Monday, 25 August 2014

Roe Green Loopline 3, M61 to Bolton

This route is largely traffic free and runs for just over two miles, mostly along or alongside what is left of the disused trackbed of the Roe Green Loopline in Bolton. The Roe Green Loopline was opened in 1870 from Roe Green to Bolton, via Walkden Low Level. A key function of the lines was to support the surrounding collieries in conjunction with the Bridgewater canal, the largest of which was at Mosley Common, one of the biggest pits in the UK at its prime.

This post covers the section from the boundary between Salford and Bolton at the crossing of the M61 to Haywood Park in Bolton where the route simply stops. It is a continuation of a previous post Roe Green Loopline 2, Walkden to the M61.

However, after crossing the M61 the route first has to turn east to get back to the route of the Roe Green Loopline along the route of another mineral line to the south of the housing estate in Highfeld. This line linked Brackley Colliery to the west and Ashton's Field Colliery to the east. As you cycle north along Anchor Lane after crossing the motorway the path is on your right, just before the houses start.



Initially path is very narrow, muddy and strewn with rubbish



and there is this dreadful set of barriers to add to the grim nature of the area.



However, within a few yards, the path improves



and after about 300yds turn sharp left, and climb up to rejoin the Roe Green Loopline.

The mineral line went under the Roe Green Loopline at this point and turned gradually south, with a short branch line turning off, just past this point into the centre of Farnworth.



The top of the embankment is intact here and the path well surfaced.



However, the path becomes the pavement on the left of Medow Walk, once a curving siding,



and runs straight into this set of steps where the bridge under Highfield Road has been filled in. You can tell this is supposed to be the cycle route, because of the grove on the left for you to wheel your bike up... The easier answer is to turn left along Medow Walk and right onto Highfield Road



On Highfield Road this is the left hand entrance to the next part of the path, and the easiest to negotiate.



The path drops down into the cutting again



Before climbing the left side of the cutting at the site of Plodder Lane railway station.



Across Plodder Lane the cutting has been filled in and at this point the markings for NCN55 disappear on the TfGM map.



However, a fairly broad path continues to follow the route of the railway down to Colchester Drive.



Past Colchester Drive it narrows somewhat, but is still navigable on a bike



However, the path starts to twist and turn to the left of the old railway, which by this point is covered in houses.



After several sharp bends the path straightens out again



and drops down with the Royal Bolton hospital to the left and the old railway, now on an embankment to the right. At this barrier the route returns to the TfGM map, which is complete nonsense.



At the end of this section the path crosses Minerva Road and goes down this track to the left of the railway embankment



and past the farm on the left.



The path continues past the farm



and then dips steeply down to Will Hill Brook where the TfGM map stops making the cycle route.



Here the embankment rises steeply on the right



As the path climbs back up to the end of Freshfield Avenue, on the left, it returns to the trackbed and the TfGM map marks this as a cycle route shortly after



Now the path changes character, becoming a wide tarmaced railway path passing under Lever Edge Lane.



The path even has lighting,



but the surface is uneven in places and a bit wet towards Settle Street.



Past Settle Street, the path changes again, and here a school has been built on the trackbed and the location of sidings. Here the path takes the less obvious route to the left of the school



and runs along the left side of the old cutting.



after the school the cutting has been filled in as it reaches Lever Street.



At the entrance to Heywood Park the railway line went underground,



possibly as a cut and cover tunnel under the path, though I've not been able to find any information on it.



At Bridgeman Street the cycle route just stops. There is nothing more marked on the TfGM map and nothing on the road. The path of the railway is marked here by the trees beyond the car park which were in front of the old school, which is in the process of being demolished. At this point the line was joined by the LMSR from the west.



From Shaw Street you can still see the line of trees in the cutting, but beyond Fletcher Street the railway and the site of the station has been obliterated by Sainsburies Supermarket and other retail developments. From here on the road network is dreadful, reflecting the car-dominated retail developments.




View Roe Green Loopline 3, M61 to Bolton in a larger map

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Roe Green Loopline 2, Walkden to the M61

This route is entirely traffic free and runs for one and three quarters miles, mostly along the disused trackbed of the Roe Green Loopline in Salford. The Roe Green Loopline was opened in 1870 from Roe Green to Bolton, via Walkden Low Level. A key function of the lines was to support the surrounding collieries in conjunction with the Bridgewater canal, the largest of which was at Mosley Common, one of the biggest pits in the UK at its prime.

This post covers the section from Parsonage Road in Walkden to the boundary between Salford and Bolton at the crossing of the M61. It is a continuation of a previous post Roe Green Loopline 1, Roe Green to Walkden.



From here the path surface is good tarmac with the light, reddish stone chipping.



The path then climbs under the Thirlmere Aqueduct.



This part of the path has metalwork painted bright red.



The path runs under Hilton Lane,



and further along under the A6, Manchester Road East, where the path looks rather neglected.



Past the A6, there is this terracing on both sides of the path. This was the site of Little Hulton railway station. The commemorative stone is getting a little overgrown.



A little further along the path ramps steeply up



to meet a small footpath between Coniston Grove and Mt Skip Lane.

Unfortunately there are two horrible U-shaped barriers like this blocking the railpath that would stop many pedal cycles.



It really is a small footpath that cuts the path at this point.



However, beyond the second barrier is the first of a series of murals on this section of the path that mark each of the access points. This is number 10.



The design came from a local school.




Number 9 'Kirkham' was mostly covered in dried grass.



Next under Clegg's Lane



where the path is looking neglected again, with lots of fly tipping.



Shortly after the number 8, the access from Clegg's Lane & Old Lane.



Then 7, Earlsdon Crescent.



6, Cirencester Close.



5, Chedworth Crescent.



Just after there is this complete map of this section.



Then, 4 is Old Lane and 3 is Chedworth Crescent.



The route to Old Lane is another railway route, though I didn't explore this one.



2 is another access to Chedworth Crescent



and this is 1, Spa Crescent. The mural was somewhat overgrown.



Shortly after the path hits a T junction. The left branch heads into a housing estate, but the official path is the right branch, but not along the obvious path. At this point you have to turn to the left across the grass and through the gap in the trees.



Keep following the vague mark in the grass where the surface is firmer, the metal posts also mark the way.



You eventually reach a gate



one of the most horrible bike barriers I've seen.



If you look to the left of the gate there is this gap which is easier than the U-barrier to the right.



Once out onto the road, turn right and the road then crosses the M61.



The next post follows the line into Bolton.


View Roe Green Loopline 2, Walkden to the M61 in a larger map