The lost mine that’s become a lockdown beauty spot drawing thousands at weekends

Decades ago the landscape to the east of Over Hulton was ripped apart by years of open cast mining.

These days it is one of the areas most popular attractions, having been transformed from an industrial wasteland to a tranquil grassland of rolling hills.

Cutacre Country Park, Bolton, was built by developers Harworth Estates as a gift to the local community following the construction of the huge Logistics North distribution centre which began in 2010.

The 550-acre park boasts 18km of footpaths skirting several large lakes and ponds with views of the Derbyshire Dales in the east and across the Cheshire Plain to the Welsh Clwydians and the Mersey Estuary in the west.

During the lockdown, the park has become increasingly popular with visitors and on busy weekends and as many as 1,000 people a day come here for fresh air.

Conversion work on the massive site is still underway, particularly in the area near Little Hulton, but the landscape appears to have quickly recovered from its industrial past.

The park covers a huge area and has welcomed as many as 1,000 people a day on busy weekends.
(Image: Cheyl Doran)

It is increasingly popular with walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders, but has also become of interest to bird watchers and other nature-lovers.

While the park appears to be mostly grassland, areas are slowly developing into woodland, scrub and wetland habitats and the entire site is now a major wildlife reserve with protection orders on the landscape for crested newts.

Ornithologists are also enthusing over the bird species already making their homes at Cutacre with bullfinch, stonechats, reed warblers, goldfinch, barn owls and tawny owl augmenting the more expected varieties of North West bird life.

Rex the German Shepherd explored the area, which is mostly grassland but new habitats have been developing.
(Image: Friends of Cutacre Country Park)

Deer, foxes, stoats, hares, rabbits and water vole have also been spotted by some lucky visitors.

The park, situated just off Junction 4 of the M61, has parking off the A6 and off Mort Lane, near Tyldesley, but there are several entrances depending on which direction drivers come from.

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