Sunday, 12 May 2013
The Kirklees Trail - Bury to Greenmount
This is possibly the busiest railway path I've seen so far in Greater Manchester, but first you have to find it. It is the old Bury to Holcombe Brook Line, opened in 1882 it is unusual for it's early electrification.
Starting in Bury, this is yet another case where you should not follow the NCN 6 signs, they send you down a pavement, then dump you onto a road with part time cycle lanes!
From Bolton Street, the trick is to head north along Castlecroft Road, and under the bridge towards the fire station.
You go under the ring road, and then turn left where the large rocks block the road.
The path at this stage runs through a park and swings west to join the old railway line at the viaduct over the River Irwell.
The path then crosses Woodhill Road, and then goes steeply up because the old railway cutting has been filled in.
The path emerges into a new housing estate and crosses Brandlesholme Road, where there are crossing lights you can use.
On the other side the path decends steeply to the level of the old track bed again.
After a short while the view opens out to reveal the new viaduct at Woolford, opened by Sustrans in May 2012 at a cost of £650,000, built slightly lower than the original bridge.
As you approach there are some lovely iron sculptures on your right and a bench seat.
The other side the path rises again,
and for a while enters a cutting,
before the view re-emerges to your left.
Past the site of Tottington Station the path goes under Kirklees Street.
The next bridge is Tottington Viaduct,
which carries the line over a small lake.
The path has a local variation on cycle barriers, with these low step-over gates, presumably designed for the horses which use the path. You do have to watch out for horse shit along the way. This is where Shepherd Street crosses.
The path splits in two at the end, horses left, people to the right.
As you emerge at the site of Greenmount Station this bench marks the end of the path by Brandelsholme Road.
To stay on NCN 6, turn right down the hill, then turn left into Vermon Road.
It's only just over 3 miles in lenght, but it's a busy little path with lots of youngsters out in groups on bikes or walking, so it feels safe.
View The Kirklees Trail in a larger map
Additional info from the Railway Ramblers North West Group newsletter.