Quarry Bank Mill is a woodland estate located in Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire. Owned by the National Trust, Quarry Bank Mill has so much to offer all year round.
There is a large free car park which is accessible not far from Manchester Airport or Wilmslow. Simply follow the National Trust signs.
If you are visiting Quarry Bank Mill walk down towards the reception where you will be greeted. Please note currently (March 21) visits must be pre-booked.
Visiting the Quarry Bank Mill estate
Once past the Reception area you come to a crossroads of paths – straight ahead you can walk into Styal Woods (see below) or you can turn left and walk towards the Mill. We decided to visit the Mill first.
Once owned by Samuel Greg, a business entrepreneur with his vision to expand into the cotton industry he built Quarry Bank Mill on the river Bollin, harnessing the awesome flow of the river to power the mill. It’s quite spectacular to see, and you can visit inside the Mill…I remember going on a lots of school trips but unfortunately due to Covid restrictions it was closed during our visit. It was still nice talking about the history of the Mill to our children!
There are so many paths and walks to explore but we decided to head to Spring Gardens as there was a Peter Rabbit trail on (please see website for more events). The garden twists and turns down the valley and is full of historic glasshouses and orchards. It was lovely to see signs of spring starting to peep through. The kids really enjoyed following the paths round and spotting all the clues from our trial.
Food and Drink
After visiting the gardens, we walked round back towards the Mill where we came to a lovely, cobbled area with two cafes and a gift shop. We treated ourselves to a take away afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream, yum!
There are also picnic benches and single benches dotted around the estate if you’d prefer to take a picnic. It’s also worth pointing out there are several toilet blocks – near Spring gardens and near the café just outside The Mill.
You can visit Styal Woods as part of your visit to Quarry Bank Mill or you can visit the woods separately without entering or pre-booking the National Trust Estate. You can also park for free in the National Trust, Quarry Bank Mill car park.
If you chose to just enter the Woods – as you come the National Trust reception desk just walk around to the right and follow the footpath down towards Styal village. This takes you across a farmer’s field but the footpath is made of stone and has good pushchair access. Once at the end of the path you will see Styal village ahead of you. If you fancy walking around Styal village it’s worth a trip seeing all the cute terrace cottages once built for the Mill workers. There’s also a great pub called The Ship which is well worth a visit!
If you’d prefer to walk straight into the wood take a left.
Steep valley to explore.
Upon entering the woods, the kids were off exploring – there are endless broken tree trunks to climb, paths that lead up and down the valley, bridges to run over – the scenery is quite spectacular! It was also perfect for dogs who enjoy a run around – we had several little visitors sniffing us out!
Padding in the River Bollin
One of the best parts of our visit was paddling in the River Bollin! If you follow your nose down the valley towards the river you come to some sand banks. The kids loved paddling and following the tunnels through the water. Please be careful though, don’t let children walk too far in as the riverbank dips and there is a strong current. It might also be worth taking a change of clothes or waterproof suits as our kids got a little wet!!
Worth a visit a there’s so much to do!
A visit to Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Woods is well worth it. Suitable for all ages, families, couples, walks with the grandparents, dog walkers there’s so much to explore and see and do. If you are looking for a lovely afternoon out in the fresh air, I can’t recommend this enough. I can’t believe this is on our doorstep and we’ve left it so long to visit! Enjoy your trip.