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GM Ringway

Gtr Manchester

319 km / 198 miles
The GM Ringway is a significant funded project to provide a circular walking trail around Greater Manchester (GM) from the city centre out into the surrounding countryside, with additional links to create a network of around 200 miles of described and accessible trails.

It explores the green spaces, waterways and countryside of all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. Its 20 stages are designed to be accessed by public transport, in most cases a train or Metrolink station. By connecting the communities of the entire city-region, the trail will provide residents and visitors with a low-impact means of accessing and appreciating the area's varied landscapes and heritage. It also aims to enhance public health and reduce GM's carbon footprint by encouraging the use of public transport and active travel.

The route can now be walked with the maps (but not yet full directions) for all 20 stages that are available on a free website, Plotaroute, linked from the trail's website that is listed below and that has details of each individual stage. Directions and alternative maps will gradually be added. The Plotaroute site enables free downloads of track files in various formats (gpx etc), so they are not included here.

The project is led by two charities - CPRE, the countryside charity, Ramblers (Greater Manchester & High Peak Area) - and is supported by a GBP250,000 Heritage Fund grant that will enable signage and full route documentation to be added, along with promotional work.

The anti-clockwise route has four broad sections, each made up of five one-day stages. These can be described as:

The 'Southern Start Up', which uses waterways and green spaces to trace an almost traffic-free route from Manchester city centre to the edge of the Peak District.
The 'Exhilarating East', which explores the lovely line of hills that rise above Stockport, Tameside and Oldham.
The 'Noble North', in which five fairly challenging stages connect the dramatic peaks and valleys of the South and West Pennines within Rochdale, Bury and Bolton.
The 'Western Wind-Down', which brings the GM Ringway to a gentle finish via the wetlands, mosslands, farmland and canals of Wigan, Trafford, and Salford.
There are also plans to add western, northern and eastern link routes from the city centre to the circular route.

The 'Southern Start-Up' provides a relatively easy introduction to trail walking, as they are largely level and not too long. Things get tougher during the 'Exhilarating East' and 'Noble North' sections because of the hilly terrain involved. The final 'Western Wind-Down' are level, though longer than the early stages of the trail. Although the full route will not be suitable for all users because of the varied nature of the terrain, the project plans to identify and publicise sections or alternative routes that are accessible to a wider range of users.

The trail takes in a wide variety of landscapes within the city-region's countryside and other green spaces. It also gives communities access to heritage sites across all ten Greater Manchester boroughs. The route passes more than 40 Grade I and II*-listed buildings, including Bramall Hall in Stockport and Haigh Hall in Wigan; 13 accredited museums, such as the Imperial War Museum in Trafford, and 14 scheduled ancient monuments including Blackstone Edge Roman Road in Rochdale. The trail also guides walkers through 57 conservation areas, nine sites of special scientific interest, 18 local nature reserves and parts of the Peak District National Park.

Greater Manchester is a metropolitan and ceremonial county in North West England, with a population of 2.8 million, comprising ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.

Information from GM Walking.


Path Type: Other Paths
Attributes: Challenging
Former Railway
Agricultural land
National Park
Industrial History
Start and Finish: SJ840980 - St Peter's Square Metrolink station, Manchester, Gtr Manchester View on StreetMap
Open Date: 2022
Web Sites: GM Walking


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Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 108, 109, 110
OS Landranger Active 108, 109, 110
OS Explorer 1, 21, 268, 276, 277, 285, 287
OS Explorer Active 1, 21, 268, 276, 277, 285, 287

Accommodation within 5 km of this Path:

Walkers are Welcome
< 1 km
54 km
Walkers are Welcome
2 km
60 km
Group Accommodation
1 km
101 km
Walkers are Welcome
3 km
112 km
Hostel Accommodation
< 1 km
315 km

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Connected Paths:

Route Profile:

317.9 km (197.5 miles)
5,765 m (18,914 ft) ascent
502 m (1,647 ft)  maximum height

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