Trans Pennine Trail

The Trans Pennine Trail crosses northern England from the Mersey to the Humber running through the cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. It is a purpose-built route for walkers and cyclists with many miles available for horse riding and wheelchair access wherever possible

Mostly off-road, the TPT uses existing right of way, riverbank paths, canal towpaths and disused railway lines. With its robust surfaces and generally gentle gradients, it is suitable for people of all ages and capabilities.

Twenty-two local authorities and the Countryside Agency are partners in the project, and each authority is responsible for management of the Trail in its own area.

The TPT is co-ordinated by a project officer based in Barnsley. The Trail offers a wide contrast of landscape from deep rural areas to river estuaries and towns and cities, where former industrial sites have become woodlands and nature reserves.

Wild flowers are in abundance along the Trans Pennine Trail, particularly on the old railway section. Look out for impressive flowers such as ox-eye daisies, tree mallow, foxgloves and teasel, amongst many others.

For more information on the TPT or Euroroutes contact the Trans Pennine Trail Project Officer on 01226 772574, or Email Them.

The Trail can form the basis for a great many circular walks of varying lengths. For more details on the local rights of way network call into the Ranger Centre and pick up a ‘Parish Paths’ leaflet. Alternatively you could purchase OS Explorer Maps Nos. 275 and 276 which show all the rights of way leading from the Warrington Section of the Trail.

Disabled parking facilities are provided at the car park by the Ranger Centre on Statham Avenue in Lymm. Access to the Trail varies from section to section.

The Trail in Warrington

Take a trip along the Trans Pennine Trail in Warrington and you’ll experience a cross section of the areas countryside and cultural heritage. From the Borough’s western boundary the Trail follows the Sankey Canal towpath to Sankey Valley Park then crosses the River Mersey and Arpley Meadows.  

It then follows part of the Runcorn to Latchford (Old Quay) Canal, passes the former Warrington Dock and continues on through Wilderspool and Latchford (Black Bear Park) on the north bank of the Manchester Ship Canal. The Trail leaves the Ship Canal at Knutsford Road swing bridge.

From here you need to cross to the south side of the Canal and turn left along Thelwall New Road to Latchford Locks.

Opposite the Locks a right turn into Bradshaw Lane brings you to the next section of the Trail – the former Timperley-Garston Railway (Warrington to Stockport Railway – different names depending on when a section was added).

This 8-mile section of the Trail runs out of the urban fringe through Grappenhall, Thelwall and Lymm. East of Lymm the Trail runs into open countryside, crosses the Bollin Valley and continues on towards Altrincham.

At the end of the old railway line the route for walkers and cyclists splits. For more information on the route east of this point contact Trafford MBC on 0161 912 1212 or the Bollin Valley Rangers on 01625 534790.

There are four “Millennium Mileposts” along the Warrington section of the Trans Pennine Trail. Millennium Mileposts can be seen at many locations along the 6,500 miles of the National Cycle Network (of which the TPT is a part), which is being developed by Sustrans. Each milepost gives route information and incorporates a different theme within the sculpture.

History of the Trail in Warrington

Opened in 1757, the Sankey Canal was Britain’s first true canal of the Industrial Revolution.  It ran from St. Helens through Warrington to Widnes and was originally built to carry coal from the mines in the St. Helens area to the markets of Liverpool and Cheshire.  The advent of the railways triggered the long decline of the canal, but it was not officially closed until 1963.

The Runcorn and Latchford Canal was opened in 1804 to avoid the awkward tidal section of the River Mersey between Warrington and Runcorn.  Most of the canal became disused when the Manchester Ship Canal opened, but a one-mile section from Stockton Heath to Latchford remained in use until the 1960s.

The Manchester Ship Canal’s opening in 1894 was preceded by several years of fierce opposition from the railways and the Port of Liverpool.  Traffic on the canal thrived until the 1970s but has been in decline since. Despite this the occasional tanker can sometimes be seen passing alongside the Trans Pennine Trail.

Moving east from Fiddler’s Ferry we travel past Gatewarth and Sankey Bridges, and then turn south to cross the Mersey via Forest Way, making our way under the West Coast Mainline railway bridge to the path between the Mersey and the section of water from the remains of the Runcorn and Latchford Canal near Chester Road.

Crossing the A5060 Chester road, we come the the edge of Black Bear Park (the route of the former Runcorn and Latchford Canal through Latchford to Kingsway Bridge), the Trans Pennine Trail turns east to follow the Manchester Ship Canal through to Latchford Locks.

Leaving Latchford Locks behind, the trail now joins the route of the former Warrington to Altrincham Railway on it’s way to Thelwall, Statham, Lymm and Heatley before leaving Warrington altogether at the River Bollin.

The railway came to Lymm in 1853 and passenger services operated for just over 100 years.  By the early 1960s very few people used the line and in 1962 it was closed to passenger traffic.  Goods trains operated until the early 1980s, mainly taking coal to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station. The railway tracks east of Latchford were removed in 1985, but trains still travel to Fiddler’s Ferry on the remaining section past Bank Quay.

Statham Crossing showing the original
station building, now a private residence.

Heatley Station

The remains of Heatley Station can still be seen just east of Mill Lane. Heatley was one of four stations along the section of the route that now forms part of the TPT. The others were Thelwall (Halfacre Lane), Lymm (Statham Ave – now the site of the Ranger Centre) and Dunham (Station Rd).

This is as far as we go in Warrington for the Trans Pennine Trail. Crossing the River Bollin, seen in the photos below, takes us to Warburton, Dunham, Altrincham and beyond.

To travel further afield on the Trans Pennine Trail, see their website for a wealth of information.