Easy, Leisurely

Happy Valley Local Nature Reserve


1.2 - 2.5 miles long

Happy Valley, Bramhall

Happy Valley, Bramhall © Dr Andrew Read

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Happy Valley is an ancient wooded river valley with grassy flood plains. It is a hidden natural oasis where you can have a peaceful walk and enjoy the natural heritage.

The volunteer group that cares for the nature reserve (the Friends of Ladybrook Valley) believes that the name originates from the late 1800s to early 1900s. In this period, many valleys, up and down the country, were named “Happy”. Like most of the other happy valleys, this valley was where people enjoyed happy picnics, away from their jobs in the mills or the local hall.

In 1999, Happy Valley became one of Stockport’s first Local Nature Reserves and is part of the Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail. It is a 17-hectare valley, where the Ladybrook river ripples through the steep sloping hillsides of the ancient Great Reddish Woods and continues on, meandering past grassy fields dotted with wildflowers. In Great Reddish Woods, you will see the season’s palette of colours, from spring’s fresh greens and yellows, nature’s array of summer colours, through to autumn’s hues of gold and copper and the greys and blacks of winter.

You can learn more about the wildlife of the Valley here.

There is no set route, but the map on this page shows a number of paths, the main one following along the north bank of the Lady Brook stream. You can extend your walk by continuing along the main road to the west into Bramhall Park, or follow the river further to the east.

Accessibility and facilities

According to the Friends of Ladybrook Valley, “Wheelchair users can access the Valley via the Womanscroft Bridge and Headlands Road entrances and the bridge over the Ladybrook River has ramps. Waterloo Road, Valley Road and Wallbank Road have steps. The Jacksons Lane entrance has an unmade path.” However, on recent visits we have found that many of the paths are prone to becoming very muddy and wet. For this reason, this walk is not currently graded as suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

There are no facilities en route, but shops and pubs can be found on the main road to the north and a little way to the west towards Bramhall Park.

How to get there

The main access point (the Womanscroft entrance) is just off Valley Road, off Bridge Lane (the A5143) east of Bramhall Park. There is very limited car parking here but this does lie on a number of bus routes.

To work out how to get to and from the walk start point, simply click the Google Maps link on this page. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your postcode or location in the relevant field. For public transport options, click on the train icon.

Alternatively, input the postcode(s) shown on this page into the TfGM journey planner at https://my.tfgm.com/#/planner/

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