Moderate, Multi-stage

GM Ringway Stage 1 Manchester – Sale Water Park

Manchester, Trafford

6.6 miles long

Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall © Dr Andrew Read

Castlefield, Manchester

Castlefield, Manchester © Dr Andrew Read

A spider's web in Longford Park

A spider's web in Longford Park © Dr Andrew Read

Bluebells near Hawthorn Lane

Bluebells near Hawthorn Lane © Dr Andrew Read

Jackson's Bridge between Chorlton and Sale

Jackson's Bridge between Chorlton and Sale © Dr Andrew Read

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This is one of the 20 stages of the GM Ringway – the new walking trail for Greater Manchester.

Stage 1 uses towpaths, walkways, parkland and the Trans Pennine Trail to trace a largely traffic-free and tranquil route from the city centre to the verdant Mersey Valley.

Highlights include:
– The towpaths of the historic Rochdale and Bridgewater Canals
Castlefield‘s industrial and transport-related heritage
– Iconic sports grounds at Old Trafford
Longford Park, with its petting zoo, cafe and play areas
– The paths and lanes of Turn Moss and the Mersey Valley greenbelt.

The route can followed, downloaded or printed using the Viewranger app or website (registration needed) or the mobile-friendly Plotaroute site. To use Plotaroute on your phone’s browser, simply click the map. Then, when you’re ready to start walking, click the tracker icon (bottom right) to show your position as you follow the route. We recommend carrying an additional power source and/or map when following online routes on your phone.

Note that on match days at Old Trafford, you will need to follow a diversion as indicated on the Plotaroute map.

Accessibility and facilities

Most of the paths are very well-made and level, though there are steps when you leave the Bridgewater Canal, some short slopes along the canal, and a brief potentially muddy section in Turn Moss. Because of these factors, the complete walk is not wheelchair or pushchair-friendly. However, we have included a shorter step-free variant, between Old Trafford to Stretford Metrolink stations. We hope to identify and map more accessible sections of the GM Ringway when funding allows.

Public toilets including accessible facilities are available in the Town Hall Extension (closed at the time of writing) and in the Central Library (Monday to Saturday) near the start, at the cafe in Longford Park and at the end in Sale Water Park. The many refreshment opportunities are marked on the Plotaroute map.

How to get there

All stages of the GM Ringway can be accessed by public transport. This stage begins at St Peter’s Square Metrolink station and there are several bus and train services nearby. The stage finishes at Sale Water Park Metrolink. From there, walkers with dogs can use bus services from either Sale or Chorlton to return to Manchester or elsewhere as shown on the Plotaroute map.

To work out how to get to and from the walk start and end points, click the Google Maps links on this page. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your postcode or location in the relevant field. Then, for public transport options, click the train icon. Alternatively, input the postcodes shown on this page into the Traveline journey planner.

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