The Salford Trail
Cadishead to Salford Quays, 10.5 miles
Cadishead to Salford Quays 10.5 miles.
Although the linear section of the walk finishes at the bridge over the Glaze Brook, Cadishead, it is now possible to add another 10.5 mile section back to Salford Quays to create a circular walk of around 54 miles.
The last section of the walk takes advantage of the recently opened, second phase of the Irlam and Cadishead by-pass and a new road between Eccles town centre and Salford Quays, but taking in as much off-road walking as is possible.
Although this section, before walking it, may seem like an arduous and boring option it has much to offer. It skirts the Manchester Ship Canal for much of the walk, offering many opportunities to study the bird-life, now so well established, with swan, duck, geese, heron and cormorants as common and numerous as sparrows and pigeons.
There are many instances of the old bed and course of the river Irwell, pre ship-canal to be seen, with one section at the side of the Boathouse pub in Irlam still in water and regularly fished and another two sections in water, just before Barton Locks.
The river Mersey entering the canal on the opposite bank can be clearly seen as can some of the original high level rail bridges and the locks give glimpses of industrial architecture well over 100 years old.
The two new road sections have pedestrian and cycle paths and grass verges alongside the main road so are pleasant enough to walk along.
From the old stone bridge over the Glaze Brook at Cadishead walk towards the new A57, Cadishead Way. There is an enticing wooded area just before the road, which can be passed through, but it is small and delivers no great satisfaction or advantage.
The first object of interest on the walk is almost immediate, appearing on the traffic round-about at the junction of the Cadishead Way and Liverpool Road
It is ‘Marge and Steel. A sculpture, which was designed as a gateway feature into Salford from Warrington and is the first of many improvements planned for the regeneration of Liverpool Road. It is symbolic of the Margarine Factory and Irlam Steel Works, one of the biggest in the country, and the contribution made by the local people to the local economy. It is also the first public art on a roundabout in Salford.
The design is based upon an idea developed with the community by artists Marcela Livingston and Liam Curtain, who asked local people about the history of the place where the sculpture is sited. Children wanted a modern superhero theme and adults talked about the Steel and Margarine works that used to be here. Retired workers remembered the tea dances they enjoyed. An idea was developed to portray the dance of these two industries which forged people’s lives together in Irlam and Cadishead.
On reaching the road and the side of the canal walk along the path with the canal on the right and there should be an immediate reward of cormorants, swan, geese and ducks.
Further along the first high level rail bridge is encountered, once linking Glazebrook and Carrington on either side of the canal. The line is now disused and the centre of the bridge is blocked by large steel shipping containers. Just underneath the bridge used to be the Partington Coal Basin
The bridge was once a low level bridge over the river Irwell and the first station stop after crossing the river was at Cadishead station, which stood just off Liverpool Road diagonally across from the George Hotel.
Immediately after the bridge the road moves in away from the canal side, shortly after on the left, an old shunting engine will be seen, newly painted and renovated. This once served its working life in the C.W.S. soap works at Irlam. It had no fire to stoke and its steam reservoir was charged with steam from a boiler in the factory. This avoided the soot and fumes common to other engines. After the closure of the works it was given to the Local Authority and located in nearby Prince's Park where it became rather neglected and was seen as a hazard to children to the extent that it was destined to be scrapped.
the local Rotary Club "adopted" the engine and the road building firm building Phase II of the Irlam and Cadishead by-pass (Birse) offered to restore and relocate the engine to a display site by the new road.
The road eventually moves back to the canal side again just before the second high level bridge. Just before the bridge look across to the opposite side of the canal, where the river Mersey enters, ending its journey from its beginning at Stockport.
About 140 yards after the high level bridge turn left into Fairhills Road, walk up for about 350 yards and the old bed of the river Irwell, still in water, will be met on the right. There are paths at either side of the water, leading to the same end, so it is optional which to take. Follow the path to its end next to the Boathouse pub.
Turn right at Ferry Road, which passes in front of the pub and emerge out onto Cadishead Way where there is a crossing to the opposite side next to the canal. Here there is evidence of the former Irlam ferry across to Flixton There is now a swing bridge over the Irlam locks to allow safe passage over the canal.
Turn left towards Eccles and walk along the path between the road and the canal. There is a fence between the road and the path and the traffic is quite close and noisy. However, this does not last long and the road and the path soon part company, with the path soon passing into a wooded area, which is quite pleasant to walk, although at the height of summer the natural greenery can become overgrown.
Follow the path, with the canal on the right, but keeping to the left as much as possible, using a path that is obviously used as bike track. This does not create a problem as it is a hard surface and the bikes seem to hinder weed growth. After a while another stretch of the old river bed is passed, which is still in water, pass over the bridge between it and the canal.
About a hundred yards or so after there is evidence of another ferry over the canal to Davyhulme, this is in limited use at the moment after being out of action for a number of years. Another stretch of water further along is again the course of the old river, but this section still flows, due to the Salteye Brook flowing into it.
The area here is of particular interest if one is interested in the old river Irwell course, as it was the place where a large double bend was cut across by the Stickings Cut, which was entered by the Stickings Lock. This was cut right through when the canal was built and any tangible evidence of it, other than the two sections of river bed in water, would be on the opposite side of the canal.
At the pint where the ferry stage is on the right, the path turns left and heads twords Boysnope Golf Club walk along for about 100 yards then turn right, following the path at the right hand side of the golf driving range, it carries on over open fields for quite a distance before running alongside the Salteye Brook on the right.
There is some major construction work taking place and the footpath goes through it, but it is separated and clearly defined, eventuall reaching the road leading to the Salford Rugby Stadium. Follow the path to the right towards the canal and under the motorway bridge M60.
Carry on under the M60 motorway and past the sewage works until the path terminates a few hundred yards short of the road swing bridge across the canal at Redclyffe Road
A gate at the end of the path leads into Peel Green Road and the end of the off-road walking. Turn right and walk to the end of the road, crossing over at the traffic lights. Just on the right after the lights there is an area leading down towards the canal side and a place to sit for a while. Note the stonemason’s marks in the wall and on the opposite side of Barton Lane, a section of the original Barton Aqueduct, which carried the canal over the river but has now been set in the wall as an historical feature.
Carry on under the Bridgewater canal on Barton Lane, continuing towards Eccles town Centre. Just before Eccles town centre, turn right into Bentcliffe Way, which runs behind the Morrison’s store, turning right at Gilda Brook Road, on to Centenary Way.
Pass by the Centenary Bridge over the canal and follow the road, which is alongside the canal in most parts. The new section of road with cycle path, footpath and grass verges, runs straight through towards Salford Quays, just before which, a set of traffic lights allows a right turn into the new Media City section of the Quays.
Much of Media City is now open to workers and the public and is easily traversed to the new Metrolink tram stop and onward through the Quays to the starting point at the Salford Quays Metrolink stop, where the Salford Trail circular walk ends.