Work has started on improving Waterdale and Drinkwater Parks in Bury, as part of a regeneration programme.
NWDA said a team from the Forestry Commission is working on former industrial land between Prestwich and Clifton "to give the area a green makeover".
The improvements to this community woodland will include leisure trails, wetland wildlife habitats and fishing ponds. The whole site, which lies between Agecroft Road and the M60 to the west of Bury Road, is equivalent to more than 78 football pitches.
Work on the trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders is due to start in December and continue until March 2010. There are also plans to create a new mountain bike track.
Over £3.8m worth of funding is being provided for the 175-acre Bury woodland over the next 20 years via the Forestry Commission and North West Development Agency partnership programme, Newlands.
The woodland forms part of the Lower Irwell Valley Improvement Area which has already received funding of £4.75m via the Newlands programme.
A number of local partners, including Groundwork Manchester, Salford and Trafford and Bury Council are also involved in the project.
Richard Topley from the Forestry Commission, who is a project manager for Newlands, said: "The project also includes a 20-year management plan so people can be confident that this new woodland will be kept in good condition."
Newlands is a £59m NWDA-funded land regeneration scheme, which is rejuvenating around 900 hectares of the region's brownfield land to encourage economic growth, while creating new opportunities for leisure and recreation.
Newlands, which stands for New Economic Environments via Woodlands, is a partnership scheme involving the NWDA and the Forestry Commission.