Walking Routes in Greater Manchester

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 Greater Manchester Walks
Route NamePicDistanceDescription
Bollin Valley Way25 miles (40 km)Follow the River Bollin from Macclesfield to Partington on this delightful waterside walk through Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
The walk starts at the Macclesfield Riverside Park and follows the river through Prestbury, Wilmslow, Hale and Bowdon to Partington on the Manchester Ship Canal.
On the route you will pass the 18th century Grade II listed Mottram Hall and National Trust owned Dunham Massey Hall. This Georgian House is set in a magnificent 121-hectare (300-acre) deer park and boasts Britain's largest winter garden.
As well as the River Bollin there are also views of the Bridgwater Canal and a short final section along the Manchester Ship Canal into Partington.
Bolton Rotary Way Footpath50 miles (80 km)Enjoy industrial heritage, reservoirs, historic estates, memorials and country parks on this circular walk around Bolton. The walk visits Adlington, West Houghton, Blackrod and Farnworth. Walk highlights include Jumbles and Rivington Reservoirs, Blackleath Country Park and a waterside stretch along the Leeds & Liverpool canal.
Bridgewater Way38 miles (61 km)A walk along the Bridgewater canal, through Cheshire, Greater Manchester and on into Lancashire. The route passes Salford, Trafford, Manchester, Warrington and Halton.
When complete the Bridgewater Way will also be open to cyclists.
Burrs Country Park2 miles (3 km)This walk takes you around the pretty Burrs Country Park, situated on the River Irwell just north of Bury. Habitats include woodland, open space, wetland, ponds and waterway. Facilites include a visitor centre and a cafe. The Irwell Sculpture Trail runs through the park so you could continue your walk along the River Irwell.
Chadkirk Country Estate2 miles (3 km)This pretty country park is located on the River Goyt near Marple. The estate includes a 60 acre farm, an old orchard, woodland and a 16th century chapel with an audio visual presentation on the history of the site. The Etherow Goyt Valley Way runs through the park so you can continue your walk through the beautiful Goyt Valley on this trail.
Cheshire Ring Canal Walk98 miles (158 km)This nice easy walk follows six historic canals through Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Staffordshire.
The canal towpaths you will follow include:
  • Trent and Mersey Canal - Kidsgrove to Preston Brook
  • Bridgewater Canal - Preston Brook to Castlefield
  • Rochdale Canal - Castlefield to Ducie Street
  • Ashton Canal - Ducie Street to Portland Basin
  • Peak Forest Canal - Portland Basin to Marple
  • Macclesfield Canal - Marple to Kidsgrove
The route passes through some lovely, peaceful countryside but also has some urban sections, making for a varied and interesting walk. The route is well waymarked with a blue and white disc.
The videos below show the sections along the Rochdale canal in Manchester and along the Peak Forest Canal at Marple.
Clifton Country Park3 miles (5.5 km)This country park and nature reserve is located between Bolton and Manchester in Salford. Situated on the River Irwell it contains a pretty lake, woodland, meadows and an arboretum. The Irwell Sculpture Trail walking route runs through the park where you will find two of the sculptures from the trail. A cycle trail also runs through the park so you can bring your bike.
Cown Edge Way17 miles (28 km)Visit the striking Cown Edge rocks on this walk through Greater Manchester and Derbyshire.
The path starts at Hazel Grove and heads east towards Marple where you can enjoy waterside stretches along the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals and views of the River Goyt. You then begin the ascent to Cown Edge, passing Hollywood End on the way. The path then takes you along Cown Edge Rocks and Coombe Edge Rocks where there are splendid views of the Peak District.
At Coombe Edge the route turns west towards Charlesworth before taking you over the River Etherow to Werneth Low and then onto the finish point at Gee Cross.
Crompton Circuit11 miles (18 km)This circular walk takes you around Shaw near Oldham.
The path starts at the car park at Crompton Fold and takes you to Crompton Moor, Moss Hey and High Crompton.
Daisy Nook Country Park1 miles (2 km)Enjoy waterways, a lake, a canal, woodlands and wildflower meadows in this lovely country park in the Medlock Valley.
