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Walking and Cycling Routes around Portland Basin Museum

Home > Manchester > Cycling | Escape the City | Free | Outdoor | Walks
by Jay Johnson (subscribe)
Living, working and writing in the rainy city of Manchester.
Published January 22nd 2018
Walk or cycle around these historical canal side routes
If you want to get fit and get outdoors more, this is a great activity for you. Starting from the Portland Basin Museum, you can enjoy scenic routes around the local area.

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Take a stroll by the canals


Starting from the Portland Basin Museum are a range of walking or cycling routes for you to enjoy. It is a great way to explore the scenic countryside setting you might not even realise is right on your doorstep in Manchester. Most people know this city as busy and industrial, but there are beautiful spots all around if you know where to look. This is the perfect opportunity to get away from the rat race and step out in nature.

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Discover hidden parts of Manchester


If you like walking, there are many peaceful spots along the Peak Forest Canal to discover. The canal is situated right outside the Portland Basin Museum, where you can begin your walk. With free parking at the museum it is the perfect place to start a day trip. There are three different walks planned out by Tameside Metropolitan Borough for you to enjoy:

The History and Heritage walk

This two-mile circular route is perfect for people just starting an exercise routine or those looking for a relaxing walk with a touch of culture. The route passes by several key places showcasing Ashton's industrial past. A great walk for history buffs, you can see the Ashton canal which was completed in 1796 as a way to transport coal, visit St Peter's Church, the Ashton Old Baths and even pay a trip to the Central Art Gallery. This is the perfect walk for a day of history, culture and nature.

The Heart of the Tame Valley

This walk along the Peak Forest Canal and River Tame is approximately 4 miles long perfect for seasoned walkers and those looking for a longer route to explore. Along the Peak Forest Canal route, you will pass Plantation Farm and Guide Bride Station. This is a scenic and tranquil route where you may catch a glimpse of wildlife such as the Kingfisher often spotted by the canals. You will be surprised by the nature and wildlife all around Manchester.

Three Canals and a River

This three-mile walk takes in three different canals, the Ashton, Huddersfield Narrow and the Peak along with the River Tame. This is a great route for walkers of all abilities and perfect for boating lovers to see all the different canals. Along the way, you will see the beautiful wildlife and enjoy the peaceful route.

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Which way will you go?


These walks are well designed, easy to follow and allow you to explore the picturesque countryside. Most people don't consider all the nature around the city, but there is in fact, lots of natural spaces to explore. The canals provide easy routes to follow, the flat paths are great for enjoying a low impact form of exercise. The range of routes are great for anyone from beginners to more adventurous walkers or you can try all three and see all the culture and history by the canals. The cycling routes provided give longer paths for cyclists to explore:

Pedal Ashton Canal

This five-mile route goes to the Fairfield Moravian Settlement and back. The settlement is part of Manchester's history dating back to 1785 and is a great place to visit. It was built by the Moravians as a self-contained village for Christians. On the route, you will pass Guide Bridge, Guide Bridge Mill and Oxford Mill which was built in 1845.

Pedal Peak Forest Canal

This four-mile route allows you to explore the medieval history of the area. Along the way you can explore the 16th Century Old Hall Chapel, Newton Hall a medieval cruck-framed building built in the 1300's and travel down Lovers' Alley where horses used to pull coal down to the canals.

These cycling routes are perfect for escaping the busy roads and riding somewhere safe away from vehicles. Both the walking and cycling routes are great ways to explore the area, get some fresh air and exercise and do something different. There are so many natural spots in greater Manchester perfect for day trips. Lovers of history and nature will have a brilliant time exploring these routes.

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Make your weekends more interesting with a walk somewhere new


Add it to your to-do list and explore the amazing natural spaces around the Portland Basin Museum.
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Why? To explore the canals around Portland Basin Museum
When: Anytime
Where: Starting from: Portland Basin Museum, 1 Portland Pl, Ashton-under-Lyne OL7 0QA
Cost: Free
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