New 300km long-distance walking trail in Greater Manchester gets go-ahead

The trail has been designed around existing footpaths, parks and open-access land

By Charlotte Puckering | 1 November 2022

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A long-distance walking trail has been given the green light in Greater Manchester thanks to a huge £250,000 grant.

The countryside charity CPRE, together with Britain’s leading walking charity The Ramblers, were awarded the grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to establish the ‘GM Ringway’ – the regions new long-distance walking trail.

The GM Ringway has been designed around existing footpaths, parks and open-access land, and will connect Greater Manchester’s 2.8 million residents with the natural and cultural heritage on their doorstep.

And to maintain CPRE’s green pledge, all twenty stages of the 300km (186 mile) route are each designed to be accessable via public transport.

The trail will take in a wide variety of landscapes within the city-region’s countryside and other green spaces, and will give communities access to heritage sites across all ten Greater Manchester boroughs.

Additionally, the route will pass more than forty Grade I and II*-listed buildings, including Bramall Hall in Stockport and Haigh Hall in Wigan; thirteen accredited museums such as the Imperial War Museum in Trafford, and fourteen scheduled ancient monuments including Blackstone Edge Roman Road in Rochdale.

The trail will guide walkers through fifty-seven conservation areas, nine sites of special scientific interest and eighteen local nature reserves, as well as parts of the Peak District National Park.

A GM Ringway ‘trail passport’ will also be developed in the hopes of allowing walkers to mark their progress on the route and claim special discounts to visitor attractions, pubs, cafes and hotels along the way.

Debbie McConnell, Chair of CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester said: “The GM Ringway project is truly innovative and could act as a blueprint for other city-regions.

“This inspiring initiative will get a wider range of people involved in heritage, give the local economy a boost, and promote personal wellbeing. And with its intrinsic focus on active travel and public transport, the route should be easy for local residents to access, as well as being positive for the environment.

“Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the GM Ringway walking trail will make Greater Manchester an even better place to live.”

Andrew Read,GM Ringway Project Lead, added: “Our core aim is to connect even more people with our local nature and heritage. We know there are proven health benefits that come from moving more and from spending time in nature.

“We’re particularly keen to enable those currently under-represented in the walking community to enjoy Greater Manchester’s incredible landscapes and heritage sites, especially those living in deprived areas, young people, those with disabilities or long-term health conditions, and different ethnic and faith groups.

“We believe that, as people explore Greater Manchester’s rich landscapes and history, it will increase their appreciation of and pride in their local area.”