Greater Manchester Walks
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Greater Manchester Walk Map
|Ashton Canal||6 miles (9.5 km)||Enjoy a waterside walk or cycle along this 6 mile long canal in Manchester. The canal runs from central Manchester to Ancoats, Bradford-with-Beswick, Clayton, Openshaw, Droylsden, Fairfield and Audenshaw before finishing at Ashton-under-Lyne where it meets the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Walkers and cyclists can enjoy the whole route along the towpath. National Cycle Network Route 60 runs along the first section of the canal and a local cycle route takes you the rest of the way. Along the way you'll pass 18 locks, Manchester City Football Stadium, Manchester Velodrome and Philips Park. You can take short detours from the canal to visit some nearby attractions too. For example at Audenshaw you could head just south of the canal and visit Debdale Park and enjoy a walk around Gorton Reservoir. At the velodrome you can take a short trip north of the canal and visit Clayton Vale where there is a nature reserve with miles of walking trails and some great mountain bike trails.|
To extend your walk you can continue along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Ashton-under-Lyne. The canal leaves Manchester and heads into the lovely countryside of the Peak District and Pennine Hills before finishing at Huddersfield.
|Blackleach Country Park||1 miles (2 km)||This country park in Walkden has nice footpaths to follow around the lake and through woodland. It's a nice peaceful place to visit with lots of birdlife to look out for on the lake. These include Herons, Tufted Ducks, Goosander, Water Rail, Coots and Moorhen. There's a car park and visitor centre where you can pick up the lakeside trail. You can also come by public transport as Walkden train station is only about a mile away.|
This route is designed for walkers but a cycle route runs through the northern end of the park. National Cycle Network Route 55 also runs close to the park. You could follow it from the centre of Manchester, through Salford and Roe Green to Walkden.
If you feel like extending your walking in the area then you could head to the nearby Moses Gate Country Park. It's only a couple of miles to the north and covers 750 acres with a number of nice cycling and walking trails. The site is located on the outskirts of Bolton and includes three lakes while the Rivers Croal and Irwell also run through the park.
Also nearby is Clifton Country Park. Located alongside the River Irwell the park contains walking and cycling trails with features including a pretty lake, woodland, meadows and an arboretum.
|Blackstone Edge||2 miles (4 km)||Climb to this gritstone escarpment in the Pennine Hills and enjoy wonderful views over Greater Manchester and Yorkshire. The high point stands at 1,549 feet (472 m) with Manchester city centre, Winter Hill and the mountains of north Wales visible on a clear day.|
You can start your walk from the car park near Blackstone Edge Reservoir. From here you can pick up the Pennine Way and follow it to the summit. If you continue south along the path it will take you to Rock Stones Hill and Green Hole Hill. Heading north will take you to White Holme Reservoir, Warland Reservoir, Langfield Common and Withens Clough Reservoir.
If you prefer you could start the walk from Hollingworth Lake in Littleborough. There are footpaths across the moors to Blackstone Edge from the town.
|Bollin Valley Way||25 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 Footpath||50 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 Way||38 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 Park||2 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 Estate||2 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 Walk||98 miles (158 km)||This nice easy walk follows six historic canals through Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Staffordshire. |
The canal towpaths you will follow include:
The videos below show the sections along the Rochdale canal in Manchester and along the Peak Forest Canal at Marple.
|Chorlton Water Park||1 miles (1.5 km)||Enjoy a walk or cycle around this large lake and nature reserve in Manchester. The well maintained trail runs for about a mile around the water. It's a nice easy cycle ride for families or an easy stroll. Look out for lots of birdlife on the water such as kingfisher, herons, geese and ducks. Facilties include a car parking area at the end of Maitland Avenue, toilets and an ice cream van in the summer months.|
The park is located right next to the River Mersey so you can continue your exercise along the river. National Cycle Network Route 62 runs through the park and continues along the Trans Pennine Trail to the nearby Sale Water Park.
Also nearby is the lovely Wythenshawe Park. It's only about a mile south of Chorlton and has miles of walking trails with wildflower meadows, pretty gardens, herbaceous borders, woodland and grassland.
|Clayton Vale||1 miles (2 km)||This large park and nature reserve in Manchester has miles of walking paths and some great mountain bike trails to try. You can start off at the National Cycling Centre in Philips park just to the east of Manchester city centre. From here you can pick up the mountain bike trails through Clayton Vale. There's 12km of colour coded trails for all abilities. The red easy trail is a great one for families with gentle, rollable, rideable features. At the other end of the scale is the black graded ride which is for expert mountain bikers. It has rocky sections and is tight, twisty and very challenging. In the middle the red trail includes rock slabs and gnarly rock gardens.|
Regional Cycle Route 86 also runs through the reserve. It's a nice ride along the River Medlock. This is the route shown below but you can see all the other trails on the Open Street Map link below.
