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Wigan waterways and woodlands

Walkers had a wonderful time exploring the woods and waterways of Wigan on our autumn walk.

This fantastic circular route devised by Dr Andrew Read, creator of the GM Ringway long-distance trail, catered both for those travelling by train and by car with two meet-up points, at Wigan North Western Station and Trencherfield Mill car park. Unfortunately, some of the group were scheduled to travel on a train that was cancelled, leading to a slightly delayed start, but apart from this all went smoothly.

Right at the start, the Chair of CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester, Debbie McConnell, introduced the walk and explained CPRE’s work in defending the Green Belt. The group then set out towards the canal, joining it close to the historic Wigan Pier, before heading east along the canal. This section of the Leeds-Liverpool canal is famed for its flight of 21 locks, raising the canal by 200 feet (60 metres) in a distance of only two miles.

The group paused for a lunch break at Top Lock, and some visited neighbouring Kirkless Inn before resuming the walk.

After lunch, the group continued to walk alongside the canal on a very pretty stretch through open countryside with wide views. The autumn colours were absolutely spectacular, brightening what was otherwise quite a grey day.

On reaching the bridge within Haigh Woodland Park, we left the canal and descended through woodland on what is part of the route of the GM Ringway trail. This took the group through the wooded Haigh Lower Plantation.

The final part of this section led alongside the waterside of the River Douglas all the way to Wigan town centre, for the short stroll along Standishgate and Wallgate back to the start.

Approximately half of the walk explored the Green Belt of Wigan borough, which has the highest proportion of green space of any metropolitan borough in the country.

Many thanks to Dr. Andrew Read for leading the walk, and to our volunteers Graham Allanson and Alasdair Forman for organising the day. We were also delighted to see so many Ramblers members from the Manchester Weekend Walkers group joining supporters of the CPRE on the walk.

Our next walk will be announced soon. Join our Meetup group to hear about future events first!

CPRE walkers exploring the wonderful woodland around Wigan