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Starting at the entrance to Manchester Victoria station, next to the ceramic tiled route map of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, this ride goes through the centre of Manchester and close to Manchester Piccadilly station, where it joins the Ashton Canal as far as Dukinfield, then takes the Peak Forest Canal to go on to Marple

Here there is a choice of routes, with two different options all the way to Birmingham. The first one to be described goes through Marple town to Rose Hill station, and then joins the Middlewood Way, the cycle track over the former Macclesfield to Marple railway line.

Just north of Macclesfield it joins the Macclesfield canal which it follows as far as Congleton, where it takes the Biddulph Valley Way, another former railway line, which it follows to just north of Stoke on Trent. Here it follows the towpath of the Caldon Canal towards the centre of the city, then passes through Hanley Park and past Stoke on Trent railway station where it joins the Trent & Mersey Canal to carry on south towards Stafford.

There is a further choice of routes available at Sandon Lock just north of Stafford. One will take you through the town centre via the Isabel Trail, whilst the other stays on the Trent & Mersey Canal towpath as far as Great Haywood, and then joins the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal to go on further south.

Both routes around Stafford meet up again on the canal towpath at Acton Trussell, just south of Stafford. We then follow the “Staffs and Worcs” canal towpath for most of the way to the outskirts of Wolverhampton where, at Aldersley Junction, we join the Birmingham Canal Main Line to take us to Gas Street Basin in the centre of Birmingham.  

The second route from Marple to Birmingham leaves by way of the Peak Forest Canal which it follows to its end at Whaley Bridge, where it goes over the hills to Buxton, and then goes further up into the High Peak until it joins the High Peak Trail at Dowlow.

It then follows that trail, along the course of the former Cromford & High Peak Railway until it arrives at Cromford High Peak Junction, and then takes the towpath of the Cromford Canal as far as Ambergate. An on-road section then follows to Derby where it runs alongside the River Derwent and, in the south western suburbs of Derby at Mickleover, takes another former railway line which has been converted to a cycle track as far as Egginton Junction.

There is another short on-road section here to the northern outskirts of Burton on Trent, after which it mainly follows the course of the Trent & Mersey Canal to its junction with the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal at Fradley. Leaving Fradley, again on the canal towpath, it takes the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal to travel on to Birmingham Gas Street Basin where it rejoins the “Potteries” route.  

South of Birmingham the route is mainly along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, including the flight of locks at Tardebigge, until the journey ends at the junction of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the River Severn at Worcester.


A4 format, 102 pages, 188 illustrations - Price £15.95 including postage and packing

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