The reserve is also great for walkers with the Medlock Valley Way passing through. In the reserve you can enjoy riverside paths, woodland trails, ponds and a variety of wildlife.
To extend your outing you could continue east along this long distance path and visit Medlock Vale, Medlock Hall and Daisy Nook Country Park. The Ashton Canal also passes by the National Cycling Centre. You can pick this up and head to Ashton-under-Lyne.
|Clifton Country Park||3 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.|
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could head to Blackleach Country Park. Here you'll find a nice walking trail along a pretty lake with lots of birdlife to look out for.
Also nearby is Moses Gate Country Park. The park covers 750 acres with a number of nice cycling and walking trails to try. The site is located on the outskirts of Bolton and includes three lakes while the Rivers Croal and Irwell also run through the park.
Additionally, the Outwood Trail runs past the park along a disused railway line.
|Cown Edge Way||17 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 Circuit||11 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 Park||1 miles (2 km)||Enjoy waterways, a lake, a canal, woodlands and wildflower meadows in this lovely country park in the Medlock Valley. The park is great for wildlife with great-spotted woodpeckers, owls, foxes and squirrels to look out for. The main highlights in the park are Crime Lake and the Hollinwood Branch Canal. There's also good facilities with a nice cafe and car park. |
The Medlock Valley Way long distance path runs through the park so it's easy to extend your outing. If you head west along the path you will soon come to Clayton Vale. Here you can enjoy a walk along the River Medlock or try one of the great mountain bike trails devised by the National Cycling Centre.
|Debdale Park||3 miles (4.5 km)||This 130 acre park includes waterside cycling and walking trails around Lower Gorton Reservoir. The park is the start point for the traffic free Fallowfield Loop cycle route which runs along the National Cycle Network to Chorlton.|
|Dunham Massey||3 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.|
|Elton Reservoir||2 miles (2.5 km)||Enjoy an easy circular walk around this pretty reservoir in Bury. It's a nice path with good views across the water where you'll often see little sailboats. The reservoir is also surrounded by some nice rolling countryside and woodland. |
You can continue to Withins Reservoir and Black Lane to extend the walk. The Irwell Sculpture Trail passes the reservoir along the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal so this is another good option.
Cyclists can reach the reservoir by following National Cycle Network Route 6 from Bury or Radcliffe, where you can pick up the Outwood Trail through Outwood Country Park.
|Etherow Country Park||4 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 Way||14 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 toEtherow 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.
|Fletcher Moss Park||1 miles (1 km)||Fletcher Moss is a beautiful botanical garden located in Didsbury, Manchester. The gardens contain a wide range of ornamental trees and shrubs, including Chusan palms, tulip trees, mulberry, dawn redwood and various dwarf conifers. There are also pretty rock gardens, little waterfalls and ponds. The gardens attract a wide variety of birdlife so you can sit enjoy the birdsong for a while. A short walk from Fletcher Moss takes you to the adjacent Parsonage gardens where you will find several large yew trees and pretty flower beds. |
The Trans Pennine Trail runs past the park so you could pick this up and enjoy a walk along the River Mersey. Stenner Woods nature reserve is also right next to the park so this is another good option if you'd like to extend your walk.
|Glazebrook Trail||10 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 Way||10 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. The final section through New Mills passes the wonderful Torrs Riverside Park and Millennium Way, a beautiful river gorge with a fabulous 160 metre long walkway elevated over the water.
|Greenbooth Reservoir||2 miles (3 km)||Enjoy a circular walk around Greenboth Reservoir and the Naden Reservoirs on this route in the Rochdale area of Greater Manchester. It's a lovely, peaceful area with nice views towards Manchester and the nearby Scout Moor Wind Farm. With four reservoirs to walk to and great views of the surrounding moorland scenery there's plenty to see in the area. |
The Rochdale Way passes the reservoirs so you could pick this up and head west across Knowl Moor to Knowl Hill to extend your walk. You could then descend to Ashworth Moor and Ashworth Reservoir. If you head east you can visit Spring Mill Reservoir and the town of Whitworth. Near here is Watergrove Reservoir where you can pick up the waterside trail and enjoy views of the surrounding attractive moorland with great views across Manchester to the Cheshire plain.
|Haigh Hall Country Park||2 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.
|Hartside Pike||2 miles (3.5 km)||Climb this hill in Greater Manchester for great views over Ashton-under-Lyne, Mossley and Oldham. At the summit you will find the 19th century Hartshead Pike Tower, a Grade II Listed building. From the 267 m (876 ft) summit you can enjoy views over the Pennines. |
The walk starts near Mossley train station and climbs past Luzley Brows and Luzley Hall to Mossley Cross. You continue to Hartside Pike before descending back to the town via Broad Carr.
