Bury to Denton Bike Ride

(via the Disused Railway from Radcliffe to Clifton)

We have wanted to cycle on his route for a while, finally we got time and the weather to undertake it. I live in Denton and Dunc in Bury, so with a bit of bike moving (in a van) we could do this route together. The first part of the route takes in the old Radcliffe to Clifton Junction railway, which is part of the National Cycle Network. This route was also recommended by Nick, from the Railway forum, as a good place to see some old railway architecture.

Dunc has also used the "The Industrial Railways of Bolton, Bury and the Manchester Coalfield" book as a reference for some historical pointers along the way.

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

We recommend the first part of the route from Radcliffe to Clifton - make this in to a loop, its around 14 miles there and back. The pathway was muddy in places (it had rained heavily the day before) so be prepared for mud splashes. However it is away from traffic and is an urban oasis! Hard to believe you are so close to Manchester.

The route is clearly marked as a green dotted line on the left hand side of the map, it is marked as the "Irwell Sculpture Trail" and is part of the National cycle network route 6.

From Clifton we took roads through Salford, Manchester and Gorton to get us to Denton. We will cover this route, but with text only (Im sure you don't want to see pictures of roads). Please be aware these roads were busy and are not recommended for inexperienced riders or young children.

Radcliffe, Higher Ainsworth Road - B6292

Looking up Higher Ainsworth Road. We took this picture on the site where the Bury to Bolton line crossed (from right to left).

Notice the pub - "The railway". The railway has long since gone and is filled at this location.

Black Lane Station used to be no the right of this picture.

At the same spot, but looking down to Radcliffe. The only remider that a railway once ran here is the incline of the road on each side of the old bridge.

Just before Radciffe, the line from Bolton split in 2. The one we are on went to Bolton and the other went down to Radcliffe. You can just see this old line in the distance (where the road goes up an incline).

We started our bike ride here and tried to follow the Radcliffe line as much as was still possible.

The old bridge is still visable. This the spur line to Bolton. It has long ben filled in, but the alignment can still be seen (just).

A view from over the bridge towards Bolton. Just visable in the middle of the picture is a an old bridge, which I think runs from Stanley Road across to Salisbury Road. We need to check this out.

We are now looking at the old alignment towards Radcliffe. This is Green Bank Road. This follows the old alignment (long filled in) towards Radcliffe town centre.

There is a path/cycle way here and it follows the old alignment in to the town centre. This takes pedestrians and bikes away from the busy main road.

The sign leading the way.

Looking back up towards Green Bank Road. This a good path to use, even when it was a little wet under foot.

The path is still following the old railway alignment, which has been filled in over the years. There isnt too much railway infrastructure left.

A little further on we reach "West Junction" - here the line split in two. The picture is looking at the spur which went off to Bury via the exsisting Metrolink line. This formed a useful link to line up to Ramsbottom / Bacup and Accrington.

You can see the old bridge abutment and the line running off to the right.


A little further on the line passes over the Bury Bolton canal. The picture shows the new footbridge where you cross.

The railway actually crossed behind where I took this picture.

This is orginal alignment over the canal. You can see the path way on the left hand side.

The orginal alignment carried on through the trees (behind which is a new housing estate.

Looking at the railway history book we have, this was also the site of some sidings at the Whittaker Bridge Colliery. Something that has long gone under new developments

This picture has been taken from a previous bike ride, however you can clearly see the old railway bridge across the canal.

The path running down the side of the old alignment to Radcliffe.

This comes out at Spring lane (A6053).

Radcliffe Metrolink station is staright ahead (useful link for any bikers).

The orginal line went hrough the now car park and joined the line towards Manchester.


Radcliffe Town Centre

We wanted to find the old railway that used to run South West through Radcliffe, Over The Irwell and off towards Clifton Junction. We knew this line had been converted in to a path after Radcliffe town centre, but without a map we couldnt follow the line exactly.

