A 15mile round trip via the Manchester, Bury, Bolton Canal and back on the disused railway from Clifton Junction to Radcliffe.
Route Description = Starting at Bolton Road Methodist Church on the A58 we briefly got on to the Bury to Bolton railway line via Kingston Close, until we came across the national cycling route 6 which took us down past the sailing club at Elton reservoir and onto the Manchester, Bury, Bolton canal following the canal. The first obstacle is Water Street where the canal has been culverted. Back on to the canal on the other side of the road its was easy to follow the canal.
The first thing of interest we found on the canal is the steam crane, after that we came across the 1936 breach (Star 1 on map) near to Nob End (For more info and pictures on the Bury arm of the canal click here).
Next we reached where the canal splits at Prestolee (Star 2 on Map) and we took the left fork towards Manchester where we went pass the 2 sets of 3 staircase locks. The next obstacle on the route is Kearsley Road (Star 3 on Map), after crossing the road we re-joined the canal by the side of The Horse Shoe Inn on Fold Road. We followed the line of the canal until we got to where Giant's Seat Locks where situated. We lost the route of the canal here, so we turned onto Red Rock Lane and picked the canal back up further down the line (For more info and pictures on the Manchester arm of the canal click here).
We carried on along the canal, until we got to the M60 where, after going under the motorway, we turned left and headed for the old Clifton to Bury railway. Here we climbed up on the embankment to cross back over the M60 onto the footbridge and follow the old railway back into Radcliffe (For more info on the Bury to Clifton Railway line click here). (Star 4 on the map)
The railway line stops after the viaduct over the river Irwell in Radcliffe, but we still followed the line of the old railway up Pilkington Way and picked the line up again where it runs along side Darbyshire Street until we got to Spring Lane We crossed Spring Lane and picked up a path at the side of Coney Green High School which takes you back to the Manchester, Bury, Bolton canal and then back to Bolton Road Methodist Church on the A58.
The route is mainly off road and can be muddy in places, its also pretty flat (obviously on the old canal). The majority of the way its away from traffic, so its ideal if you want to cycle in peace and enjoy the countryside (Yes there is countryside to see!) Keep an eye out for walkers and be aware the canal pathway is a little narrow in places.