Avoiding Manchester

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speedsixdave
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Avoiding Manchester

Post by speedsixdave »

Morning all,

I'm planning a UK door-to-door tour in September from my house close to Derby up to the Lake District and back. Once north of about Preston all is countryside and looks lovely, but there's a lot of conurbation around Manchester that doesn't look much fun on the map. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions on a route past Manchester that avoids too many miles of potholed urban roads?

Cycle.Travel suggests a lot of cycle route 55 which heads from Stockport to Bolton, but it looks pretty urban. And a lot of Turn Left Turn Right Turn Left Turn Right through housing estates, which are a sure-fire way to get lost and waste a lot of time in my my touring experience!
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nirakaro
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by nirakaro »

I'd be inclined to head for Knutsford, then thread through to the east of Warrington and Wigan. That whole area is pretty heavily developed, and there'll be a lot of wiggling. But it does have the advantage of being pretty flat.
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andrew_s
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by andrew_s »

How are you with hills?
I'd be inclined to look at a Pennine route - Hathersage, Holmfirth, then pick up NCN68 and go via Hebden Bridge, Barnoldswick & Settle


Last time I did such a ride, over a weekend from Nottingham, a long time ago when I was younger and fitter than now, it was Matlock, over the Snake to Glossop, skirt the E fringes on Manchester to Denshaw, Sowerby Bridge, Keighley, Bolton Abbey, Hawes, Appleby, Penrith, Ambleside. The return was straight down the A6 as far as Westhoughton, then Warburton bridge over the ship canal, Macclesfield, Buxton, & back. The A6 was Sunday morning, and not as bad as you might have expected.
climo
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by climo »

"Avoiding Manchester" Sounds like a good idea. I've been avoiding it for a long time :)
mattsccm
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by mattsccm »

I was just about to say the same thing!
Ontherivet77
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by Ontherivet77 »

You could go Knutsford head towards Lymm follow signs for Warburton Bridge, head toward Glazebrook, Glazebury and then across the East Lancs to Leigh (it starts getting more urban now) Head from Leigh to Hindley Take ladies lane to Aspull and then Haigh Hall and follow the road down into Worthington Lakes and out towards Chorley. At the junction for Chorley stop at Freddies Ice Cream Parlour for a double scoop waffle cone :D and then head on to Chorley town centre and on to the A6 for Preston.
Alternatively, you could also cycle through Coppull rather than Chorley and find your way to Preston via Charnock Richard and Leyland.
Or If you want to avoid roads altogether you could get on the Leeds Liverpool canal tow path at Leigh and that will take you to just north of Chorley.
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mjr
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by mjr »

Ontherivet77 wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 6:54pm Or If you want to avoid roads altogether you could get on the Leeds Liverpool canal tow path at Leigh and that will take you to just north of Chorley.
And then you could follow NCN55 to Preston which doesn't look bad.

And you could join that towpath earlier, as Bridgewater Way near Trafford Park station. That leaves only crossing Stockport as a difficult wiggly thing... you could follow NCN62 past Sale golf course.

It is frustrating that there doesn't seem to be an easy-to-follow route from Knutsford to Leigh but I suspect that's the awful Warrington borough getting in the way.
Last edited by mjr on 14 Aug 2021, 8:29pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sjs
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by sjs »

On my lejog the overnight stops in the area were Hathersage, Malham, Appleby. Hilly though.
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Tigerbiten
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by Tigerbiten »

The longest but probably the least built up is a big loop up via the Vale of York, then cross the Pennines roughly west of your target in the Lakes.

Luck ....... :D
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speedsixdave
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by speedsixdave »

Morning all and thanks for the replies. Some good fuel for thought there.
andrew_s wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 2:29pm How are you with hills?
I'd be inclined to look at a Pennine route - Hathersage, Holmfirth, then pick up NCN68 and go via Hebden Bridge, Barnoldswick & Settle
I enjoy a hill as much as the next man, but I've not done much cycling this year so the wiser course of action might be the Pennine route on the way back when I've ridden myself in a bit. It's a long time since I've ridden Holme Moss so could incorporate that on a Pennine return.
nirakaro wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 2:27pm I'd be inclined to head for Knutsford, then thread through to the east of Warrington and Wigan.
Ontherivet77 wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 6:54pm You could go Knutsford head towards Lymm follow signs for Warburton Bridge, head toward Glazebrook, Glazebury and then across the East Lancs to Leigh (it starts getting more urban now) Head from Leigh to Hindley Take ladies lane to Aspull and then Haigh Hall and follow the road down into Worthington Lakes and out towards Chorley.
These seem like good suggestions - I'll investigate further and look for suitable accommodation too. Thanks both.
Ontherivet77 wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 6:54pm At the junction for Chorley stop at Freddies Ice Cream Parlour for a double scoop waffle cone :D
Yep!

