Greater Manchester’s brand new walking trail, the GM Ringway, takes a step forward this month with the organisers planning a test run of some of the stages in the borough of Trafford with a walking weekend. As part of the pilot, participants will get the chance to try out the app and new website for the first time.
Local people are invited to join any of five free guided walks on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July. They are invited to give feedback to help improve the experience for others as all 20 stages of the trail are rolled out over the coming months.
The guided walks include a ramble from Manchester city centre that passes Old Trafford along the beautiful Bridgewater canal, a step-free walk around Sale Water Park, a gentle ‘walk for all‘ around Longford Park with the MileShyClub, and a circular walk from Altrincham to Dunham Massey.
The Trafford GM Ringway walking weekend includes:
Saturday 15 July:
10:30am – Hosted GM Ringway scenic 7-mile walk from Manchester city centre to Sale Water Park along the city canals and waterways.
2pm – Leisurely and accessible 2.5-mile step-free walk around Sale Water Park with experienced and supportive hosts.
Sunday 16 July:
10:30am – Altrincham to Timperley History and Heritage walk; discover the history and heritage of the town, buildings and parks, and parks, exploring the industrial and technology links along the canal.
1:30pm – Gentle beginners’ 1-mile walk around leafy Longford Park, starting with a gentle warm up to improve balance, mobility and coordination.
1:30pm – Altrincham to Dunham Massey Circular walk, sampling parts of the GM Ringway and other green spaces in Trafford.
Spaces are limited and must be booked here on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Leader of Trafford Council, Councillor Tom Ross – one of the first people to walk the whole of the trail – will be joining the first of the guided walks on Saturday 15 July.
Designed around existing footpaths, parks and open-access land, the five stages (1, 18, 19 and 20) in the Trafford area form the start and the end of the trail. As well as the Bridgewater Canal, highlights include Longford Park, green spaces of the Mersey Valley, quiet pathways around Altrincham, and the National Trust’s Dunham Massey estate.
Green in every way, all 20 stages of the entire 188-mile (300km) GM Ringway are designed to be accessed by public transport. Covering all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, the trail explores an astonishing variety of landscapes, including parks, waterways and beautiful countryside.
In addition to its natural beauty, the GM Ringway also allows residents and visitors to explore Greater Manchester’s rich cultural heritage. The route passes more than 40 Grade I and II* listed buildings, 13 accredited museums, including Trafford’s Imperial War Museum, and 14 scheduled ancient monuments.
Andrew Read, GM Ringway Project Lead, said: “The trail features a number of natural sites that only locals know about. Many of these offer easy access for all, with step-free routes that allow visitors to take in the surroundings whatever their access needs may be.
“We’re very excited about testing the app and new website, and keen to get feedback from participants so we can further improve the stages and enable more people to enjoy the GM Ringway. The Trafford weekend will also help us in our plans to introduce signage, which will help less experienced walkers feel more confident about trying the trail. Once the trial is fully established, it’s estimated that at least 30,000 people will walk part of the route every year.
“Trafford is particularly significant as the borough features in the very first and the final three stages of the GM Ringway. Those stages of the trail follow a series of pretty, largely traffic-free footpaths along the canal and through parks, nature reserves and countryside.”
Book your tickets for the GM Ringway Walking Weekend here.