Dunham Massey3 miles (5 km)This is a splendid circular walk around the impressive grounds of Dunham Massey Hall, in Altrincham, Greater Manchester. You will pass through the magnificent deer park with its 17th century mill and the tranquil Island and Smithy pools. There is also the spectacular new Rose Garden and the Georgian Dunham Massey Hall to explore.
Etherow Country Park4 miles (6 km)Enjoy a stroll along the River Etherow and around the large reservoir in this pretty country park near Marple and Stockport. The park also includes a mill pond, woodland and the 32 acre Compstall Nature Reserve.
The Etherow Goyt Valley Way and the Goyt Way walking routes run through the park so there is scope for continuing your walk on these trails.
Etherow Goyt Valley Way14 miles (22 km)This walk runs from Stockport to Hadfield along the Rivers Goyt and Etherow.
The path starts in Vernon Park on the River Goyt in Stockport and follows the river to Etherow Country Park near Marple. This is a lovely section with a reservoir, woodland and a variety of wildlife to enjoy. The walk then joins the River Etherow following it to Broadbottom and then onto Bottoms Reservoir in Hadfield.
There is a challenging climb near Broadbottom on this route but with fantastic views over the surrounding area.
Glazebrook Trail10 miles (16 km)This easy trail follows Glaze Brook from Pennington to Cadishead.
The trail starts in the lovely Pennington Flash Country Park in Leigh. This nature reserve has a 173 acre lake and is home to a variety of birdlife. You then follow Glaze Brook and Pennington Brook south to Glazebury and then onto Cadishead on the Manchester Ship Canal.
Goyt Way10 miles (16 km)Follow the Goyt Way along the Peak Forest Canal and the River Goyt on this lovely waterside walk through Greater Manchester and Derbyshire.
The walk starts by Etherow Country Park Lake in Compstall and heads south through Marple and New Mills to Whaley Bridge. The first section through Marple follows the towpath of the Peak Forest Canal, passing pretty locks on the way. You then join the River Goyt to New Mills before picking up the Canal again near Whaley Bridge where the route finishes.
Haigh Hall Country Park2 miles (3.5 km)Enjoy a walk around this large country park near Wigan. The walk includes a stretch along the Leeds - Liverpool canal and through peaceful woodland.
There's 250 acres to explore with magnificent views across the Douglas Valley to the Welsh Hills. There is also a miniature steam railway track around the grounds.
Heaton Park3 miles (5 km)Enjoying cycling and walking in this huge park in Prestwich, Manchester. It is the largest park in Manchester and the largest municipal park in Europe, covering an area of over 600 acres.  Attractions in the park include the 18th century Heaton Hall, an 18-hole golf course with driving range, a boating lake, an animal farm, woodlands, ornamental gardens, an observatory and a tram system.
Highfield Country Park2 miles (3 km)This 70 acre park is also a local nature reserve with a number of country walks and a cycle track. It is located in Levenshulme in Manchester - a short walk from the train station.
The park has peaceful woodland paths and a variety of plantlife and birdlife.
Hollingworth Lake2 miles (3 km)Enjoy a lovely walk around this 130 acre reservoir in Littleborough. There is some beautiful scenery surrounding the lake and a nature reserve with a bird hide. You can also try kayaking and windsurfing on the lake with equipment available for hire.
The Rochdale Way walking route passes through the park so there is scope for continuing your walk
Irwell Sculpture Trail30 miles (48 km)Follow the River Irwell on this splendid waterside walk through Greater Manchester and enjoy over 70 artworks by renowned artists.
The walk starts at Salford Quays and follows the trail north through Bury and Ramsbottom towards Bacup. The walk visits riverside parks including Clifton Country Park and Burrs Country Park, and also includes a stretch along the Bury Canal.
The trail also visits a series of art galleries and museums including the Lowry and the East Lancashire Railway.
Jumbles Country Park2 miles (3 km)Enjoy a short stroll around Jumbles Reservoir in this pretty country park in Bolton. The park is set within the beautiful West Pennine Moors with a lovely waterside footpath around the reservoir. There are also good facilities with a visitor centre and cafe.
The park is located just a couple of miles north east of Bolton city centre, near to the Lancashire village of Chapeltown. If you have time you could continue your walk along the Witton Weavers Way to the nearby Wayoh Reservoir and Nature Reserve.
Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail10 miles (16 km)This walk follows various brooks from Cheadle to Disley via Hazel Grove.
