An enormous 300km walking trail around Greater Manchester has got the go-ahead and is set to be fully operational within two years.
The GM Ringway has been awarded a £250,000 National Lottery grant, which will allow a new long-distance trail to be established right on our doorsteps.
The route will make use of existing footpaths and parks, and will connect the beautiful countryside in the north west with tourist attractions and heritage landmarks.
It all splits down into 20 stages, and every section is designed to be accessed by public transport.
Spanning all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, the GM Ringway will pass more than 40 Grade I and Grade II*-listed buildings, 13 museums, 57 conservation areas, 18 local nature reserves, 14 ancient monuments and parts of the Peak District.
Attractions along the route include Bramall Hall in Stockport, Haigh Hall in Wigan; the Imperial War Museum in Trafford and Blackstone Edge Roman Road in Rochdale.
The GM Ringway will split into four broad sections, each one made up of five one-day stages.
They’ll be the Southern Start-up (almost totally traffic-free route from the city centre to the Peak District, along waterways and green spaces), the Exhilarating East (the hills above Stockport, Tameside and Oldham), the Noble North (challenging stages connecting the peaks and valleys of the Pennines with Rochdale, Bury and Bolton) and the Western Wind-Down (the wetlands, mosslands and canals of Wigan, Trafford and Salford).
The Heritage Fund grant will pay for signposting and an improved app and website so that everyone can enjoy the trail.
There are plans to launch a trail passport, which could offer discounts to visitor attractions, pubs and cafes along the route.
It’s estimated that 30,000 people will walk part of the route every year.
The groups working on the GM Ringway are countryside charity CPRE and walking charity The Ramblers.
A network of 200 volunteer ‘footpath guardians’ will also be recruited and trained to look after the trail and get involved in community events.
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.”
Margaret Manning, chair of Greater Manchester and High Peak Area Ramblers said: “The grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is just fantastic as it will enable us to make the GM Ringway project a reality, which is so exciting. The GM Ringway will open up opportunities to collaborate with local community groups, charities and partners in the health, heritage and environmental sectors on trail-related events and activities.
“We also hope heritage sites and hospitality businesses will benefit as visitors discover them on foot. The grant will allow us to establish this wonderful trail as a long-term asset for the region.”
Andrew Read, GM Ringway Project Lead, said: “Our core aim is to connect even more people with our local nature and heritage. We know there are proven health benefits that come from moving more and from spending time in nature.
“We’re particularly keen to enable those currently under-represented in the walking community to enjoy Greater Manchester’s incredible landscapes and heritage sites, especially those living in deprived areas, young people, those with disabilities or long-term health conditions, and different ethnic and faith groups.
“We believe that, as people explore Greater Manchester’s rich landscapes and history, it will increase their appreciation of and pride in their local area.”
For more information and news on the GM Ringway, including route maps, visit GMRingway.org.
Featured image: Supplied
Things To Do
Kings of Leon announce HUGE Manchester Co-op Live gig on 2024 world tour
Kings of Leon have announced a new run of UK shows as part of their 2024 world tour, and they’ll be coming to visit us here in Manchester.
Following on from the announcement of their brand-new album, as well as a headline performance at BST Hyde Park this summer, the beloved American rock band have now revealed details of their long-awaited Can We Please Have Fun World Tour that’s kicking off later this year, and are set to take to the stage at several major UK cities.
The multi award-winning Tennessee rockers’ UK and Ireland tour will officially open in Leeds on 20 June, all before they head on over to Birmingham, Bristol, London, Glasgow, Dublin, and Nottingham along the way.
Not only that, but alongside these shows, they’re also set to play down at Silverstone for the British F1 Grand Prix on 4 July too.
But what better way to end a show-stopping summer than here in Manchester?
After taking in the sights of the rest of the country, the Followill clan will be stopping off in our city for a major gig at Co-op Live this July, and tickets are set to go on sale this week.
As Manchester‘s newest – and soon-to-be the UK’s largest – live entertainment arena nears closer to officially opening its doors and welcoming visitors, Co-op Live has been slowly revealing the music acts set to grace the stage as part of its huge launch season jam-packed full of events.
Bolton comedian Peter Kay will open the arena with a special show this April, and countless other major world-renowned artists have all been announced as performing throughout the rest of the year – including Eagles, Olivia Rodrigo, Jonas Brothers, Eric Clapton, Take That, Simply Red, Niall Horan, and so more.
And now, it’s Kings of Leon’s turn.
Kings of Leon will be taking to the stage at Co-op Live on Wednesday 10 July as part of the Can We Please Have Fun World Tour tour.
They’ll be joined by British indie rockers The Vaccines as the support act in Manchester.
Kings of Leon – UK and Ireland Tour 2024
20 June: Leeds – First Direct Arena
22 June: Birmingham – Utilita Arena
23 June: Bristol – Ashton Gate Stadium
30 June: London – Hyde Park BST
2 July: Glasgow – OVO Hydro Arena
4 July: Silverstone – British F1 Grand Prix
6 July: Dublin – Marley Park
8 July: Nottingham – Motorpoint Arena
10 July: Manchester – Co-op Live Arena
Tickets officially go on sale this week, with fans able to pre-order the album from the band’s store before 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday 27 February) to get early access to tickets, and Co-op members given additional presale access on Wednesday (28 February) at 9am, all before the rest go on general sale this Friday (1 March) at 9am.
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival is back next month with 200 events over 10 days
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival is returning to the city centre next month, and bringing hundreds of events over 10 days along with it.
And when we say massive, we do mean it.
Manchester Irish Festival is the biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe, and it’s known and loved for putting on 10 whole days of Irish revelry in the heart of the city centre every year – with something for everyone of all ages to get involved with.
Taking place from Friday 8 March, right through to St Patrick’s Day on Sunday 17 March, you can expect a jam-packed lineup of events spanning the whole city this year.
Expected to shine a light on the vibrant Irish community here in Manchester, and flood the city with the best celebrations outside of the Emerald Isle itself, this year’s Manchester Irish Festival is will be made up of whopping 200 different events across the city, including a lively pop-up Irish Festival Village, a Limerick competition, and, of course, the return of the legendary Irish Parade.
This year’s Parade on Sunday 10 March will see more than 30 floats, dozens of stunning and colourful Irish dancers and bands, and hundreds of people march through the city centre with pride to showcase the culture, heritage, sounds, and joy of the Manchester Irish community.
Some of the other exciting events on this year’s Festival lineup include a traditional Ceili-Cise dancing class for adults, with everyone of all abilities able to take part and the promise of a “fun and friendly atmosphere”, and a huge 12-hour St Patrick’s Day party at the city’s biggest and best-loved Irish bar, O’Sheas.
If you head on down to the Irish World Heritage Centre, there’s also the chance to learn, network, and attend talks from social historians and more as part of the Irish National Studies Conference.
There’ll be a whopping 200 events happening over 10 days up until St Patrick’s Day / Credit: Kevin Gallagher (via YouTube)
And then, when it comes to the musical offering, Irish sensation Damien Dempsey is stopping off at Manchester Club Academy on Saturday 9 March – right in the middle of the scheduled celebrations – as part of his 2024 UK tour, and the “true master” of Irish music, according to Irish Music Magazine, John McSherry and band will perform songs from their debut album at Band On The Wall on Sunday 17 March.
So, like we said, there is quite literally something to satisfy everyone.