveline website or telephone 0871 200 2233.

By car

Smithills Estate is just three miles from Bolton town centre.

Follow the brown signs for Smithills Country Park via the A666 or from the M61, junction 5.

To get to Barrow Bridge car park, continue onto Smithills Dean Road, turn left onto Colliers Row Road and then take the first left onto Longshaw Ford Road (there is a sign here that points to Barrow Bridge car park). Longshaw Road becomes Barrow Bridge Road and the car park will be on your right (BL1 7ND).

Car parking

The best place for car parking is Barrow Bridge, though there is a small area for parking at the Walkers fold entrance. 

To get to Barrow Bridge car park go to Smithills Dean Road, turn left onto Colliers Row Road and then take the first left onto Longshaw Ford Road (there is a sign here that points to Barrow Bridge car park). Longshaw Road becomes Barrow Bridge Road and the car park will be on your right (BL1 7ND).

Access and walks

Routes within the Smithills area are quite diverse. Footpaths mingle with restricted byways, providing a mix of both surfaced and un-surfaced paths and wider more formal looking tracks.

Restricted byways in particular tend to be well surfaced and free from obstructions. The Trust will improve existing paths, which are loved by local walkers, and add new routes as finance becomes available to encourage visitors to explore off the beaten track. However, many of the paths would be challenging for people with reduced physical ability.

Nearby amenities

Public toilets

The nearest are at Smithills Hall, home of the Bolton Library and Museum Services on Smithills Dean Road, BL1 7NP. Tel. 01204 332 377 for details.

Refreshments

Try the Smithills Hall tea room which offers afternoon tea, sandwiches, snacks, cakes and ice cream. There is also a wide range of restaurants in the Smithills area of Bolton. Check them out at tripadvisor.co.uk or virtualtourist.com.

Accommodation and tourist information

For the nearest tourist information office contact Bolton Tourist Information, Le Mans Crescent, Bolton, Lancashire BL1 1SE, tel. 01204 332853 or visit boltongov.uk.

Other information on places to stay in the Bolton area can be found at tripadvisor.co.uk.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.

 

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