Monday 11th December 2023
Pilgrims’ Way. Last of four walks, Radcliffe to Manchester Cathedral, with the option of visiting the Christmas Market.
Twelve walkers met at Close Park Radcliffe to complete the final section of the Pilgrims’ Way. We started by walking to St Mary’s Church and the Ruins of Radcliffe Tower, as this was the point at which we ended our last walk. Records show that there has been a church on this site since Saxon times, with part of the present building dating back to the 13th century.
By this time, it had started to rain, we quickly walked into the centre of Radcliffe and joined the Outwood Trial, behind the Asda supermarket. Once on the path, which is also part of Route 6 cycle trial, we headed across the bridge over the river Irwell. The river will be our guide as it flows into the centre of Manchester, the route also follows the Irwell Sculpture Trail, which includes twenty-eight works of art stretching from Salford Quays to the Pennies above Bacup, one of which is a large block of granite. After crossing the bridge over the M60 we continued to follow the Irwell into Salford, crossing Agecroft Road, at Drinkwater Park where we followed the path, passing Kesal Cemetery to Littleton Road.
Once across the road we headed to Kersal Wetlands, which were built to reduce the flooding in the area. Unfortunately, the route through the wetlands had been closed due to building work, so we had to do a detour back onto Cromwell Road. After crossing the river again, we had our first glimpse of the cathedral through the mist, and from here it was a short walk into Manchester City Centre.
By now it was lunch time, so we walked to the Arena Bombing Memorial where we ate our lunch before going into the cathedral and the end of our pilgrimage, having covered 10 misty miles.