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could pick up the Oldham Way which runs past Hartside Pike. You could also pick up the Tame Valley Way and enjoy a walk along the River Tame through Mossley. You can also pick up the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and head across the Pennines and the Peak District towards Huddersfield.
|Healey Dell||2 miles (3 km)||This lovely little nature reserve in Whitworth has lots of nice footpaths to follow through a densley wooded valley. You can enjoy the rushing water of the River Spodden with pretty waterfalls and lots of wildlife to look out for. There's also water mills, picnic areas and the impressive 1867 Healey Dell Viaduct. The reserve has good facilities with a visitor centre providing lots of helpful information and a nice cafe. |
The reserve is in a great location for extending your walking in the area as there are number of waymarked footpaths to pick up. If you head west you can climb to Hunger Hill and Forsyth Brow before coming to Greenbooth Reservoir. The Rochdale Way and Pennine Bridleway pass the reserve so you can follow these paths across the surrounding Pennine Moors.
|Heaton Park||3 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 Park||2 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 Lake||2 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. The Rochdale Canal also passes near the lake so you could continue your waterside exercise along the towpath.
If you head south from the lake you will soon come to the lovely Ogden Reservoir and Piethorne Reservoir. There's a nice circular trail around the reservoirs with great views over the Piethorne Valley.
|Irwell Sculpture Trail||30 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 some lovely riverside country parks including Clifton Country Park and Burrs Country Park. You also pass Outwood Country Park where you can pick up the Outwood Trail. Another route highlight is a nice stretch along the Bury Canal where you'll pass the pretty Elton Reservoir.
The trail also visits a series of art galleries and museums including the Lowry and the East Lancashire Railway.
|Jumbles Country Park||2 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 Trail||10 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.
|Leeds and Liverpool Canal||126 miles (203 km)||Enjoy waterside cycling and walking along Britain's longest single canal. It runs for 126 miles across the Pennines, passing many villages, towns and cities with a fascinating heritage and industrial history. There are also umpteen pretty locks, viaducts and some wonderful countryside to enjoy. |
Walkers can enjoy the whole route from Leeds to Liverpool, while there are several sections for cyclists too. If you are on a bike then you can follow Sustrans National Cycle Route 66 from the start at Leeds to just outside Silsden. There's another Sustrans section around Barnoldswick and from Nelson to Burnley in Lancashire. The section from Chorley to Adlington is also open to cyclists.
Highlights on the route include the impressive 5 rise locks at Bingley, Wigan Pier and the lovely Foulridge Reservoir in Colne. Near Burscough you'll pass the wonderful Martin Mere Nature Reserve where you can look out for otters, flamingos, beavers and thousands of water loving birds. You can also link up with the Rufford Branch of the canal and head to Rufford Hall.
|Macclesfield to Marple - Middlewood Way||11 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 Way||12 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. The reserve is home to a number of excellent mountain bike trails run by the National Cycling Centre.
The route continues 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 Park||3 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.
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could head a couple of miles south and visit Blackleach Country Park. Here you'll find a nice walking trail along a pretty lake with lots of birdlife to look out for.
Also nearby is Clifton Country Park. Located alongside the River Irwell the park contains walking and cycling trails with features including a pretty lake, woodland, meadows and an arboretum.
|North Cheshire Way||70 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:
|Ogden Reservoir and Piethorne Reservoir||3 miles (5 km)||Explore this area of the Piethorne Valley on this circular walk in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, Greater Manchester. There's a nice walking trail taking you around Ogden Reservoir, Kitcliffe Reservoir and Piethorne Reservoir. You'll climb above the reservoirs and enjoy wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. There's also waterfalls, woodland and lots of wildlife to look out for on the way.|
The Rochdale Way and the Pennine Bridleway both pass the reservoirs so you can pick up these trails to further explore the Piethorne Valley. If you head north you will pass Tunshill Hill, Dick Hill, the Longden End Brook and Rakewood before coming to the lovely Hollingworth Lake. The large lake has a nice waterside footpath and a nature reserve with lots of birdlife to look out for.
