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The GM Ringway is Greater Manchester’s walking trail. Designed around existing footpaths, parks and waterways, the GM Ringway connects residents and visitors with the city-region’s rich natural and cultural heritage. Green in every way, all 20 stages of the 200-mile (322-km) route are easily accessed by public transport.

The trail is now being established as a permanent resource for Greater Manchester by two charities – CPRE and Ramblers – with the aid of a £250,000 Heritage Fund grant. Additional funding has also been provided by the two charities and by Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust and TfGM’s Cycle and Stride for Active Lives programme.

The idea for the GM Ringway was conceived by keen local walker, Dr Andrew Read, who is now the Project Lead for our Heritage Fund-supported project. Andrew felt that Greater Manchester – with its diverse landscapes and heritage – could benefit from its own multi-stage walking trail. Thanks to National Lottery players, this idea has now become a reality.

In 2022, CPRE, the countryside charity in Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester, together with the Greater Manchester and High Peak group of the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity, was awarded a £250,000 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to establish the GM Ringway as a permanent resource for the city-region.

Although we weren’t aware of it when we came up with the concept of the GM Ringway, there is a local precedent for the trail: the Greater Manchester Boundary Walk. This route, which stays much closer to the border of Greater Manchester than the GM Ringway, was devised by local resident Graham Phythian and published in book-form in 1991.

In addition, the GM Ringway shares part of its route with several other existing trails, including:

Perhaps the closest model to the GM Ringway in the UK is the London LOOP – officially the London Outer Orbital Path around Greater London. We are grateful for the advice of Colin Saunders and Inner London Ramblers, who now manage the London LOOP, in planning out our project.

We also drew on excellent information and best practice from those involved in, the Snowdonia Slate Trail, the Shropshire Way, the Telford T50, the Dartmoor Way, and the John Muir Way.

A key inspiration for the GM Ringway was Greater Manchester’s public transport network, as each stage of the trail is designed to connect the tram, train and bus lines that radiate out from Manchester city centre.
Each stage is therefore designed to start and end at a tram stop, train station or bus stop within the Greater Manchester zone. As a result, the GM Ringway is probably more closely integrated with the local public transport network than any other trail in the UK.

Greater Manchester came into being under that name in 1974 and includes urban areas and countryside formerly included in Lancashire, Cheshire and small parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

As a result, the city-region is blessed with an astonishing variety of natural landscapes, all of which are explored by the GM Ringway. These include:

  • river valleys and waterways, including the extensive canal network
  • lowland wetlands and mosslands
  • uplands, such as the Peak District fringe and the West Pennines and South Pennines moorlands
  • historic parkland and farmland, and
  • urban green spaces, such as parks and nature reserves.

As well as natural landscapes, the GM Ringway also gives communities access to heritage sites across all the city-region. The route passes:

  • more than 40 Grade I and II*-listed buildings, including Bramall Hall in Stockport and Haigh Hall in Wigan
  • 13 accredited museums, such as the Imperial War Museum in Trafford, and
  • 14 scheduled ancient monuments including Blackstone Edge Roman Road in Rochdale.

Our overriding aim is to involve a wider range of people in the benefits of walking, nature-connectedness and heritage. We are doing this by:

  • enabling more people overall to walk for leisure and recreation in Greater Manchester, and
  • engaging communities that have traditionally had lower levels of access to walking, nature and heritage.

Walking and spending time in nature are good for both our physical and mental health. A key project aim is to enhance people’s personal wellbeing by:

  • giving them new opportunities to walk and wheel in the local area
  • explore the city-region’s fantastic natural landscapes and heritage attractions, and
  • connect with others and with the wider community as they walk or wheel the GM Ringway trail.

Greater Manchester is seen by many as a predominantly urban environment. The GM Ringway project aims to improve both residents’ and visitors’ appreciation of the city-region as they discover its astonishingly varied natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

The GM Ringway is intended to benefit two sectors that were particularly affected by the recent health crisis – the hospitality and heritage industries – by:

  • promoting hospitality and heritage businesses on our website and in our other communications
  • giving visitors low-impact access to these businesses as they explore the whole of the city-region on the trail
  • benefiting the overall visitor economy for Greater Manchester by offering a new ‘sustainable tourism’ experience.

The GM Ringway is an intrinsically ‘green’ initiative in that it:

  • enables and encourages people to enjoy natural and heritage attractions in their local area, rather than travelling longer distances for recreation and leisure
  • is designed around the local public transport network –probably to a greater degree than any other trail in the UK – so that people can access the trail and shorter walks by public transport rather than by car
  • increases people’s connection with the city-region’s natural environment, including country parks, urban green spaces, waterways and nature reserves.

Two charities have been instrumental in promoting, winning funding for, and implementing the GM Ringway:

  • CPRE is the countryside charity that campaigns to promote, enhance and protect the countryside and green spaces for everyone’s benefit, wherever they live.
  • The Ramblers is Britain’s biggest and most vibrant walking community. It is the only charity dedicated to removing barriers so everyone can enjoy walking in green spaces, and to improving Britain’s most popular and least-known walking places.

Thanks to National Lottery players, Greater Manchester’s residents and visitors are now able to benefit from a new long-distance walking trail on their doorstep.

In 2022, the countryside charity, CPRE, together with the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity, was awarded a £250,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to establish the GM Ringway as Greater Manchester’s walking trail.

Further funding has been provided by the two charities and by Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust and TfGM’s Cycle and Stride for Active Lives programme.

The GM Ringway project has been given advice and practical assistance by a number of organisations active at a Greater Manchester level. These include Greater Manchester Combined Authority, GM Moving and Marketing Manchester.

We are also grateful for the support and input of multiple stakeholders, including:

Finally, Salford CVS has provided invaluable support and advice over several years, particularly with regard to winning funding for the project.

The GM Ringway is a high-profile environmentally friendly project that has already inspired the residents, visitors and businesses of Greater Manchester.

We are keen to talk to businesses, charitable trusts and other organisations whose financial support could help our project to thrive and grow over coming years.

If you’re interested in sponsoring or otherwise funding the GM Ringway’s activities, please email us on

The GM Ringway would not exist without the aid of volunteers – both those recently recruited to assist with the project and members of CPRE, the Ramblers and other organisations.

Our GM Ringway volunteers play a vital role in:

  • acting as ‘stage guardians’, who will look after and promote their local sections of the trail
  • walk leaders and back markers
  • assisting with waymarking the trail
  • testing the trail and associated mapping and app.

If you’d like to volunteer, please check out our Get involved page.

Walk the trails

Peak District

The route

See all 20 stages of the varied and beautiful 200-mile (322-km) route. Accessible by public transport at the beginning and end of each stage and covering all ten boroughs.

Shorter walks

For those looking for a walk that samples part of the GM Ringway, our ten shorter walks are perfect. Accessible by public transport with five step-free routes.

Places to visit

Take a look at all the places to visit along the GM Ringway including country parks, museums and heritage attractions, cafes, pubs and hotels.

News and Events

Check out all the latest news from the GM Ringway team and take a look at up and coming walking events along the trail.

Project partners