Group walk report 28th May

The group at Meccano Bridge at Prestolee Locks Staircase.

The East Cheshire Ramblers used trains for a recent linear walk between Salford Crescent and Bolton Stations for this thirteen mile ramble along the lower reaches of the Irwell Valley.
Leaving Salford Crescent we were soon in rural countryside and skirted the area which was once the site of Manchester Race Course and was first recorded as being in existence in 1647 and finally closed in 1847. To reach Ringley our route followed closely the wooded banks of the River Irwell on good paths with a stop for a picnic lunch en route. In places there were reminders of the former Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal including our crossing of the old Clifton Aqueduct which is where the canal crossed the River Irwell.
In Ringley we paused to take a look at the historic Ringley Bridge over the River Irwell. The bridge dates from 1677 and was built to replace an older wooden bridge which was swept away in floods in 1673. Nearby is an interesting clock tower which dates from1625 is now once more in working order.
Crossing the A667 we now followed the canal towpath for the next mile to the Prestolee Aqueduct. This proved to be an interesting section of the canal as it ran along the side of a steep hill side. Directly below was the community of Prestolee complete with church and mill which could have been a similar scene one hundred years ago.
We next crossed the ancient Prestolee Aqueduct which opened in 1793 and spanned the River Irwell and just above it was the Prestolee Canal Staircase. The site had been cleared of vegetation to reveal the extensive stonework. Plans are afoot to restore this flight of locks. What is unusual is the work that has been carried out and several features made out of large scale Meccano have been constructed including a seat, picnic benches and largest of all a Meccano Bridge over the canal. This unique site made a good afternoon tea stop.
The walk towards Bolton continued via Moses Gate Country Park and later over the two former railway viaducts at Darcy Lever and Burnden which have now been converted to a cycleway and walkway. This led us nicely in towards Bolton where we timed it just right for our return train journey.

The historic bridge over the River Irwell at Ringley.

This is one we made earlier! The group trying out a Meccano picnic bench at Prestolee Locks Staircase.