Use rail­ways to boost your ride

Macclesfield Express - - SCHOOLS NEWS - SARAH ROE

HERE are some summer cy­cling ideas to make the most of the last lazy summer days with a lo­cal bike ride along Sus­trans Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work. You don’t even need to take the car. Put your bike on the train* and try these easy traf­ficfree routes from lo­cal rail­way sta­tions.

Ir­well Sculp­ture Trail Start: Vic­to­ria Sta­tion, Sal­ford End: Clifton Coun­try Park or Prest­wich Dis­tance: 5 miles, one way SUS­TRANS Na­tional Cy­cle Route 6 fol­lows on or close to the river banks from cen­tral Sal­ford as far as Bury and on­ward to the now fa­mous choco­late des­ti­na­tion of Rams­bot­tom.

Fam­ily trips will prob­a­bly want to turn back closer to home. Route 6 has a spur off to Prest­wich and Heaton Park via Buck­ley Lane, while fur­ther along the route, on the other side of the river, you can ac­cess fam­ily-friendly Clifton Coun­try Park, which of­ten has events for fam­i­lies or­gan­ised by the Sal­ford Ranger team.

Take your bikes on the train or park up near Vic­to­ria or Sal­ford Cen­tral sta­tion. Ac­cess the path at Green­gate which will take you across to the river bank and Route 6.

The nearby Bio­spheric Foun­da­tion fea­tured in the Manch­ester In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val for its pi­o­neer­ing work as an urban farm. The cen­tre has oc­ca­sional open days and tours but you’ll need to phone ahead. Fol­low the path round, over bridges and con­nect­ing small roads. The route is mainly well marked so you can sit back and en­joy the view. Look out for a string of artworks along the way, these are part of 70 sculp­tures in the Ir­well Val­ley Sculp­ture Trail, which ex­tends 33 miles through to Rossendale.

Manch­ester to Leven­shulme Start: Manch­ester Pic­cadilly End: Leven­shulme Sta­tion, Manch­ester Dis­tance: 9 miles RIDE along Manch­ester’s peace­ful old canal and rail­way net­works from the vi­brant city cen­tre to the fash­ion­able suburbs of the south side.

Walk or ride down the ap­proach from Pic­cadilly sta­tion and turn right on to Dul­cie Street, where you can ac­cess the Ash­ton Canal tow­path after a short walk. Con­tinue along the tow­path (you will need to cross over Alan Tur­ing Way), pass­ing the Eti­had Sta­dium and Na­tional Cy­cling Cen­tre.

Turn right at the lock, fol­low­ing signs to Leven­shulme. The path will take you through Open­shaw and just be­fore you reach Gor­ton reser­voir and Deb­dale Park turn left on to the Sus­trans Fal­low­field Loop cy­cle path. Turn right and fol­low the blue signs to Leven­shulme. You can catch the train back to Pic­cadilly from here.

For a longer ride the path also con­tin­ues to Chorl­ton, where you can ac­cess the traf­fic-free Tran­sPen­nine Trail to­wards Stock­port or cy­cle on the roads to ac­cess the Bridge­wa­ter Way canal tow­path at Stret­ford, which has a canal route back to Castle­field in Manch­ester.

Marple to Mac­cles­field Start: Rose Hill Marple train sta­tion End: Mac­cles­field rail­way sta­tion Dis­tance: 11 miles THE leafy green lanes of the Mid­dle­wood Way are now a pop­u­lar lin­ear park which run close to the pic­turesque Mac­cles­field Canal, with its smok­ing barges and serene water birds.

Take the train from Manch­ester to Rose Hill, Marple and fol­low signs to the Mid­dle­wood Way from the sta­tion. You’ll wind through into Bolling­ton, which has a great se­lec­tion of pubs and cafés. Try the Wind­mill Gas­tro Pub which has a gar­den and maze, the Vale Inn for ap­pre­ci­a­tors of real ale or the Café Waterside on the canal tow­path.

The route is well-used by fam­i­lies and dog walk­ers and can be muddy in parts.

Con­tinue on into bustling Mac­cles­field, where there is a reg­u­lar train ser­vice back to Manch­ester.

For more in­for­ma­tion, routes or to or­der de­tailed maps look up www.sus­trans.org.uk

*Bike spa­ces on lo­cal trains are avail­able on a first come, first served ba­sis.

Bike rides on traf­fic-free paths or quiet roads are a great way to get out­doors with your chil­dren, visit new places and en­joy a guilt-free coffee

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