A new long-distance walking route around Greater Manchester is being created thanks to an idea developed by a University of Salford graduate.

The 300-km GM Ringway is the brainchild of Dr Andrew Read, who came up with the idea while out walking through some of the amazing scenery that surrounds the city.

The GM Ringway long-distance trail follows an anti-clockwise circuit from its starting point in Manchester city centre through some of the finest countryside and green spaces of the entire city region. Each of the 20 stages are designed to be easily accessible by public transport. The trail provides a low-impact way of accessing a wide variety of landscapes, including the Mersey Valley, the Peak District Fringe, the West Pennine hills and the wetlands, mosslands and parkland to the west of Greater Manchester.

Andrew said: “There are many reasons I think this is a great idea. I think the beautiful and dramatic landscape surrounding our city is massively underappreciated and underutilised. If we can get this route finalised, mapped and signposted, it will be a great incentive to get people exploring the countryside close to home.

“What’s more, the project supports multiple policy priorities identified for the city region, including public health, the natural capital programme and sustainable transport.”

Since early 2018, the overall route has been refined and expanded, partly in consultation with local Ramblers groups. As a result, it has now grown to cover a distance of 187 miles or 300 km.

The full route starts and finishes in Manchester city centre but passes through every one of the ten boroughs: Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Wigan and Salford. Each stage is carefully designed to start and finish at a public transport hub, in most cases a Metrolink stop or train station.

The scheme has also had the backing of cyclist Chris Boardman MBE, the Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester. He said: “The GM Ringway will complement Greater Manchester’s network of greenways, which includes the Trans Pennine Trail and the canals network. I wholeheartedly endorse the creation of the GM Ringway and look forward to it becoming a popular leisure activity across Greater Manchester.”


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