Checking maps we believe the line ran across Spring Lane and parralle with Derbyshire Street, it then followed the new "Pilkington Way" for a short while, across Sion Street where it then crossed the Irwell.

There are no traces (that we can find) of the old railway. We are planning to take a closer look to see if we can make anything out. Again we believe the line ran on bridges (as Radcliffe is a natural bowl), and the bridge over the Irwell is quite high. We also believe there was a station situated at the bridge, serving Radcliffe. This area is now dominated by a Asda supermarket.

If you want to take this route, we recomend taking Spring Lane in to Radcliffe, then left on to Pilkington Way. At the junction near Asda turn right (in to the Asda approach road) you will see the bridge over the Irwell right in front of you. Please watch the traffic, on the Saturday we did the route the roads were very busy.

The bridge itself has been restored and is the start of the cycle route/pathway to Clifton. The bridge is actually a viaduct, and was built in 1881, after closure it was left to rot, however in 1998 it was fully restored.

Radcliffe Town Centre - Sion Street - the old railway viaduct over the Irwell.

This is a view of the railway viaduct taken from the Dale Street Industrial park (past the Asda store)

This picture doesnt do this wonderful structure justice.

Its been fully restored and is agreat example of where railway heritage has been left for the enjoyment and use of others.

So many of these wonderful structures have been demolised, especially in the 1960s and 70s.

The National Cycle Network sign at Radcliffe. It is route number 6.
The view overlooking Radcliffe from the Clifton end of the viaduct.

The view back to Radcliffe. Note the old bridge abutment on the left. With use of the excellent maps from the railway history book there was a power station located not far from this location. There were some sidings for the Delivery of coal for the power station.

We think this bridge across the main line was a far a narrow guage line that was used to tip blast furnace slag down the valley on the left hand side of the picture.

Ringley Road Station - The remains of the platform, which have been recently restored.

The sation was built in 1847, but was in a remote location and was little used.


Taken from the Clifton site.

The path running over he M60, a new bridge was built when they constructed the motorway. The orginal alignment and path continues on the other side.

This was the site of another station - Molyneux Brow, built in 1853.

The busy M60 motorway, taken from the bridge.
Looking back at the old railway viaduct. This has been closed for safety, and the path then follows the route of the old Bury to Bolton Canal.
Another view of the viaduct.
The remains of the canal aquaduct over the River Irwell. The path then follows the old canal alignment.
The canal alignment running off towards Manchester.
An orginal mile post on the side of the canal. Not sure how many miles to where? Possibly Manchester.

The view towards Manchester. Look how overgrown the canala is. There is a water pipe somewhere under the plants and trees in the bottom of the canal.

The edging is still visable though.

The path running under the canal ( the bridge has long been demolished) and the second bridge under the Bolton to Manchester Railway.

This road used to run from Lumns Lane to the sewage works (which i think is now disused).

We followed this path up to Lumns lane and the took roads through Salford in to the centre of Manchester.

The pathway stopped here. You may be able to fight through the undergrowth to follow the canal. but it looked difficult on the bikes.

We are now off the pathway, and now taking roads through Salford.

This is Langley Road near the cemetery.

From here on we followed Langley Road to the end, then right on to Broughton Rd / Cromwell Road. Then on the busy Broad st, which turns in to the Salford Cresent.

Through Manchester past the town hall (Albert Sq), then Bridgewater st, then finally Hyde rd (A57) to Denton.

We hope you have enjoyed this bike route - as we said earlier the Radcliffe to Clifton route is the best for a nice round bike route. We prefer to keep off the busy roads.

The historical references are from the "The Industrial railways of Bolton Bury and Manchester coalfield, part 1 - Bolton and Bury", with out this book we would have the detailed information about this route.

We would like to explore this route some more and recommend it for a nice bike ride too!

Enjoy your biking and keep safe.

Thanks JON and Dunc

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