On a lovely summer’s morning I set off with Sue at 8.45 from Timperley Bridge. Nobody else turned up, so I decided on an experimental route that links the route we take to Leigh with the one we take to Bury.
Sue turned back at the Barton swing bridge, whilst I continued to the lighthouse at Monton.
Turning onto the Worsley Loopline at the bridge after the lighthouse, this route followed the familiar trail towards Leigh.
However, at Roe Green I took the right hand track that leads all the way, along Sustrans route number 55, to Bolton. It’s mostly signposted, but there are gaps in the signage. The following sign removes the rider from the only stretch of road for miles – needed to negotiate the M61 motorway.
Picture taken from the same place, shows the track I headed down to an unsigned left turn towards Bolton.
As the centre of Bolton is approached, this off-road route 55 utilises what appear to be ancient rights of way that have escaped the ravages of housing.
I didn’t go into the centre of Bolton, this bridge near the station being as close as I got to it.
Just beyond the bridge, a right turn takes you as far as a left turn down Scholey Street. There’s a Starbucks here, about half way along the morning’s route.
After passing a police station the path crosses the A666 road. It’s completely enclosed in a cage, as is a further bridge over the River Tonge.
My route then turned right to reach Moses Gate Country Park in Darcy Lever. It was quite muddy after recent rain.
Once the busy A6053 road was crossed, I saved the muddy tracks for another time and headed steeply up to the left to reach the remains of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal
, which at Nob End resembles a small lake.
Soon some portacabins for the Canal and River Trust were passed, and a ‘Meccano’ bridge was crossed, from which there’s a view down a series of crumbling locks that used to take people in the direction of Manchester. Apparently refreshments were available in a nearby large house that accommodated passengers whilst they waited for their transport to clear the locks.
The Meccano extends to a couple of picnic tables that on a fine day would be a much better option for a mid ride break than the Starbucks passed earlier.
We’ve seen teams of volunteers clearing the weed from this canal. They were busy doing that today, but these geese seemed to prefer the weed.
I left the canal at the point we join it on our Bury/Middleton route, descending to the River Irwell, and the bridge that requires bikes to be lifted over the bollards.
Then it’s the familiar route in reverse, Sustrans route 6 in very pleasant countryside.
Eventually, after a short section of road, this familiar bridge over the Irwell marks the first of several crossings of that river.
I took a wrong turn in Salford and muddled my way past the Science and Industry Museum to Castlefield and the Bridgewater Canal. Crossing Throstle Nest Bridge, I took this picture of a distant view of the current state of the Metrolink extension to the Trafford Centre.
Near the football ground in Old Trafford, this family of swans thought I had food for them.
Approaching Watch House Cruising Club in Stretford, my last picture of the morning attempted to capture the ambience of the towpath, with early purple orchids, oxeye daisies and the inevitable cyclist
Here’s my route – 60 km with about 300 metres ascent. It took me four and a half hours at a gentle pace – I was home by 1.15.
Click on any of these images for a better resolution picture/slideshow.