Ogden and Piethorne Reservoirs are located near Newhey and Oldham.
|Outwood Trail||4 miles (7 km)||This cycling and walking trail runs along a disused railway line from Radcliffe to Prestwich. The route starts in Outwood Country Park in Radcliffe, next to the River Irwell. You then follow the surfaced path through Giant's Seat Wood and Hurst Wood passing Clifton Country Park on the way. You can continue along the traffic free path on National Cycle Network Route 6 through Prestwich Forest Park to Pendlebury. It's an easy, traffic free ride through pleasant woodland and parkland.|
To extend your outing you could visit Clifton Country Park. The park contains a pretty lake, woodland, meadows and an arboretum.
The Irwell Sculpture Trail also runs past the park so this is another good option.
|Pennington Flash Country Park||4 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 Park||3 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 Park||2 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 Canal||33 miles (53 km)||Follow the Rochdale canal from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge on this waterside route through Greater Manchester and Yorkshire. It starts in the city centre of Manchester and runs for about 33 miles through the Pennine Hills. The canal is an excellent way to see the Pennines without too much effort as the towpath is largely flat.|
You start off in Manchester just to the north of Piccadilly train station at the Castlefield Basin. The canal then heads to Rochdale passing through Failsworth and Chadderton on the way. Near Rochdale you will pass the lovely Hollingworth Lake which is worth a small detour.
The route continues through Littleborough to Todmorden where there is the opportunity to visit Stoodley Pike. The challenging climb to the monument gives gives great views over the surrounding area.
The next section runs from Todmorden to Hebden Bridge giving wonderful views of Calderdale and the Pennine Hills. If you have time you could visit the wonderful Hardcastle Crags just north of Hebden Bridge. Here you will find streams, beautiful waterfalls and the fantastic Gibson Mill.
The final stretch runs from Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge passing the pretty village of Mytholmroyd. The canal then joins the Calder and Hebble Navigation Canal which is also great for a walk or cycle. You can continue along the towpath to nearby Brighouse to extend your exercise.
The canal is excellent for cycling with National Cycle Network Route 66 running along the towpath for most of the way.
|Rochdale Way||45 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 Country Park, Queens Park and the Ogden and Piethorne Reservoirs in the Piethorne Valley. There are several challenging climbs but with the reward of splendid views of the area.|
|Rossendale Way||41 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 Park||2 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 Park||4 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 Way||23 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 isReddish Vale Country Park, which sits right on the River Tame.|
|Tandle Hill Country Park||2 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 Trail||215 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.|
|Watergrove Reservoir||2 miles (3 km)||Enjoy a circular walk around this pretty reservoir near Wardle. There's a car park at the southern end of the water on Ramsden Road where you can pick up the footpath around the water. The reservoir is surrounded by attractive moorland with great views across Manchester to the Cheshire plain. |
Watergrove is great for wildlife watching with birds such as Common Sandpiper and Curlew to look out for. There's also mammals such as Fox, Stoat and Weasel. In the summer there are lots of wildflowers such as Marsh Orchid, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Tormentil, Harebell and Sneezewort. These attract a wide variety of butterflies to the area.
The Weighver's Way and the Pennine Bridleway run past the reservoir so you could pick up these long distance paths to extend your walk. If you head west you can climb to Brown Wardle Hill for more great views over the Pennines. The hills stands at 400m (1,312 ft) making it one of the highest points in Rochdale and Greater Manchester. Just beyond the hill is the town of Whitworth and Cowm Reservoir. Greenbooth Reservoir is also nearby and well worth a visit. If you head east from Watergrove Reservoir you can climb to Dobbin Hill and Stansfield Hill.
|Weighver's Way||9 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 Park||2 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.
|Wythenshawe Park||2 miles (2.5 km)||Enjoy walking and cycling in this large park in Manchester. The park has miles of nice walking trails while National Cycle Network Route 85 also runs through it. The park covers 260 acres (109 hectares) and includes wildflower meadows, pretty gardens, herbaceous borders, woodland and grassland. You can also enjoy a waterside stroll along the Baguley Brook and visit the community farm. Here you'll find cows, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, horses and all the elements of a working countryside farm in an urban setting.|
The extensive parkland surrounds the 16th-century medieval house of Wythenshawe Hall. The timber-framed manor house was home to the Tatton family for over 600 years.
To extend your exercise you could head through Northenden and pick up the Trans Pennine Trail along the River Mersey. Also nearby is Chorlton Water Park where there are more nice walking and cycling trails around a large lake. Just beyond there is Sale Water Park which is also well worth a visit.