Activities and information About Astbury Mere Country Park
The Country Park is the venue for Cheshire’s first parkrun which is held every Saturday morning at 9am. You can find out more about this weekly 5km timed run by visiting the parkrun website.
Educational visits are welcome and field studies educational equipment can be borrowed from the Ranger. Please contact us for details.
The park is a great place for a quiet stroll and there are two, mile long routes, to choose from (Lakeside Path or Explorer Trail) whilst a short road crossing takes you into some attractive countryside between the park, Astbury village and Macclesfield Canal with Mow Cop and Congleton Edge destinations for those who wish to venture further.
For walks in the local countryside around the Country Park please download the 'Walks and Wildlife - South of Congleton' leaflet (PDF, 3.9MB)
More information about the local footpaths in the area can be found on the Public Rights of the Way section of this website. OS Explorer Map 268 Wilmslow, Macclesfield and Congleton is an advisable companion when venturing beyond the park.
Dogs are welcome in the Country Park. We ask that owners follow the Dog Walkers Code of Conduct (PDF, 90KB). Regular dog training classes are held in the park. For more information please visit Vic Barlow's Dog Training website.
Visitor Centre and bookable meeting room
The Visitor Centre contains information about the park, local countryside, community activities, events and tourist information. The Visitor Centre (with access to basic kitchen facilities) can be hired for private and community use.
Prices start at £17.50 per session. For Visitor Centre booking please contact the Ranger.
A beginners permanent orienteering course is installed in the park.
Maps are free and are available via post, or the park office (please note that the office is not permanently staffed).
The park contains Congleton’s only community orchard which was created with help from local residents, Congleton Sustainability Group and Congleton based EcoLearning. More recent additions to the the orchard were funded by the Congleton Partnership.
The orchard was originally planted by local school children who celebrated the launch by acting out ‘The Tale of the Orchard’, a story written especially for the site by local author Louise Renn.
Operations within the park are guided by the Trust’s Environmental policy (PDF, 26KB) and Green Procurement Policy (PDF, 28KB). The park is registered with the Keep Britain Tidy Group as an Eco Centre.
Astbury Mere Country Park is Cheshire's only accredited Eco Centre.
History of Astbury Mere Country Park
By 1984 quarrying operations at the Congleton West Heath sand quarry had ceased. For over half a century local residents had lived with a major industry on their doorstep; now they hoped for a quieter, more appropriate use of the site within this predominantly residential area of the Town. Nature was slowly but surely reclaiming the area and the whole site was rapidly becoming a valued local amenity.
Instead, residents were faced with proposals for the construction of a major industrial complex on the site. An Action Group representative of local people was set up to fight the proposals and soon intensive negotiations began. Eventually, after years of uncertainty the landowners agreed to sub divide their estate; half the site would instead be developed for housing (now the Ennerdale Drive estate) whilst the remainder would be given over as open space: so began the creation of Congleton’s first Country Park.
However, all was not over for the Action Group. Their professionalism and dedication had impressed many and with the support of the local community they formed themselves into a Trust. On the completion of the initial development works the Trust accepted responsibility of managing, for the benefit of the people of Congleton and beyond, what then became known as Astbury Mere Country Park.
The Trust is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and was established in 1989. In 2008 it finally managed to acquire majority land ownership. For more history on the site’s development and current management please visit the Country Park website.
Original parts of the site owned by the Trust have been managed since 1991 and whilst newer acquisitions have yet to be actively managed it is the Trust’s ambition to take a holistic site approach and to protect and enhance its natural assets.
The Country Park is managed on a daily basis by the Ranger Service of Cheshire East Council.
The site forms a bowl with Astbury Mere lake as the central feature, the result of its previous use as a silica sand quarry. The landscape matrix of the site evolved through different periods of intervention from the time when it was actively quarried through major landscape restoration works to more recent habitat management works.
The woodland areas contain blocks of screening plantations and bank stabilisation plantings undertaken during its time as a quarry along with more recent landscape designed woodlands and natural regeneration. The vast majority of the tree stock is less than 40 years old.