Revealing the Pleasure Grounds of the Northern Woods

Bridge in the Northern Woods at Quarry Bank in Cheshire

The Northern Woods as Pleasure Grounds

The Northern Woods at Quarry Bank, located next to the Greg’s formal garden, provided the perfect setting for all sorts of leisure activities for the Greg family including picnics, parties and lots of good old play – the ideal place for the children to have fun.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Robert Hyde Greg had constructed a network of footpaths in the woods to link Quarry Bank mill to his new family home, Norcliffe Hall. The footpaths were used by the family and also by the gardeners to deliver produce from the kitchen garden, to the house.

Six folly bridges were constructed to join the difficult landscape together including a suspension bridge which would have been great fun for the children. In 1909, to provide further amusement, Edward Hyde Greg also entertained the younger members of the family with a miniature railway along which steam trains ran from Quarry Bank House to the weir.

The Northern Woods today

Currently, the use of the woods as a ‘pleasure ground’ is no more; some of the bridges are dilapidated and dangerous; and the historic footpath network has been lost.

Over the next four years, the Quarry Bank Project will restore the Northern Woods to their former role as the family’s pleasure grounds. We aim to carry out clearance works, tree management and restore the historic pathways and folly bridges. We want to give you the chance to get involved too. There will be opportunities to volunteer with the rangers and help bring the woods back to life.

That’s not all, we would like you to enjoy the woods as the Gregs did by creating trails that tell the story of the woods and allow you to explore and discover this fantastic area of the estate. In restoring the landscape we will also be restoring a fascinating area for natural play and exploration. We will hold drop-in activities with our rangers so you and your family can have lots fun and learn about the environment too.

Our dedicated ranger team looking after Styal Village at Quarry Bank
Quarry Bank Volunteer Rangers working in Styal Village