Some years ago (2007/8) I noted that certain towns around Salford had long distance trails, mainly Rochdale with the Rochdale Way and Oldham with the Oldham Way, plus many other long distance trails nearby.

    Although Salford has the Irwell Valley Way Sculpture Trail passing through it, it is not completely within the city. I viewed this as an anomaly with Salford as a city having so much green space and such a rich history It deserved to be able to show these things to the full in the form of The Salford Trail. With this aim in view, I started by joining up all the Public Rights of Way (PROW) with river and canal side paths to form a continuous trail to be as long as possible and reaching as many diverse areas as could be found, bearing in mind that we had country parks, canal and river side paths, moss lands and many miles of official PROW.

    Then with the help of my good friend and walking partner Al Tomlinson, we set out to check and record as many paths as possible to create such a trail, taking many hours over the following months and years. -It was a long, but rewarding job and by mid 2012 what was decided as an acceptable route was put onto a web site, with just the tidying up to do.

    However, it was not always an easy task as Salford is an ever changing city in lots of ways and one had to select paths that would be preserved in the long term and along the way changes had to be made.

    All the land which it was hoped to pass over does not belong to the Salford City Council and what could have been construed as trespassing had to be carefully monitored and although the paths are well used on a daily basis, permission would have to be given by the land owner, In lots of cases Peel Holdings, to create an official and permanent path. To date, this is still not complete and there are routes still in abeyance, awaiting agreement. (July 2014) and it may be that the eventuality will be to bypass all land owned by Peel to create a defined and fixed path, although this may increase the amount of the trail that is on rather than off road.

    At date, November 2014, there are major projects going ahead that affect the route of the Salford Trail and may result in diversions. These are the Leigh Guided Bus Way, Port Salford and the Ordsall Chord railway link that are affecting the route in 2014 and 2015.

    The original route when completed was a linear route around 45 miles in length from Salford Quays to the bridge over the Glaze Brook between Cadishead and Hollins Green.

    When the second phase of the Cadishead Way opened and almost at the same time, a new road linking Salford Quays and Media City with Eccles, that created the opportunity to make the walk a complete circular of over 59 miles in length (59.464 miles - 94.255 km), this was done, but as the extra route was along a main road the only bonus was the extra mileage and some views of the canal and its wildlife.

    The route was finally completed around 2012 as a full circular trail, but has had to be updated to accommodate changes.

    The route carried on down the full length of the Cadishead Way through to Barton by way of an unofficial, but well used path along the canal behind what is now the Salford City Stadium.

    This land belonged to Peel Holdings and when work started on the new road bypass at Liverpool Road and plans for Port Salford were put into place, there was no option, but to change the route.

    This has been done and the Trail diverted via the old bed of the river Irwell (still in water and fished) past the Boathouse Inn at Ferry Lane and then via Liverpool Road back to Barton Moss along different paths, but eventually having to back-track, for a short distance over a path already walked.

    In the eventuality of Port Salford being finished, it will be possible to look at changing the route again to make the Trail a more attractive route with more off-road paths that will be fixed for the long term.

    Down at the Chapel Street Salford end the original route used to pass along New Bailey Street to Chapel Street to Trinity and Greengate, until developments along the river opened up new possibilities once certain building work had been completed and a riverside path was created.

    This however did not last long and other work was completed near the Lowry Hotel and it was possible to change the route via a quiet Clowes Street direct to Chapel Street and Sacred Trinity Church rather than a busy and noisier Blackfriars Street.

    The eventuality, when all criteria have been met, will be to have The Salford Trail added to Ordnance Survey maps, although the full circular route may not be added initially, but only when Port Salford is complete and new footpaths are known.

    As it stands at the moment, the Salford Trail will be a linear route starting at Salford Quays and finishing at Liverpool Road outside Irlam train station, the reason for this is that it is an ideal finish for public transport bus and rail access. As it is thought that this route is fixed will not be changed it also gives the opportunity to move forward and prepare it for inclusion on OS maps. with any further distance added later.

    In the meantime the whole of the circular route, which can be walked back to Salford Quays, via Irlam Moss and Barton will remain on the website for those who wish to complete the full
    60 miles - 96.560 km circular.

    The eventuality is to have the Salford Trail added to the Ordnance Survey Explorer maps numbers 276 and 277, but to achieve this certain criteria had to be met, which included permission from all owners of land which it crosses, full signage and direction posts in place and a web site or manual that can be accessed.

    The newly formed group (at the time) of the Ramblers Association that oversee the Salford and Manchester areas was approached and they embraced the scheme wholeheartedly and today all the outstanding criteria have been met and put in place. Their contribution has been invaluable and much thanks is owed to them for the work, enthusiasm and funding that they provided along with the help of T.f.G.M.

    There are also a set of ten leaflets of individual walks plus one generic introduction leaflet, which have been produced and funded by the Salford and Manchester Ramblers group and the design team of the Salford City Council. These can be picked up at your local Gateway Centre in Salford, or downloaded from the "Visit Salford" website. visitsalford.info/thesalfordtrail 

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