|OS Route Map →||GPX Route file →|
Date: 07 Apr 2020
Start: / Finish: Altrincham.
Maps: Explorer 277 Manchester & Salford + 268 Wilmslow, Macclesfield & Congleton.
|Day 1||Bridgewater Way & Transpennine Trail||12.9miles (21km)|
The CV (CoronaVirus) lockdown has been upon us for what seems like ages but is actually just 2 or 3 weeks now. Public transport is off limits for all but essential travel for everyone, but particularly for us since we are in an at-risk group due to age and I had that pulmonary embolism a few years back that we think weakened one of my lungs.
For the forseeable future it's quick walks into town for supplies and longer exercise walks from the door, maintaining distance from other people. The idea for this circuit came from a forced (effectively) 15-mile return walk to my regular NHS appointment for an INR checkup last week, it has temporarily been relocated to the main hospital around 8 miles away:- no way would I risk taking a bus confined with other people and the potential viral load in such an enclosed space.
This local circuit follows the Bridgewater Way along the canal to join the Transpennine Trail at the NCN 62 cycle route that meets the River Mersey and returns on tracks and lanes through woodland and countryside to the west.
A chilly start in the early light descending through John Leigh Park was a fine way to start the day, the dawn chorus well underway below the superb mature trees. A handful of people were already about and keeping their distance. We joined the BW (Bridgewater Way) at Broadheath bridge.
Unlike last week when I walked the BW here in the dark with a head torch and met only one other person before Sale, the joggers and cyclists were soon converging at a pace. Everyone was naturally maximizing their distance as much as possible on the fairly wide surfaced towpath and not lingering.
Just past the M60 and the Centre for Abandoned Animals, the BW crosses above the Mersey to a bridleway that roughly parallels the canal to join NCN62 and the Transpennine Trail (TPT). A short walk westwards is the suspension bridge that carries the TPT back over the M60 to follow a woodland trail to the Mersey. The TPT continues on an excellent riverside track to a footbridge across the river.
The TPT hugs the A6144, first through woodland and then on a lane, to cross to the south side approaching the pastoral flatland of the Carrington Estate. The TPT is generally well signed on the ground, but south of Ash Farm, we followed the NCN62 line rather than the TPT route shown on the 2020 OS 1:25000 mapping, as per the GPX file.
In this area the track is clearly raised above a generally very wet flatland and there are many swampy areas nearby with gnarled tree bases in standing water.
Just past Woodcote Farm we turned eastwards to Woodhouses and negotiated the maze of walkways along Sinderland Brook and through the houses to Sinderland Road and resumed the TPT to Seamons Bridge. A short walk farther we passed St. Margaret's Church whose bellringers have always given a hearty performance every Monday evening that we hear from our apartment, but their efforts have been curtailed lately by social distancing no doubt.
A good walk on an excellent sunny day, but a route almost entirely on hard surfaces that results in achy legs!.