This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which aims to promote the connection between good mental health and nature. So we’re taking a look at some of the best ways to connect with nature in and around the Southway area: 

Find a green space

There are over 150 public parks and open spaces across Manchester! You could make it your mission to visit them all, but here are some local spaces to try first:

  • In Burnage and Didsbury, there is Fog Lane Park, Fletcher Moss Park, Green End Road Green Space, Kingsway Crescent Green Space, Didsbury Park and Marie Louise Gardens
  • In Chorlton, there is Chorlton Water Park, Barlow Moor Green Space, Chorlton Community Wildlife Garden and Leesewood Green Space
  • In Old Moat and Withington, there is Ladybarn Park, Old Moat Park, Platt Fields Park, Kingswood Park and Withington Community Garden

You can find all of the green spaces closest to you on the ‘Maps’ tab on our Local Area pagesDo you have any other favourites that we have missed?

Heritage area on Barlow Moor Green Space


Explore Manchester’s walking routes

The Manchester Green Trail is a walking circuit made up of 14 routes connecting many of the beautiful green spaces, public parks and tree-lined streets around the city, and lots of them take in beautiful south Manchester areas. They are all available to download or print here.

For a walking guide with mental health-boosting activities and tips, you can download this free “Thriving with Nature” guide. It's been created by the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with WWF UK.

Join a friendly group for one of these free walks around Burnage at these Walkie Talkie events starting Friday 21st May. The walks are easy and social distancing will be followed - perfect for if you're looking forward to returning to socialising, but perhaps a bit anxious.

Or for an easy walk around Withington, why not try our Old Moat Trail Walk? We designed this nature, history, art and health trail around the Old Moat estate so that it could be enjoyed by the whole community, for a variety of different purposes. View and download it here.

Part of the Old Moat Trail Map


Volunteer for a community project

You’ll find organisations looking for help with green spaces, community gardens and allotments, all over South Manchester.

Our environment team is turning a field into a wildflower meadow over the next few years and is always looking for volunteers to help this and other projects – get involved here. We are also looking for volunteer Green Inspectors – anyone with an interest in keeping their local green spaces in good condition.

And Westcroft Community Centre is looking for voluteers to help to transform their outdoor space in to a space to grow things and a place where people can come together to meet have a brew eat some food,  grow some veg and beautiful flowers. They will provide all the materials, and refreshments, they just need you! Contact us to get involved.

 You can find more local community gardening projects looking for volunteers using this handy map by Good to Grow.


Take part in a green event

Manchester Adult Education is launching a new Digital Nature course in partnership with Manchester Museum. You will be able to improve your digital skills while connecting with nature, and meet likeminded new people, every week in Whitworth Park. Call 07814 041432 for more information or to book a place.

If you want to connect with nature from the comfort of your home, join our fortnightly Age Friendly Naturally Curious sessions, online over Zoom, which give advice on exploring nature on your doorstep.

And we’re holding a ‘Nature in our Green Spaces’ Guided Walk on Saturday 5th June, 10.30am -12.30pm, led by a Southway Urban Ranger. Discover out what wildlife shares our green spaces with us. We’ll be looking out for birds, bees, butterflies and trees, and seeing how many different types of mini-beasts and breeds of flower we can find. More information will follow soon, so keep an eye on our website and social media.


Let us know if you try any of the ideas above and what you think about them!

If you are struggling with your mental health, there is lots of support available from local organisations as well as ourselves. Read about it here.