Sunday 3 February 2013

Stockport to Manchester

Sunday 3rd February 

A walk along old railway lines and canal towpaths between Stockport and Manchester
Distance: 23km; Ascent: negligible; Overcast; with JJ & Viv

I had the opportunity to head out for a bit of a walk today and I had been planning a riverside wander from Stockport to Sale along the Trans Pennine Trail.  However an email from JJ popped into my inbox late last night inviting me along on a walk heading north from Stockport to pick up the Ashton Canal into Manchester.  I jumped at the chance of having some company on a walk and wandered down to Stockport station to meet JJ & Viv at around 10:15 this morning.

After heading through the town centre, we picked up the Trans Pennine Trail near the bottom of Lancashire Hill, and followed it alongside the River Tame to reach the southern edge of Reddish Vale Country Park.  Here we picked up an old railway line; the northern end of which was waymarked with some pretty looking mosaics.

Colourful waymarkers in Reddish Vale Country Park
Soon we reached the visitor centre and after a wander around the small reservoir we headed for an unavoidable section of road walking through Reddish, made slightly longer by a teeny-weeny navigational error, which involved following the wrong railway line for a few hundred metres!

Reservoir in Reddish Vale
After crossing the A57 we entered another park: Debdale Park, where we stopped for lunch at one of the handy picnic tables; JJ was also kind enough to provide me with a cup of coffee too :)  Our onward route took us along an unsurfaced road, that for some reason the council had installed tarmac speed bumps on, which seemed somewhat excessive given the large potholes in the road!  Soon afterwards we reached the Fairfield Moravian Settlement, which was founded in 1785 and we spent a few minutes or so wandering around this interesting place.
Postbox in Fairfield Moravian Settlement
Fairfield Moravian Settlement
We picked up the Ashton Canal, and followed its towpath westwards towards our journeys end in Manchester City Centre.  Many locks were passed before we passed the National Cycling Centre at the Manchester Velodrome.

Lock on the Ashton Canal
Manchester Velopark from the Ashton Canal
From the Velopark onwards the towpath improved, presumably due to the 2002 Commonwealth Games, although some of the canalside looked like it had been a bit neglected since then!  We continued past the City of Manchester Stadium, accompanied by the occasional tooting from the trams testing the new Metrolink link.

A renovated mill by the Ashton Canal
Old winch / crane near Piccadilly station
A variety of modern developments then followed, before the canal ended at Piccadilly Basin within a few hundred metres of the station.  Here was the parting of the ways as JJ & Viv headed off to catch a tram home, whilst I jumped on a train back to Stockport at 3:30pm after a good walk.

JJ's more prompt write-up of the same walk can be found here.

N.B. 02/06/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 03/02/13 (from 13/02/13) 


  1. You've got better photos than me!

    1. Are you sure? I thought yours were better myself! Mine were only with my phone as I'd forgotten my camera!