You start off at Abney Hall Park in Cheadle. The park has lovely grounds and the interesting Abney Hall built in 1847 and makes for a fine start point. From here you follow the Micker Brook to the grand Brammall Hall. Bramall Hall is one of Cheshire's grandest black and white timber-framed Tudor manor houses and also has 70 acres of beautiful parkland. The trail then joins the Lady Brook, following it to Poynton Park in Hazel Grove where you will walk alongside the attractive Poynton Lake. The final section takes you along Norbury Brook to Middlewood, before crossing the Macclesfield Canal and finishing at Disley.
Macclesfield to Marple - Middlewood Way11 miles (18 km)Follow the Middlewood Way - a lovely off road cycle and walking path running from Macclesfield to Marple and passing by the Macclesfield Canal.
Medlock Valley Way12 miles (20 km)Follow the Medlock Valley Way from Manchester City Centre to Bishop Park near Oldham on foot or take your bike for the first section to Clayton Vale.
You start off near Piccadilly station and head east along the River Medlock, passing Manchester City Football Stadium and Phillips Park before entering a lovely section of parkland and woodland through Clayton Vale. You continue past Droylsden and the pretty Daisy Nook Country Park with the final section taking you through Strines Dale to Bishop Park.
This is a lovely, fairly easy waterside walk that takes you through some attractive parkland and woodland. There are also some splendid views of the surrounding countryside during the final ascents at Strines Dale and Bishop park.
NB.The first part of the trail to Clayton Vale is open to cyclists forming part of regional route 86. Please click here for a pdf description and map.
Moses Gate Country Park3 miles (5 km)This large country park in Bolton covers 750 acres and includes a number of splendid cycling and walking trails. The River Croal and River Irwell run through the park and there are 3 pretty lakes, so there is some lovely waterside walking and cycling to enjoy. The park is excellent for bird watching with a bird hide next to one of the lakes.
Facilities in the park include a visitor centre and some excellent play areas for children. The park is located just a few miles south of Bolton next to Moses Gate train station.
North Cheshire Way70 miles (113 km)Starting at Hooton Station, near Ellesmere Port, follow the North Cheshire Way through Frodsham, Northwich, Knutsford and Wilmslow to the finish point at Disley. Highlights on the walk include:
  • A long riverside section along the River Weaver from Frodsham to Northwich.
  • Tatton Park, near Knutsford. This historical estate contains a mansion, Tatton Hall, a manor house dating from medieval times, Tatton Old Hall, gardens, a farm and a deer park of 2,000 acres.
  • A section alongside Manchester Airport near Wilmslow.
  • Following the River Bollin through the delightful Styal Country Park in Wilmslow
  • The wonderful Lyme Park (video below) with its mansion house and Medieval deer park. This can be found near Disley towards the end of the route
  • Canalside sections along the Shropshire Union Canal and the Maccesfield Canal
The walk is waymarked with a yellow arrow on a black disc.
Pennington Flash Country Park4 miles (6 km)This 490 acre park is located in Leigh, Greater Manchester. The main feature is the 170 acre lake which is now a nature reserve with a number of bird hides. Over 200 bird species have been spotted at the park such as Black-faced Bunting, Nightingale, Marsh Harrier, Spoonbill and Leach's Storm-petre. The park has a number of well maintained paths suitable for cyclists or walkers.
Facilities include an information centre, mobile cafe and nine hole golf course. The Bridgwater Canal also passes through the park so you can continue your walk/cycle along the towpath if you have time.
Prestwich Forest Park3 miles (5 km)Enjoy a peaceful walk or cycle in this pretty country park in Bury. The park covers an area of approximately 500 acres and includes some lovely woodland trails and a waterside path along the River Irwell.
Prestwich Forest is located on the Irwell Sculpture Trail and right next to Clifton Country Park so there is scope for continuing your outing if you have time. Philips Park is located at the western end of Prestwich Forest and contains an excellent mountain bike track - see video below for details.
Reddish Vale Country Park2 miles (3 km)This 400 acre park lies just a couple of miles north of Stockport in the Tame Valley. The park contains a Visitor Centre, Community Orchard and Garden, Butterfly Conservation Field and a Dipping Pond. There are also peaceful woodland walks, a waterside path along the River Tame and two reservoirs which attract plenty of wildlife.
