Vaccine Day, Stockport to the Etihad Centre, to Manchester


In order to celebrate receiving an invite for a covid vaccine at the Etihad centre Manchester, we decided to make it a more interesting day out and walk there. We walked from Stockport Town Hall to Manchester Town hall, via Reddish Vale, Debdale Park, Gorton, Fairfield Moravian Settlement, and finally down the Ashton Canal to the Etihad. After the vaccine we continued down the canal, to Ancoats and a walk round Manchester city centre, a distance of 15 miles. This walk encompasses many historic sites, as well as lovely countryside and city views. This walk could be combined with our pub crawls of Manchester City centre.

Stockport is an old historic town, which was famous for hat making and textiles in general. It fell into decline in the 1960's, but now has some regeneration projects in progress. There are various interesting historic buildings and museums:- the Hat Works Museum, Staircase House Museum and Stockport Air Raid shelters, as well as a tour of the famous Robinsons Brewery. Enough to see for a whole day. There is also a heritage tour of the town.

After parking in Edgeley we walked to Stockport Town hall, leaving there at 10.30am. The impressive looking Town Hall was built in 1908 in a baroque style, and is sometimes called the "wedding cake." Heading north down the A6 for a few 100m, before turning right across Mersey Square, past the bear pit, picking up the signs for the Trans Pennine Trail, turning left past the Chestergate Tavern. The river Mersey is covered here, and for the full length of the Merseyway shopping precinct, which is a shame these days when it is clean. Bears used to be kept in the sandstone caves nearby, and used in bear baiting competitions, before being abolished in the 1830's. The current pit is a re-creation from 1935. Stockport Plaza Theatre on Mersey Square was built in 1935, and recently used as a film location for Peaky Blinders. The Transpennine trail that we followed for part of this walk runs 215 miles coast to coast from Southport to Hornsea, Yorkshire. Some of it is paved, and maps are available. 

Continuing down Chestergate, to the left there are free public toilets next door to Boots, on the right is the Museum of the Stockport Air Raid Shelters. This is a really interesting authentic museum exploring the underground tunnels where the residents of Stockport used to shelter during WW2. Whilst walking round Stockport other tunnels can be seen built into the sandstone cliffs.  

We passed other famous blue plaque landmarks:- The 3 Shires wine bar, built in C.1580, the White Lion Pub and Underbank Hall. The historic Underbanks area and market area are currently being restored. We followed the pedestrian road round to the left, over Lancashire Bridge-first mentioned in 1282. This crosses the River Mersey and marks the ancient border between Cheshire and Lancashire, at the confluence of the rivers Tame and Goyt which forms the Mersey.  Crossing the motorway we spotted the old orphanage to the left, then turned right following signs for the Trans Pennine Way. We passed through the old Tiviot Dale railway station, from where trains used to run to London and Liverpool. This was sadly shut down as part of the Beeching cuts in 1967, and the beautiful old building demolished the following year, such a shame.  

Crossing the road past Tesco to the right, we picked up the signs and followed the higher ground to the right hand side of the river valley, following the old railway track along the Midshires Way. Between the tress there are pleasant views down to the River Tame, and Reddish Golf Course. An hour after leaving we crossed the River Tame, taking time to admire the markings on the bridge, we arrived at Reddish Vale country park. Here there are free toilets, a cafe, picnic benches, and a free car park. It is very pretty with views to the railway viaduct, and the reservoirs.

After a quick coffee, we turned left up Mill Lane, under the railway line, and after 200m turned right down Fallow Fields Drive, then most unusually in an urban area on the footpath over the railway lines, (4 miles) checking first for trains!! It is most unusual in an urban area to cross the lines!! Left down Thornley Lane South, Wilton Street, then Thornley Lane North, passing the interesting St Agnes Church to the left, before turning right down Ash Road. We crossed over Hyde Road (12.15pm), then right into Kingsdale Road, left and right to join the Tameside Trail through Debdale Park. We passed the new Fairfield Golf Club House, before taking a footpath to the left, emerging at Fairfield railway Station.

We crossed over Ashton Old Road, then went right down Fairfield Avenue down a footpath, to the fascinating Moravian Settlement. I would say this is the highlight of the walk, dating from c1785. It was created by a group of protestants who escaped from the Czech Republic, after being persecuted there. It is now a series of old cobbles streets, church and very interesting museum. It now makes a great film location too. Take time to check it out, or return another day.

We emerged onto the Aston Canal, then followed it for a few miles before leaving it at Asda/Decathlon/Etihad Campus. Ashton Canal was built in 1796, and used to transport coal the 7 miles from Ashton to Manchester. We picked up some lunch from Greggs inside Asda, (1.45pm) 10 miles from Stockport. Dave then went to receive his vaccine, which was carried out very efficiently with many volunteers.

At 3pm we continued down the canal passing old warehouses, before emerging besides new flats at the Islington/Ancoats canal basin. We turned right along the New Islington Basin, passing the Cask pub. Leaving the canal, turning down Bengal Street, visiting Cutting Room Square, down Sherratt Street, then left into Anita Street-make sure that you check out the beautiful old buildings and cobbled street.  

Passing down Oldham Road, then Oldham Street, right down Market Street, right then left to Exchange Square, left to Anne's Square, over King Street, to Albert Square. Unfortunately there are building works taking place at the Town Hall built in 1868, so it is covered by scaffolding. We walked round the famous Central Library, into St Peters Square, before finishing the tour at the back of the Town Hall. From here trams can be taken to many places. Alternatively we walked the 15 minutes back to Piccadilly Station in order to catch the train back to our car in Stockport.

There are so many beautiful old buildings in Manchester, I can't list them all here. Look on line, or purchase a book about Manchester, for example My Guide to Manchester. There are many walking tours of the city too.

It was a lovely walk, and linked various places that we have previously visited. Manchester developed as an industrial city in the Victorian age, and has more recently been famous for its music scene, and football clubs. I am biased, but it is one of my favourite cities. If you have not visited, check it out. Dave was so happy to receive his vaccine, and had no after effects.

Distance        14  miles   (22.5km)

Duration of Walk     5 hours 30 minutes


As always we advise wearing walking boots, even round a city, being comfortable and waterproof - we wear Lowa. The weather in this area can be changeable, so take wet weather clothes, hats, sun hats, map, compass and first aid kit etc. Take a phone charger, especially if using on-line resources. Also take food and drink, but there are quite a few opportunities to buy some.

Resources Used

My new favourite thing is ordnance survey maps online. I paid £30 for the year and downloaded the App onto my phone. The maps then cover all of England, Wales and Scotland.

Websites Used 

We used to record the walk.      Boots

Further Information

Check out our guide to the pubs round Manchester on our website. Choose from about 60 pubs that we have enjoyed, and enjoy meeting the locals.