The Fred Perry Way, Stockport, Cheshire, England


The Fred Perry Way is a 15-mile walking route across the Borough of Stockport, from Reddish in the north to Woodford in the south, (or the other way). It combines urban areas, historic sites, rural footpaths, quiet lanes, parks and river valleys. The walk was devised in 2002 in conjunction with the NHS, and named after Fred Perry, who was born in Stockport and won Wimbledon 3 times.

We had decided to walk from the North to the South of the Borough. Due to a lack of frequent public transport in the area, we took two cars. We left one car near the end of the path in Woodford, and then parked the other one in a free car park on Ashbrook Lane, near the start which is at North Reddish Park, Reddish on the B6167.

A good start to the walk was finding a sign about Fred Perry (9.30am). We followed the signs across North Reddish Park, turning left down Churchill Crescent, then the signs vanished-something that happened frequently throughout the day. But fortunately, we had copies of the map (from Stockport Council website) printed out and on our phones-useful as we could then enlarge it. We went down a few footpaths, passing houses, then arrived at a pretty square, with the beautiful Victoria Mill, St Elisabeth's Church and school. We went on a detour to see the front of Houldsworth Mill built in 1865, it was once the largest cotton-spinning mill in the world employing 450 workers (10.00am). This is now a grade 2 listed building, some of it converted into 70 apartments, and other parts in use as a Business and Arts centre. We backtracked passing Houldsworth Working Men's Club with a blue plaque opened in 1874.

Arriving in the lovely Houldsworth Square, named after the mill owner William Houldsworth, with a four-faced clock, drinking fountain and war memorial, paid for by public subscription in 1920 (10.15am). We were really enjoying the walk in the sunshine. Continuing right down Reddish Road passing Morrison's on the left, over the railway line. Then right down Greg Street, left at a sign, through a housing estate and then we completely lost the signs. We were glad to have Google maps on our phones to help us throughout the day. Eventually we found the signs going through South Reddish Park.

We continued, crossing the B6167, passing Lancashire Hill flats, through the sadly demolished Tiviot Dale station. Trains ran from here for 100 years to parts of Cheshire, and London St Pancras. We arrived at the confluence of the rivers Goyt and Tame, underneath the M60 motorway, which form the River Mersey, with a very interesting mural on the fence.

We followed an old cobbled path across the bridge, and decided to go for a coffee in Asda. Leaving Asda, we crossed Corporation Street, and followed a path alongside the River Goyt-not really worth taking-the road would be a much better option. Crossing New Bridge Lane, up Bateson Street, passing Vernon Park School, up some steps, before taking a bridge over St Marys Way. (A longer, and more complicated route than just walking down the road). We turned left along a footpath, then left down New Zealand Road, before turning right by a sign into Vernon Park which continues into Woodbank Park. It was lovely to be in the park after walking through the town. See if you can spot the cannon to your left. The Cafe was open with lovely views-this would have been so much nicer than Asda!! We followed the tarmac path; it was nice to see so many people out enjoying the winter sunshine. We turned left walking past the athletics track, and the River Goyt. It is here in Woodbank Park that Fred Perry played some showcase games of tennis. Leaving the park by a sign, and passing Offerton fire station, (12.30) we got lost again, this time in Offerton Estate. We passed the

community centre then found the footpath which links the estate with Sainsbury's in Hazel Grove, where we stopped for a coffee (2pm), (Sainsbury's was not built when this path was opened).

We turned left down the A6, crossing over, then along Brewer's Green, left down Green Lane, left down Neville Street, then right down a path adjacent to Green Lane Park. We continued over the railway line, through an industrial estate, over another railway line, finally right onto Bramhall Moor Lane. Crossing the road, we went left down Mirrlees Drive, right onto Hawthorn Ave, crossing Mirrlees fields, across a stream at the back of New House farm estate. The path turns left parallel to the stream, before emerging on Jacksons Lane, turning left, then right down Wallbank Road (2.45pm), which continues to the right, down Happy Valley, by the Ladybrook stream. It was very pleasant to be back in the countryside-if only for a short length of time-with trees, bird life, and the bubbling stream.

