Fairy Glen is one of the most picturesque spots in North West England. Located just north of Appley Bridge village and a mile east of Parbold, it’s a fantastic place for exercise, dog walking, and families with children seeking outdoor adventure.
The picturesque broadleaved woodland follows the path of Sprodley Brook for around ¾ mile. A central path follows the floor of the valley and is suitable for most. Delightful wooden bridges cross the water in numerous places. More difficult paths lead to waterfalls and ascend the valley walls.
Designated as a Biological Heritage Site for its rich woodland biodiversity, this scenic location offers tree-shaded hiking trails, spectacular waterfalls, cliffs, and an idyllic atmosphere that transports you to another world.
Its diverse flora and fauna make it the perfect spot for nature lovers seeking a peaceful escape from city life.
The landscape here is as diverse as it is alluring. A broadleaved woodland follows the course of Sprodley Brook for around ¾ mile, ending at the River Douglas and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
A central footpath winds its way along the base of the glen, providing a comfortable route for most visitors. Wooden bridges, as charming as they are practical, span the water at several locations. For those seeking a more challenging journey, trails lead to stunning falls and ascents up the walls of the sandstone valley.
The ancient woods comprise oak, birch, ash, and alder trees. This dense forestation has earned the area designation as a Biological Heritage Site. Visitors are encouraged to stick to existing public footpaths to preserve this environment’s natural beauty and protect its diverse plant life.
The woods come alive in spring, as the ground is blanketed in a carpet of bluebells. The aroma of wild garlic fills the air, and ferns and wildflowers abound.
While the area offers abundant natural beauty, it’s important to note that it is a relatively untouched slice of the countryside and does not have any facilities. There are no toilets, cafes, or playgrounds on-site. Despite this, the glen remains popular due to its beauty and tranquil surroundings. Nearby attractions like Yarrow Valley Country Park and Mesnes Park in Wigan offer more facilities.
Fairy Glen is owned and managed by West Lancashire Borough Council.
Video – Walk Through Fairy Glen
Fairy Glen’s abundant natural beauty provides amateur and professional photographers with endless opportunities. One of the best times to visit this picturesque location is spring, when the bluebells are in full bloom, typically from late March to early May.
With its lush greenery and vibrant hues of blue, the area becomes a haven for those who wish to capture nature’s beauty through their lenses.
One of the main attractions is its waterfalls, which provide excellent photographic opportunities. After heavy rain, the falls become more dramatic, offering fantastic opportunities for capturing nature’s raw power and beauty. The surrounding moss-covered rocks and trees add texture and depth to photographs taken near the waterfalls.
Wheelchair-friendly paths are marked on the official site map. It’s worth noting that the area can be muddy, especially in autumn or winter.
Opening Times and Admission
Fairy Glen is a free attraction. There are no restrictions on visiting the site. Visitors can enjoy the woodland trails throughout the year.
Fairy Glen – Location and Getting There
Fairy Glen is off the A5209 (Sparrow Hill – Hall Lane). It’s near Appley Bridge and about 5 miles northwest of Wigan.
Fairy Glen’s entrance can be tricky to spot. There is a sign, but leaves may conceal it. Those with satellite navigation systems can utilize the postcode WN6 9EQ to find it.
There is no designated car park available at Fairy Glen. There’s a lay-by around 100 yards from the gate. Parking here is free, but spaces are limited.
A lot of visitors park illegally on the side of the road, annoying many locals.
Alternative methods of reaching Fairy Glen include travelling to Appley Bridge village by bus or train.
The 645 bus service from Wigan goes to Appley Bridge. On the way, it stops on the A5209, around 1/3 mile from the entrance to Fairy Glen.
Visitors can also catch a train to Appley Bridge Train Station. It’s a short walk along Appley Lane North to reach the A5209. It’s also possible to walk west from Appley village, along the canal towpath, and then access Fairy Glen from its southern side.
Other Places to Visit Near Wigan
There are many alternative or additional parks to visit in the local area. These offer other amenities such as better parking facilities and more extensive facilities.
Some notable parks nearby include Yarrow Valley Country Park, Mesnes Park, and Beacon Fell Country Park.
Yarrow Valley Country Park, located near Chorley, boasts a range of facilities catering to visitors’ varying interests. It encompasses 700 acres and offers a cafe where guests can enjoy refreshments after outdoor activities. Families with children will also appreciate the excellent playground. A car park is available on-site for those driving to the location.
Mesnes Park in Wigan is another popular destination worth considering. This Victorian park has been recently restored and offers ample green spaces with delightful gardens and well-maintained pathways perfect for strolls or more brisk walks. Furthermore, it boasts a cafe and several playgrounds.
Beacon Fell Country Park is another alternative. Situated within the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Preston, it offers multiple walking routes through its diverse landscape of moorlands and woodlands. It provides a cafe, visitor centre, and several car parks. Visitors can take advantage of picnic areas scattered throughout the site while enjoying panoramic views from its elevated position atop the Beacon Fell summit.