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
There’s a big 3D animal egg hunt happening at Chester Zoo this Easter
Chester Zoo is gearing up to launch a new Easter egg hunt when schools are out next month – but there’s a bit of a twist.
With Easter right around the corner, and schools soon to be out across Greater Manchester, if you’re looking for something a little different to do with the kids that keeps them both entertained and educated at the same time, then Chester Zoo has got you covered.
The UK’s largest charity and conservation zoo is launching the ‘Really Wild Egg Trail’ at the start of April.
All set to be a proper “educational adventure”, the trail will see giant 3D eggs hidden around the zoo’s 128-acre site – but the catch is, each of the hidden eggs belong to animals that you might not expect to hatch from eggs.
With an interactive map specially designed by National Geographic, there’ll be a total of six hidden eggs to seek out.
Once little explorers have found all six eggs hidden around the zoo, they can then make their way over to the on-site gift shop to pick up a Nat Geo Kids magazine that’s usually worth £4.99 for free.
“This Easter you can expect something a little different at Chester Zoo,” Customer Development Manager Elinor Trigg said ahead of the start of the trail next month.
“From the largest lizard in the world to tiny invertebrates, this educational adventure will help to shine a spotlight on our world-leading breeding programmes that are helping to save some of the most endangered animals on the planet, while connecting children to the natural world.”
“We’re home to more than 27,000 animals here at our charity zoo,” she continued.
“The trail is a wonderful way to learn more about some incredible, endangered species and, at the same time, take part some Easter-egg fun.”
Manchester Thunder are attempting a Netball Super League record and you can help them break it
Reigning netball champions Manchester Thunder are returning to the AO Arena once again this spring and are hoping to smash a league record in the process.
The best part is, you can help them break it by simply grabbing a ticket.
The high-flying Northern side are enjoying yet another impressive season, currently sitting second in the Netball Super League with a game in hand on Surrey Storm at the top of the table.
However, as well as hoping to retain their NSL title and win their fifth trophy in just over a decade, the Thunder are also looking to earn themselves a league record in their upcoming game against local rivals Leeds Rhinos at the AO and it’s looking very doable.
Heading back to the AO Arena for the first in over a year since their last meeting at the legendary Manc venue back in March 2022, the fixture promises to be “bigger and better than ever”.
After besting the Rhinos (52–67) over at Leeds Beckett earlier this month, Manchester Thunder are now looking to surpass the blockbuster scenes from last year’s arena match, where more than 4,000 fans turned up to see them take on the league’s newest team, with a target of at 5,960 attendees now set.
Dubbed the ‘Battle of the Roses’, the Lancashire lot’s aim is to not only beat their Yorkshire counterparts once again but to beat the official NSL record for the most supporters at a home netball game, which currently stands at 5,959.
Netball Manchester Live 2023 is already one of Manchester’s biggest annual sporting events but with this milestone now up for grabs, it’s set to be a big afternoon whether you’re a netball fan, a fan of sport in general or just want to play your small part of history.
The sport as a whole is riding quite the high in recent years, with a record crowd of nearly 9,000 fans piling into Birmingham’s Utilita Arena for the season opener back in 2020, where all 10 teams compete in a massive day of netball action.
Cementing themselves as one of the best teams in the NSL, Manchester Thunder are hoping to keep pushing that momentum further and, who knows, with the AO Arena capacity at around 21,000, they could even go on to break international records in the 10,000s.
With over 2,000 tickets already sold, Manchester’s premier netball team are on track to reach a record attendance, but every friend, family member and netball-lover you convince to come along helps them move a step closer to achieving this amazing feat.
Tickets for Manchester Thunder vs Leeds Rhinos Netball at the AO Arena on 7 May are on sale now. You can grab yours HERE and we hope to see you there!