We took the bridge over the stream, then went up the path alongside Bramhall High School. Continuing along Dairyground Road, we realised that we had to get going to complete the walk before dark (as it was a January day), but still we popped into the Co-op supermarket for another take-out coffee. We crossed over the road, following a footpath behind the houses, turned right crossing over Padstow Drive, another footpath, crossing Northcote Road, then down Pownall Avenue, left along Ladythorn Road, then left up the drive to Bramhall Golf Course (3.30pm). At the entrance of the golf course, the path turns right over a stream, going left, under a railway line, passing Bramhall Oil Terminal on the left. Quite why it is here, we are not sure, maybe it was originally built to supply Woodford Aerodrome, which is now shut down.

The path is now well-sign posted, crossing Woodford Road and the recreation area. Before going over the A555, down a footpath, crossing Moor Lane, then straight-ahead down Church Lane. Look out for the old black and white houses, and the clubhouse of Bramhall cricket club, which has a superb countryside location with a backdrop of the Derbyshire hills behind. Just before the end of Church Lane, we turned right along a footpath behind some houses, before emerging onto Wilmslow Road (near the Deanwater) at another sign about Fred Perry, which marks the end of the walk. We arrived back at our car just before dark (4.15pm), having rushed along the last couple of miles. It was a January day, so time was short.

Distance 15.5 miles (16km)

Duration of Walk 6 Hours 30 minutes including breaks

Elevation gained 408 feet (120m)


We enjoyed this walk, taking in parts of the Borough that we were familiar with, and others that we were not. But in its present form I am not sure that I would recommend it. See below:

1 Some sections, we felt distinctly unsafe (deserted footpaths by railway lines/or the river etc). Some sections were also fairly boring going through industrial estates. Other sections seemed to go in a strange loop for no particular reason.

2 Some of it was missing signs, or the signs directed us the wrong way-but they were put up 20 years ago.

3 The map that we were trying to follow (which we had printed off from Stockport Council website), was in parts different from the sign-posted actual route.

4 To celebrate 20 years of the opening of the route, it would be lovely to update the whole walk, this time passing the historic Houldsworth Mill in Reddish, Fred Perry's house in Portwood, visit the historic Underbanks area and market place in Stockport- where at present a lot of improvement work is being carried out.

5 Even the ending was strange turning right from Church Lane, following a footpath behind houses, then arriving randomly on Chester Road. A better ending would be at the beautiful Woodford Church, at the top of Church Lane.

6 Interesting features on/near the route include Houldsworth Mill and Square, the start of the River Mersey-at the confluence of the River Tame and River Goyt-Vernon and Woodbank Parks and Happy Valley in Bramhall.

7 Anyone who lives in Stockport will have seen the signs, and probably walked certain parts of it. However, I have not heard of anyone who has walked the whole path.

Fred Perry was one of Stockport’s most famous sons and was born in Portwood in 1909, and died in Melbourne, Australia in 1995. He won the men’s singles at Wimbledon in 1934, 1935 and 1936. He was the last English men’s tennis player to win the title. He was made a freeman of Stockport in 1934. We had been hoping to go on a detour past his house on Carrington Road, Portwood, but did not have time due to the short day. It is a shame the walk does not pass it.

The railway line through Tiviot Dale Station in Stockport was unfortunately closed in 1965, and the beautiful buildings were subsequently demolished. Such a shame, it would have been a great asset to Stockport, either as a line to London across Derbyshire or as a museum.

Mirrlees Fields are named after the Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day factory which opened in 1907 to build diesel engines, and at one stage employed 2000 people. Part of the fields were used as a golf course, and sports facilities for the employees. The factory underwent several changes in ownership until, in 2000, it became part of the German industrial giant MAN, before production ceased in Hazel Grove in 2006. A new housing estate is built on some of the site, and the sports facilities are closed, the fields being used as open ground. At present there are proposals to build more houses.

Useful Websites Maps Walk Walk Map Maps Fred Perry Historic pictures of the borough/Tiviot Dale Station