GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

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.

Ashton Canal OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Ashton Canal Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


On the route stop at the impressively named Strawberry Duck in Clayton for some refreshments. It's a friendly pub with an open fire and a lovely beer garden next to the canal. You can find it at 76 Crabtree Lane with a postcode of M11 4GU for your sat navs.
At Portland Basin there's an excellent museum with an adjacent cafe. There's a good menu and outdoor seating where you can sit and watch the boats go by on finer days. You can even take a boat trip from here and experience the canal from a different perspective. The Portland Basin Museum is also well worth exploring if you have time. It's housed within the restored nineteenth century Ashton Canal Warehouse and combines a lively modern interior with a peaceful canal side setting. Inside you can see a series of interesting exhibitions detailing the history of Tameside's industrial heritage.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

The Manchester Cycleway passes along part of the canal. The popular cycle trail will take you to some of the local highlights, starting in Chorlton and finishing at the velodrome.


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Ashton Canal Lock #7 on the Ashton Canal from Alan Turing Way.

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Early morning view of Ashton Canal looking towards Ashton. At this time of year with the Willow trees, just turning green and mist rising from the water even an urban canal can look beautiful.

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Near Portland Basin.

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East of the Manchester to Stalybridge railway line.

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View from the bridge near the Velodrome

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View southeast along the Ashton Canal beside Guide Mill at Audenshaw, Greater Manchester. In the distance is the spire of St Stephen's parish church.

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The entrance from the Rochdale Canal to the Ashton Canal at Piccadilly Basin.

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Guide Bridge, which carries the Ashton to Stockport road across the Ashton Canal, must be one of only a few bridges to have a railway station and a district named after it!


GPS Files

GPX File

Ashton Canal.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Ashton Canal.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)