Canal Bike ride - Via Ashton, Marple and High Lane.

 

Its about time we got on the bikes along a canal. I live close to the canal network, and they make ideal places to ride on. The canals around this area form the Cheshire Ring, which is a 97 mile round trip. We hope to cover more of the canals in the area.

The canal tow paths are flat, (apart from locks) and relatively smooth. However they can be muddy in places, especially in sheltered areas. You also need to be considerate of other tow path users, walkers, fishermen and other cyclists. The paths can be narrow in places so I recommend a bell, or in my case, squeaky breaks to announce your arrival to other tow path users.

Myself and Duncan enjoy the views that can often been seen along the canal routes, unlike the old railways, which are mostly in cuttings, the majority of canals are out in the open and cut through some great scenery. We took this route in early May, the paths were a little muddy in places, but not all of the tree cover had grown back, so we got to see some great views.

The route we took can be joined at any stage, however we completed a loop. We hope you enjoy this route, we hope to cover more soon.

The start at Lumb Lane, Audenshaw, Grt Manchester

Lumb lane in Audenshaw, this is where we started our journey.

The canal runs from left to right. Left down to Manchester (via the City of Manchester Stadium) and right to the Staylbridge, via Ashton.

Looking down to the canal tow path.

Watch out for fishermen.

A little further down the path from Lumb lane you come across the old bridge that used to carry the railway from Denton junction to the Manchester to Ashton line. It cut round the side of the Snipe retail park, the location of the long closed Audenshaw railway station.

Part of this old line has been converted in a pathway, and we will cover this route some time soon.

Another old railway bridge. This now disused line ran from Guide Bridge station to join (the still in use) link to the Manchester to Ashton line.

After all of the recent developments in this area (due to the M60 motorway) this railway line has been left and could be reopened if required.

The short tunnel under Guidebridge Lane.

 

Closing in on Portland Basin in Ashton-U-Lyne. This is the view over the river Tame.

You can see the aquaduct ahead, this takes the Ashton to Marple (High Peak) canal over the Tame.

Portland Basin, Ashton-U-Lyne. The restored canal basin and mill is home to a great museum and regular canal boat festivals.

This area also houses various marinas and boat building companies. The whole area has been landscaped and is a great place to picnic and watch the world go by.

This is also the junction of 2 canals. If you carry on you will end up over the Pennines via the recently restored Stannage tunnel, infact the canal from here to Stalybridge has been completely restored, we have rode this route and its a great run. We hope to cover this soon.

We took the Peak Forest canal (part of the Cheshire ring), this goes under the ordinal stone bridge which was constructed to enable the towing horses to be remained attached to the boat while crossing the other canal.

 

The view up towards Stalybridge and Diggle..

Looking back at Portland Basin.

Around a mile outside of Ashton this is where Ashton St crosses the canal.

We at the outskirts of Hyde, this is where the M67 crosses the canal. There is small (well lit) tunnel here.

 

Just over Hyde road, we found nesting swans. Great to see wildlife in such an urban environment.

The Peak Forest canal follows the Tame valley, here we are at the entrance to Haughton Dale (Haughton Green - Denton). On our way home, we came back via Haughton Dale.

At the bottom of Haughton Dale (next to the river Tame) was Gibraltar mill. This was a big cotton mill which has long been demolished. My Grandma used to work there.

A little further on - Haughton Dale is to the right, Newton (Hyde) to he left.
Gee Cross - Hyde. Just over the canal on the left hand side is Gee Cross. This was the location for the large cotton mill "Gee Cross Mill". As a child my grandma took me round the woods in this area, and I remember the mill in its derelict state. I think it was demolished middle 1980s. If it did still stand, I am sure it would be flats and apartments.
Around Newton area - this was one of numerous canal boats out and about taking in the sunshine!

Woodley Tunnel - this runs under Hyde road.

The tunnel is walkable, there is a handrail all the way through. Its a straight tunnel, but does get very dark and a bit slippy in the middle. Be careful and take your time.

 

Looking back towards Ashton with my back to the Woodley tunnel. The brick archway carries the railway from Woodley junction to the recycling works in Bredbury industrial estate. This line originally went to Tiviot Dale in Stockport (via Brinnington tunnel) only this end survives for the odd train to the recycling works.

See here for further information about this railway line.

Here the canal goes under the Hope Valley railway line. We are just outside of Romiley.
The Hydebank tunnel at Romiley. You cant travel through this tunnel, so the path way goes over the tunnel. The path isn't so steep going towards Romiley, but coming home the path is steep and a bit muddy.
A bridge serving farm buildings near the tunnel in Romiley.
The majestic railway viaduct at Marple. This carries the Hope valley line. We are stood on the canal aquaduct which is another fine piece of architecture.
The Marple Aquaduct. Dunc taking a rest!
The view down!
Marple Locks - there are around 10 locks running up to Marple. We are around half way looking down back towards Ashton. There were a few boats using the locks, its nice to take time out to watch the process.
Marple Bridge, Marple- a nice place to stop for a pint!
The mid locks at Marple.
Just outside of Marple the canal splits. We are looking down the Macclesfield Bollington canal. We took this route on this trip.

The Peak forest canal. This continues through Disley and Buxworth. The canal is very scenic running through a valley. We will do this route soon.

At the junction there is a busy boat yard.

The view back down to Marple Bridge, we are at the top locks. As you can see we have climbed quite high.
The picture doesnt really do the view justice. However this was taken from the Macclesfield canal. It is looking back towards Manchester. It was a really good view, unfortunately my camera hasn't picked it up so well.

High Lane - Stockport. This was taken from the busy A6 road at High Lane. We are looking back at the Macclesfield canal.

At this point we decided to turn back and head for home. There was scope to continue to Macclesfield. A route we would like to do very soon.

The Middlewood way - High Lane. This is the old Macclesfield to Manchester railway line that was converted in to a pathway in 1984. We took this route back to Rose Hill in Marple, and then back via the canal. Again we hope to cover more of the Middlewood way soon.

The view is looking back at the bridge which runs under the A6, Buxton to Stockport road. You can see the original bridge has been reduced in size.

We hope you have enjoyed this route, its a great ride to take, there is a lot to see and its great to be in so much green belt, especially so close to Manchester and Stockport.

A recommenced ride or even a walk.

Enjoy - Keep safe - JON and DUNC.

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