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The Wharf Manchester City Trail

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The Wharf Manchester City Trail
Author: Pub Walker, Published: 29 Nov 2013 Walk Rating:star1 The Wharf Manchester City Trail Pub walking Guidestar1 The Wharf Manchester City Trail Pub walking Guidestar1 The Wharf Manchester City Trail Pub walking Guidestar1 The Wharf Manchester City Trail Pub walking Guidestar0 The Wharf Manchester City Trail Pub walking Guide
Greater Manchester, Castlefields
Walk Type: Town or city
The Wharf Manchester City Trail
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Wharf Manchester City Trail Pub walking Guide
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A 2.5 mile circular pub walk from The Wharf in Castlefield, Manchester. The Wharf is a great city pub with lots of nooks and crannies, open buzzy areas and a really cracking menu. The walking route takes in some of the highlights of Manchester from the old canals and Gothic Revival town hall to the more recent additions such as the Civil Justice Centre.

The walk follows the paved towpaths and street pavements in the city. There are no stiles or gates on route, just a few steps. The route is almost entirely flat. Approximate time 1 to 1.5 hours.

Castlefield is a district just to the south west of Manchester city centre, close to where the A56 Chester Road crosses the A57(M). The walk starts and finishes from The Wharf pub on Slate Wharf. Approximate post code M15 4SW. The pub has its own car park, but if this is full there is additional pay and display parking on the road too.

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Walk Sections

Start to Tib Lock
Start to Tib Lock

Start point: 53.4735 lat, -2.2571 long
End point: 53.4743 lat, -2.2461 long

Leave the pub car park back onto the road, Slate Wharf. Turn right passing the side of the pub and continue until you reach the water ahead. Take a moment to enjoy the wharf area here.

Castlefield district was the site of the Roman era fort of Mamucium, established in AD 79, which guarded the Roman road that ran from Deva Victrix (Chester) to Eboracum (York). Castlefield is a conservation area as a result of its rich industrial history. More of that later...

Turn left for a couple of paces and then fork left to join the path which leads you across the ornate white arched footbridge. At the far side of the bridge, keep right passing in front of a wharf-side bar. Turn right to cross over the first cobbled bridge, with Lock Number 92 to your left. Turn left onto the towpath which runs along the right of the canal.

Pass under the simple stone bridge (No. 100) and then the ornate red and cream iron structure which carries the railway overhead. The towpath leads you under Deansgate Tunnel and up a slope alongside Lock Number 91. Continue along the towpath with several bars and restaurants set into the old arches of Old Deansgate Locks to the left.

In 1804 the Rochdale Canal became the first of three trans-Pennine canals to be opened. It runs for 32 miles from the Castlefield Basin in Manchester to Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire. Principal cargoes included coal, agricultural produce and materials for the textiles industry.

Continue until you reach the next lock, Tib Lock, Number 98.

Tib Lock to Town Hall
Tib Lock to Town Hall

Start point: 53.4743 lat, -2.2461 long
End point: 53.479 lat, -2.2432 long

Keep straight ahead along the towpath, with the canal to the left. You will pass a number of old mills and warehouses each side.

The building of the canal network triggered an early-19th-century factory building boom which transformed Manchester from a township into a major mill town that was granted city status in 1853. Improved efficiency from the canal halved the cost of coal and halved the transport cost of raw cotton. Manchester was, for a time, the most productive centre of cotton processing, and later became the world's largest marketplace for cotton goods. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term ‘manchester’ is still used for household linen such as bedding.

When you draw level with Lock Number 87, turn sharp right up the shallow steps and then turn right again to cross the bridge over the canal. Keep straight ahead along Princess Street. At the first crossroads, keep straight ahead signed to Town Hall. If you glance to the right down Faulkner Street, you’ll see one of the ornate gates for the China Town district of the city.

You will pass the entrance to the Arts Centre on the right and a little further along you’ll see the very large ornate town hall building to the left. Cross the tram line ahead with care, and then cross over Princess Street to reach the corner of the gothic town hall.

Town Hall to Deansgate
Town Hall to Deansgate

Start point: 53.479 lat, -2.2432 long
End point: 53.4794 lat, -2.2487 long

Manchester Town Hall is Grade I listed and is regarded as one of the finest interpretations of Gothic Revival architecture in the world. The foundation stone was laid on 26 October 1868, construction took nine years and used 14 million bricks. The exterior is dominated by the clock tower which rises to 87 metres and houses Great Abel, the clock bell.

From the corner of the town hall keep ahead to follow Cooper Street as it bends right, following the line of the town hall to the right. You will pass under two covered bridges which connect the original town hall to the extension building (built in 1938) to the left. You will emerge out to the corner of Albert Square. Here you can take more time to appreciate the town hall building should you wish.

Go ahead along the left-hand edge of Albert Square, passing Carlton House on the left. Beyond this, cross over the road to go straight ahead along Lloyd Street. You will emerge to a crossroads with Deansgate.

Deansgate to End
Deansgate to End

Start point: 53.4794 lat, -2.2487 long
End point: 53.4736 lat, -2.2571 long

Cross over Deansgate with care and take Harman Street directly opposite. Here you will have chance to enjoy the more modern architecture in this legal quarter of the city. You will emerge to Hardman Square.

Hardman Square is home to Spinningfields, developed in the 2000s as a modern business, retail and residential quarter of the city. It is often likened to being the Canary Wharf of Manchester. The flagship (and tallest) building here is the Civil Justice Centre built in 2007 which houses the County Court, the District High Court as well as other court services.

Turn left along the left-hand edge of the square (Byrom Street) and at the crossroads (with Manchester Opera House to the left) cross over Quay Street to continue on Byrom Street. You will pass St John’s Gardens on the right.

Keep ahead until you reach the junction with Camp Street on the left and a development of flats ahead. Turn right here, along the paved Culvercliff Walk. At the end of the walkway you’ll come to a T-junction with Lower Byrom Street, turn left along this.

You will pass the Museum of Science and Industry on the right, housed in the former Liverpool Road railway station. At the T-junction, cross over the main road and take the smaller road (Duke Street) opposite. Continue ahead on Duke Street heading down towards the railway arches. On the right you’ll pass the Castlefield Roman Granary, ruins from the original Mamucium.

Pass under the first railway arch and then follow the pavement as it swings right running under the rail line. At the T-junction, turn left passing out from the rail line via another arch. Immediately after the arch turn right and then cross over the white arched footbridge. At the far side you’ll find the Wharf 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.

1 comments for "The Wharf Manchester City Trail"

An interesting city walk with lots of industrial history to view. Minor (arguably) detail the canal walked along is the Rochdale Canal: The Bridgewater Canal ends, and has a junction with the Rochdale, at Castlefield. It's well worth lengthening the walk to include the north bank of the River Irwell.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Thanks for letting us know Roger, we've corrected the references to the name of the canal.

By rogerbrice on 30 Jan 2015

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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