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Little Manor and Bridgewater Canal

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Little Manor and Bridgewater Canal
Author: pubwalker, Published: 25 Nov 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Little Manor and Bridgewater Canalstar1 Little Manor and Bridgewater Canalstar1 Little Manor and Bridgewater Canalstar1 Little Manor and Bridgewater Canalstar0 Little Manor and Bridgewater Canal
Cheshire, Warrington
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Little Manor and Bridgewater Canal
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Little Manor and Bridgewater Canal boot Little Manor and Bridgewater Canal
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12 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 11 mph SSW
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A 3.5 mile circular pub walk from the Little Manor in Thelwall, Cheshire. The Little Manor was built in 1660 and still exudes lots of original character. The walking route makes use of two adjacent long-distance trails. The outward leg follows a disused railway line which today is part of the Trans Pennine Trail, while the return leg follows the towpath alongside the Bridgewater Canal, part of the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk. The route is easy to follow and gives opportunity to enjoy the surrounding quiet rural countryside plus the bird and boat life along the canal.

The route is almost entirely flat. The disused railway line is a wide, stone-surfaced track making for easy walking. The return leg follows the grass/mud canal towpath which is much narrower and can be a bit soft in places, so if you have a pushchair with you, you may prefer to re-trace your steps back along the old railway instead. The path which joins the railway and canal sections includes a short flight of steps, a kissing gate and a squeeze gap. Approximate time 1.5 hours.

Thelwall is a suburban village of Warrington, Cheshire and is located very close to the Lymm junction of the M6. The walk starts and finishes from the Little Manor on Bell Lane, which has its own large car park. Approximate post code WA4 2SX.

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Walk Sections

Start to Trans Pennine Trail
Start to Trans Pennine Trail

Start point: 53.3823 lat, -2.5241 long
End point: 53.3788 lat, -2.5261 long

Standing in the pub car park, facing the pub’s front door, turn left and follow the car park lane round to the back of the pub. On the left you’ll find a small black metal gate which leads you into the adjacent playing field. Turn right for just a few paces and then turn left onto the stone path with the football pitch to the left and a row of trees to the right.

A little way along the path snakes right then left to continue running to the right of the trees. Keep ahead on the wider tarmac path which passes between houses. At the fork (with an oak tree) keep right then cross over the small road to continue on the tarmac path opposite.

You will come to a T-junction with the main A56 road. Turn right along the pavement. When you draw level with the side road (All Saints Drive) on the right, cross over the main road with care to join the marked footpath opposite. Follow this stone lane over a bridge and immediately afterwards turn left down the fenced slope to reach the Trans Pennine Trail.

Trans Pennine Trail to Bridgewater Canal
Trans Pennine Trail to Bridgewater Canal

Start point: 53.3788 lat, -2.5261 long
End point: 53.3809 lat, -2.497 long

At the bottom of the slope keep right to join the disused railway that forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail. Continue on this long straight path for some distance.

The track bed you are walking on was once part of the Warrington and Stockport Railway which was opened on 1st November 1853. Thelwall was served by a station here, which carried passengers to Warrington from where they could connect to Manchester. The line was closed to passengers in 1962, although it was still used for freight (including carrying coal to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station) until the early 1980s. Today the track bed forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail. The 207 mile long coast-to-coast foot and cycle trail runs from Southport on the west coast to Hornsea on the east coast.

Eventually you will pass under an old cast iron bridge and then the path climbs a little. You will hear the noise of the M6 motorway just ahead. Follow the path as it swings left and then right, passing under the M6. Continue on the trail as it descends once again and passes under the A56. Just after this bridge you’ll notice a stepped concrete block on the left (you may have noticed an identical one just before the bridge too). These blocks are to help horse riders dismount and remount as, with a clearance of just 8 feet 9 inches, the bridge is too low to ride under.

Continue just until you reach the next bridge over the old railway. Turn left just before this bridge, up the flight of wooden steps. Go through the kissing gate and then turn sharp right, through the squeeze gap, to cross the bridge over the old railway. Follow the path as it swings left passing the front of some pretty terraced cottages, and then right down a wider tarmac lane. You will come to a T-junction with the Bridgewater Canal.

Bridgewater Canal to Thelwall Underbridge
Bridgewater Canal to Thelwall Underbridge

Start point: 53.3809 lat, -2.497 long
End point: 53.3794 lat, -2.521 long

Turn right along the towpath, with the canal to the left. After just a short distance keep left at the fork to pass under the A56 bridge. Continue on the towpath which now becomes a narrow stone/grass path. Follow the towpath for some distance, passing back under M6 along the way.

The Bridgewater Canal takes its name from the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, Francis Egerton who commissioned it to serve his coal mines. The canal opened in 1761 from Worsley to Manchester and was later extended to run from Runcorn to Leigh. The Bridgewater is often considered to be the first true canal in Britain, as it relied upon existing watercourses only as sources of water rather than as navigable routes. The canal now forms an integral part of the Cheshire Rings network of canals. The 97 mile ring of canals takes about a week to navigate on a canal boat and so is very popular for narrowboat holidays. It passes through contrasting landscapes between Manchester city centre and rural Cheshire, with views of the Peak District and Cheshire Plain.

Much further along, you’ll pass a set of steps of to the right which lead down to the old railway that you used for your outward leg. Do not take these, instead keep ahead on the towpath passing over Thelwall Underbridge.

Thelwall Underbridge to End
Thelwall Underbridge to End

Start point: 53.3794 lat, -2.521 long
End point: 53.3824 lat, -2.5241 long

Continue on the canal towpath just as far as the next arched bridge overhead. Pass under this and then turn sharp right up the slope away from the canal. Bear left to join the stone track heading away from the bridge. The track leads you back over the old railway and you will come to a T-junction with the A56.

Note: From this point you will be re-tracing your steps back to the pub. Cross over the road with care and turn right along the pavement. Continue past the large white property on the right and, soon afterwards, fork left down the signed tarmac footpath. Cross over the side road and continue on the footpath opposite. At the junction of paths, with an oak tree, keep left and follow this path into the playing fields. Keep ahead and then follow the path as it snakes through the line of trees. Continue for just a short distance further to reach the Little Manor for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author pubwalker and may not be reproduced without permission.


3 responses to "Little Manor and Bridgewater Canal"

walking in feb/March means the toll path gets very muddy and slutchy. motorway and road noise spoiled it somewhat. Prob better in summer when dry and more leaves. x

By JimAli on 2015-03-08 16:15:15

A pleasant stroll. Nice pub

By rogeralexand on 2016-08-14 14:48:15

Great little stroll ending with a lovely pint of Aspall cider in the Little Manor. I would think it could be a little muddy unless its a nice day. It was beautiful in September!

By jasonmjblyth on 2016-09-25 15:04:44

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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