Both the Trans Pennine Trail and the Midshires Way run through the park. You can follow both these trails on towards Stockport either on a bike or on foot. The park is conveniently located a short distance from Reddish South and Brinnington railway stations.
Rochdale Way45 miles (72 km)A fabulous circular walk around Rochdale which visits a series of lovely reservoirs and includes a section along the River Roch. The walk visits Blackstone Edge, Healey Dell, Knowl Hill, Tandle Hill, Queens Park and the Piethorne Valley. There are several challenging climbs but with the reward of splendid views of the area.
Rossendale Way41 miles (66 km)This circular walk takes you on a tour of the lovely Rossendale area of Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
The path passes Haslingden, Whitworth, Stubbins and Healey with a series of attractive reservoirs including Cowpe and Calf Hey real highlights. The walk also takes you through the delightful Healey Dell Nature Reserve with waterfalls and wildlife to enjoy here. The views of the South Pennine hills are also splendid and make a fine backdrop to the walk.
Smithills Country Park2 miles (3.5 km)Enjoy 2000 acres of cycling and walking trails in this large country park in Bolton. The parkland surrounds the Grade 1-listed Smithills Hall with a history dating back to the 14th century. Smithills includes lakes, woodland, farmland and moorland with superb views of the West Pennine Moors.
Stalybridge Country Park4 miles (7 km)This country park contains several large reservoirs and some beautiful open moorland. It is ideal for walking and cycling with the super Pennine Bridleway and the Tame Valley Way both passing through the park. You can stay in the lower part of the Brushes Valley and around Carrbrook for flatter, well surfaced paths or climb to Wild Bank where there are fabulous views of the Pennine Moors. The waterside stretch along Walkerwood, Brushes and Swineshaw reservoirs is particularly lovely. The park is located a couple of miles east of the centre of Stalybridge.
Tame Valley Way23 miles (37 km)Follow the River Tame through Greater Manchester from Stockport to Denshaw on this waterside walk. The trail passes through Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge and Mossley and includes woodland sections as well as the extended sections along the River Tame and Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Also of interest is Reddish Vale Country Park, which sits right on the River Tame.
Tandle Hill Country Park2 miles (3 km)Explore 110 acres of beech woodland and open grassland in this country park in Royton. At the highest point in the park there is a war memorial commemorating the men of Royton who died during the First World War. There are also views across the Manchester Plain and the Pennine Hills. Facilities include a cafe and a Countryside Centre with leaflets and information displays on the local area, wildlife and countryside.
There are two way-marked walking trails in the park. The green trail follows well surfaced paths and is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The blue trail is more hilly and not suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The Thornham cycle trail also passes through the park and offers a nice ride on well layed out paths. You could also continue your walk along the Rochdale Way which runs through Tandle Hill.
Trans Pennine Trail215 miles (346 km)This terrific walking and cycling trail runs from coast to coast across northern England entirely on surfaced paths. It starts on the Yorkshire coast at Hornsea and passes through Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester before finishing on the Merseyside coast at Southport.
Weighver's Way9 miles (14 km)This is a terrific, challenging walk from Littleborough to Catley Lane Head, Rochdale.
The path begins at the lovely Hollingworth Lake and heads through Littleborough along the Rochdale Canal. The next section climbs to the beautiful Watergrove Reservoir which is a lovely place to stop for a picnic. You then pass Whitworth on your way to the splendid Healey Dell Nature Reserve. This attractive reserve sits in the Spodden Valley and right on the route. It is a real trail highlight with water mills, wildlife, picnic areas and the 1867 Healey Dell Viaduct. Shortly after the route finishes at Catley Lane Head.
Werneth Low Country Park2 miles (4 km)Enjoy fantastic views across Manchester and the Pennine Hills in this 200 acre country park.  On a clear day the hills of North Wales are also visible beyond the Cheshire plain. In the park there are well surfaced footpaths and bridleways suitable for mountain biking.
The Cown Edge Way and the Trans Pennine Trail both run through the park so there is scope for continuing your walk/cycle. The park is located just 9 miles from Manchester city centre.




 Greater Manchester Walking Links
NameDescription
Manchester CCWalking and cycling information for the area
Manchester University TravelInformation on walking and cycling for students
Visit ManchesterList of trails and tours in the area

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