Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county and combined authority area in the North West of England with a population of roughly 2.8 million, making it the third largest in England after Greater London and the West Midlands.
The Greater Manchester region is made up of 10 metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford. Greater Manchester was established on 1 April 1974, as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.
The wider regions that make up the area have much to discover regarding history and heritage. For instance, the remains of 1st-century forts at Castlefield in Manchester, and Castleshaw Roman fort in Saddleworth, are evidence of Roman occupation. Manchester was founded during Roman times as a fort and was originally known as Mamucium. The region has known history of Iron Age and Celtic Brigantes tribe settlements. There’s grand architecture dating from all ages, including Shambles Square and grand buildings from the Victorian era.
When the canals from Liverpool were constructed, a boom in the cotton industry occured, and Manchester rushed to the forefront in industry and technology at the time. Manchester is the birthplace of the industrial revolution, and with it, the city’s population exploded. In the 1800s it boasted one of the world’s first omnibus services, as well as the world’s first passenger railway station.
Greater Manchester covers a great deal of countryside in the surrounding areas, including an area on the edge of the Pennines, Hartshead Pike, which overlooks Manchester city and from which you can see for miles around. Dove Stone Reservoir and the hills surrounding it is a magical place for hiking and walks of all kinds with stunning views over the moors from the highest points overlooking the reservoir and calm gentle walks around the reservoir itself. There are plentiful reservoirs in the Greater Manchester area, such as Ogden, Kitcliffe and Piethorne Reservoirs, all of which make wonderful walks. The Strines area, too, has many reservoirs and beautiful countryside to explore
Within such a large diverse area, there’s leisure activities aplenty. Rocky and rugged places to hike or rock climb, and cycling routes well worth the effort are dotted throughout the area, some of which have featured in the Tour de UK. Depending on your activity level, there are plenty of flat walking routes which allow you to take in beautiful rivers and canals, as well.