Most photogenic canal walks across Greater Manchester

By Fiona Callow

It can sometimes seem difficult to find a spot of nature within an urban sprawl of a city, but Manchester is lucky to have the Pennines on its doorstep, as well as many waterways connecting the city to the countryside.

From the impressive skyline of Media City at Salford Quays, to the quaint village of Worsley found along the Bridgewater canal, there’s something for everyone to explore- and to snap the perfect picture.

2Chill have compiled a list of some of the most picturesque routes that Manchester and its surrounding areas and canals have to offer.

Do you have a favourite scenic walk around Manchester? Be sure to let us know in the comments and sign up on 2Chill so you can leave a recommendation.

Castlefield and the Wharf

Staying close to the city centre, a gentle two mile stroll starting at Tib Lock shows off the best of the Castlefield area by following some of the oldest canals in Manchester.

The older industrial red brick buildings make a good contrast with the water and greenery along the canal. Exploring this area allows you to experience other city highlights such as China Town and Spinningfields.

Additionally, there are many restaurants and bars en route to stop for refreshments, extending the walk into a day of sightseeing.

Salford Quays and Manchester Ship Canal

Spanning 36 miles beginning at the Mersey Estuary near Liverpool, the Manchester Ship Canal winds through Cheshire and Lancashire to the city.

Landmarks along its route include the Barton Swing Aqueduct, the world's only swing aqueduct.

For those who don’t fancy a trek to the Irish Sea, the canal can be picked up at the rejuvenated Salford Quays, where the impressive Media City is located.

The Lowry is also easily accessible from the route, which can be followed to where it joins the Bridgewater Canal.

Bridgewater Canal to Worsley

Picking up the canal from Trafford Park, the contrast from the industrial estate to the leafy Green in Worsley is well worth the walk.

The seven mile route passes through Trafford by the old Kellogg's factory, the Cheshire Ring where multiple canals meet, and even a replica lighthouse at Monton.

George’s at Worsley offers a great Sunday lunch, and is an excellent spot to refuel, if you’re planning to walk back.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Saddleworth

Although slightly further out, the stretch of canal between Oldham and Dobcross offers a true glimpse of the South Pennines.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is the highest canal in Britain at its summit, and stretches on for nearly 20 miles.

The landscape is full of fords and bridges, locks and viaducts, and makes for a beautiful summer’s walk, when nature will be at its finest.

New Islington and Ashton Canal

New Islington can be reached via tram, which makes it a convenient place to explore Ashton Canal, which can either be followed towards Rochdale and Ancoats or towards Ashton-Under-Lyne where the route eventually joins the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The Ashton Canal was saved from dereliction by hardworking volunteers in the 1970s.

They cleared weeds and rubbish out of the canal, reopening the waterway into the heart of Manchester, and making it a green link to the city.

The Rochdale Canal to Hollingworth Lake

The Rochdale Canal crosses the rugged heights of the Pennines from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge, running for 32 miles.

Though it was once an integral transportation system, it fell out of use and was largely abandoned until restoration work began in the 1970s, at the same time as the Ashton Canal was being restored.

The canal can be picked up by Piccadilly station, and followed through Failsworth and Chadderton until the opportunity comes to detour to Hollingworth Lake, which is well worth a look.


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