Ontherivet77 wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 6:54pm Or If you want to avoid roads altogether you could get on the Leeds Liverpool canal tow path at Leigh and that will take you to just north of Chorley.
Also a possibility. I like a canal path for a few miles but they can get a bit samey after a while. Wouldn't want to do 40 miles of towpath. But it's definitely worth a look.
climo wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 3:02pm "Avoiding Manchester" Sounds like a good idea. I've been avoiding it for a long time :)
Manchester. So much to answer for!
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Mick F
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by Mick F »

This was my route through Manchester some years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
No issues at all and an easy ride.
Screen Shot 2021-08-15 at 09.56.53.png
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Jdsk
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by Jdsk »

Tigerbiten wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 8:41pm The longest but probably the least built up is a big loop up via the Vale of York, then cross the Pennines roughly west of your target in the Lakes.
Should that be east?

Jonathan
Ontherivet77
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by Ontherivet77 »

Ontherivet77 wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 6:54pm Or If you want to avoid roads altogether you could get on the Leeds Liverpool canal tow path at Leigh and that will take you to just north of Chorley.
Also a possibility. I like a canal path for a few miles but they can get a bit samey after a while. Wouldn't want to do 40 miles of towpath. But it's definitely worth a look.
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If you wanted just to do a small stretch of the tow path, then the canal intersects the road between Haigh Hall & Worthington Lakes at Red Rock (Bridge 63). This will take you up to Adlington Marina and on to Chorley.
Tom_B
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by Tom_B »

1) I regularly ride from south to north Manchester. MickF’s direct through route is quite doable if you want to save time and excessive navigation. But city roads always seem less daunting when it is your own city.
2) If you want to save time, or need a bailout, there are direct trains to Preston from Hazel Grove, at the southern edge of Stockport. It is a Northern Rail stopping service that takes bikes without a booking. Hazel Grove is on the A6 just a couple of miles downhill from the Middlewood Way, which starts at Macclesfield. Buxton to Macc is a pleasing ride and Buxton is not far from the High Peak / Tissington trails
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Sweep
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Re: Avoiding Manchester

Post by Sweep »

climo wrote: 14 Aug 2021, 3:02pm "Avoiding Manchester" Sounds like a good idea. I've been avoiding it for a long time :)
Manchester is a fine and outstanding city. Very interesting.
Cycled loaded through the centre recently and have done a fair old bit in the past.

The Bridgewater canal is useful and all pretty much surfaced but in connection with points above canals can get a bit boring - and even if surfaced towpaths can often be slightly delicately bumpy - I think this is because there is often stuff buried under them - cables etc.

I very often come off the Bridgewater and follow the A56 which parallels it for quite a while - not as daunting as it might appear on a map - it's through a built-up area so is effectively calmed by traffic lights/bus lanes. I like it if I just want to get somewhere - definitely faster than the Bridgewater and less tiring.

On my last recent trip I found that fair bits of it have been turned into very wide temporary (or heaven of heavens maybe they will become permanent) cycle lanes - they take an entire lane of the carriageway - so the ride was particularly easy.

Cycling through the centre of Manchester can be a bit of a twiddle/needs a lot of care because of all the tram lines.

Speedsix if you want to avoid some of north Manchester if you book ahead you can often get very cheap trains on the Manchester Victoria to Clitheroe Line - going all the way or getting off wherever - I'd recommend somewhere after Blackburn - this avoids some pretty stiff climbs over the moors between Bolton and Blackburn. Pretty wild up there - there are even snowpoles! Northern rail is excellent with bikes - very easygoing - even if some of the bike stowage is less than ideal.

Also handy, takes you from north manchester almost to Bolton station, is the traffic-free and surfaced Roe Green Loop Line cycle and ped path.

If you did enter the centre of Manchester (and I'd recommend it) I can recommend some pretty nice interesting places to sit awhile, maybe while waiting for that climb-avoiding train.

I'd be interested in the route you eventually settle on.
Sweep
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