Led by charities CPRE, the countryside charity, and The Greater Manchester and High Peak Ramblers, work on the signposts has started on the Oldham and Bury sections of the GM Ringway, Greater Manchester’s walking trail, the first of the 20 stages. Designed around existing footpaths, parks and open-access land, the walking trail is divided into 20 stages starting and ending in Manchester city centre.
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.
The paths on the Oldham and Bury sections of the GM Ringway have been waymarked with small white discs – also known as ‘roundels’ – that point walkers in the direction of travel. They also include a QR code that guides users to the GM Ringway website.
The first stage to be completed was Stage 9 from Greenfield to Newhey, just over the border in Rochdale, with volunteers painstakingly marking out the 20-km (12.4-mile) stretch. The three-man team took over eight hours to complete the task in dry but chilly conditions.
The following weekend they started work on Stage 13 of GM Ringway from Bury to Bromley Cross, carefully signposting the 18-km (11.2-mile) stretch taking a further seven hours in wintery weather. In total more than 200 roundels were nailed to existing structures along the route.
Andrew Read, GM Ringway’s project lead, said: “It’s very exciting to see the GM Ringway roundels start to go up on wooden posts, gates and stiles. It will make Greater Manchester’s walking route a lot easier to follow. We’re working hard to make sure anyone who wants to get out in nature and explore Greater Manchester’s great outdoors can do so without getting lost, by adding helpful waymarks with a handy QR code along the route.”
In addition, Go Jauntly – a free walking and wellness app – guides users along the 20 stages of the trail, using pictures and route maps. The app also includes ten shorter GM Ringway jaunts, including several step-free routes, enabling everyone to sample the trail.
So get out there and sample the GM Ringway as soon as you can – each section makes the perfect local walk all year round.