The Greater Manchester walk with rivers, lakes, woods and gardens perfect for summer

Figure on a tree-lined path
-Credit: (Image: Manchester Evening News)


It’s nearly summer and when the weather does behave you can’t beat a going for a good walk, especially when the sun is shining. You don’t have to travel far for a scenic route, either, in fact there are some amazing trails to follow right on our doorstep.

Celebrating the walks we have in Greater Manchester is the GM Ringway, a new route stretching 200 miles which, as its name suggests, loops through all ten boroughs. Now of course you can’t walk all 200 miles in one fell swoop, so it’s handily divided up into four broad sections, each one made up of five one-day stages.

The sections are the Southern Start-Up, the Exhilarating East, the Noble North and the Western Wind-Down. Each of the 20 stages are easily accessible by public transport.

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One walk which particularly beautiful at this time of year is stage 2 of the Southern Start-Up from Sale Waterpark to Didsbury Village. The 6.5 mile long route should take around three and a half hours, but there’s complete flexibility with how to follow it; you can pick and choose which parts you want to walk, or take it at a completely leisurely pace and make a day of it.

Chorlton Water Park
The route takes you through Chorlton Water Park -Credit:Manchester Evening News

The route begins at the Sale Water Park Tram stop, across Jackson’s Bridge and then heads south along the River Mersey until it reaches Chorlton Water Park. You can walk around the small lake at the heart of the park, following the tree-lined path which encriles it.

Keep your eyes peeled along the way for the birds and wildlife which call the water park home. There’s a children’s play area at the park, lots of picnic tables and toilet facilities, so a great stopping point for a picnic. Usually an ice cream van makes an appearance too.

Path alongside the River Mersey
The trail takes you along the River Mersey -Credit:MEN Staff

After experiencing the tranquillity of the water park, the route takes you across Bailey Bridge through Kenworthy Wood, picking up the river again underneath Princess Parkway. However, since spring the bridge has been closed so there’s a detour along the River Mersey instead.

The route then picks up the River Mersey again, as it loops round Northenden Golf Course. The trail then leaves the River, crossing Palatine Road and along a path through Withington Golf Course, before picking up the river again.

View of the flowers alongside a path in Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden
Enjoy a stroll through Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens -Credit:MEN Staff

You follow it around until you reach Didsbury Sports Ground, where you can leave the river to walk along Stenner Lane with its row of picturesque cottages. Alternatively the path along the river can be followed as a diversion due to flooding.

The trail passes through the lush greenery of Stenner Wood, leading you towards the beautiful Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden. Take some time to explore the rockery, with its tumbling mini-waterfalls and colourful flowers.

You can grab a refreshment from the Alpine Tearoom and enjoy a well-deserved rest, before finishing up the walk in Didsbury Village, where all manner of cafes, pubs and restaurants await you. From Didsbury you can pick up various bus routes, as well as the tram from the Didsbury Village stop.

The entire route can be followed on the Go Jauntly walking app, which includes photographs and written directions, you can also download and print a PDF of the directions. Alternatively you can follow the route of the mobile-friendly Plotaroute site. To find out more visit the GM Ringway website here.

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