After a long and tireless period of fundraising efforts from countryside charity CPRE, in partnership with Britain’s walking charity, Ramblers, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £250,000 towards the full establishment of the GM Ringway, Greater Manchester’s new 186-mile outdoor walking trail, over the next two years.

Designed around various existing footpaths, parks and open-access land across all ten Greater Manchester boroughs, the trail covers the entire region’s remarkably diverse topography. Conceived with an ethos of providing accessible nature and local heritage to 2.8 million Mancunians, the GM Ringway passes through 57 conservation areas, 9 sites of ‘special scientific interest’, 18 local nature reserves and even western sections of the Peak District National Park. Alongside the awe-inspiring vistas, the route offers low-impact access to more than 40 Grade I and II*-listed buildings, including Bramall Hall in Stockport and Haigh Hall in Wigan; 13 accredited museums, including Trafford’s Imperial War Museum North, and 14 historically significant monuments including Rochdale’s Blackstone Edge Roman Road.

The trail, planned as an anti-clockwise route split into four broad sections, each offering five one-day stages, features 20 access points spread equidistantly around the loop, all of which are reachable by public transport. The Heritage Fund grant will enable a number of vital additions to the project, including on-the-ground signposting, an improved app and website and a network of at least 200 ‘footpath guardians’ to ensure walkers of any experience level can enjoy the route. A ‘trail passport’, which will allow walkers to mark their progress and access exclusive discounts and offers along the Ringway, is also in development.

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. Here in the north west, we’re fortunate to have a wealth of heritage and natural beauty on our doorstep and we want more people to get out and discover it.”

“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.”

For more information and a detailed map of the trail, head to the GM Ringway website.

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Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Wed 2 Nov 2022