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Stage 2 Sale WP to Didsbury Village

Est time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Distance: 6.5 miles / 10.5 km

Ascent: 57 metres

Grade: Leisurely

Public transport: Tram | Bus

Facilities: Toilet | Pub | Cafe

Go Jauntly App & PDF link

Plotaroute Map

Places to visit

The second stage of the GM Ringway walking trail follows a series of tranquil, traffic-free footpaths through the Mersey Valley greenbelt of South Manchester.

Highlights include:

  • The wildlife and greenery of Chorlton Water Park
  • The trees and birdlife of Kenworthy Woods
  • An especially pretty meander of the River Mersey
  • An old country lane near Didsbury village
  • Fletcher Moss, one of the most attractive and varied areas of parkland in Manchester.

Note that parts of the trail may be damp, muddy and slippery at any time of year and especially after periods of wet weather. Please bear this in mind when planning your trip.

Be sure to keep your dog on its lead in sensitive areas, which include upland areas such as moorland, wetlands and mosslands, farmland, and parkland. Keeping dogs on leads helps protect both livestock and wildlife, especially ground-nesting birds.

This walk is available on the user-friendly Go Jauntly walking app. Here, photographs and written directions will enable you to follow the route on your phone. You can also download a printable PDF of the directions from the same link.

Alternatively, you can follow the route (without written directions) on the mobile-friendly Plotaroute site. To use Plotaroute on your phone’s browser, simply click the map. Then, when you’re ready to start walking, click the tracker icon (bottom right) to show your position as you follow the route.

We recommend carrying an additional power source and/or map when following online routes on your phone. For any challenging routes, we would recommend that you also have access to and know how to read an Ordnance Survey map.

The overall route is very level, with no steep gradients encountered. While most of the paths used are wide and well-made, they can be uneven and potholed in places. Mud and puddles are likely on certain sections. The ‘Detours and trail updates’ section below also describes some diversions and an exit route in the event of flooding.

The paths and terrain encountered on this walk are shown and described in more detail on the Go Jauntly version of the walk, enabling you to make your own assessment of whether the route is accessible for you.

However, the varied terrain involved in this route means that the overall route is not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. Please visit our Shorter walks page for a selection of step-free walks on the GM Ringway trail.

Public toilets are available – to the best of our knowledge – near the start in Sale Water Park. Along the way, toilets can be found near the car park for Chorlton Water Park (accessed by a sloping path) and in Fletcher Moss Park near the end of the route. In addition, the Treetops café and Jackson’s Boat pub are close to the start point. En route, you will often find a coffee van or an ice cream van parked near the lake in Chorlton Water Park. Towards the finish point, there are cafés in Fletcher Moss Park and Didsbury Park, as well as several pubs and cafes in Didsbury Village.

There are children’s play facilities in Chorlton Water Park and in Fletcher Moss and Didsbury parks, making this an especially suitable walk for families.

As the GM Ringway is designed around the tram, train and bus network, we recommend the use of public transport to access the start and end points. However, we also provide tips for drivers below.

Start and end points

To work out how to get to and from the walk start end points, simply click the links below to see the location in Google Maps. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your starting location or destination. For public transport options, click the train icon.

Start point: Sale Water Park tram stop M33 2LX

End point: Didsbury Village tram stop M20 6WE

Public transport

This trail stage connects with Sale Water Park tram station, on the city centre-to-airport Metrolink line, with Didsbury Village tram station on the East Didsbury Line. Some walkers might find it easier to return home by train from the nearby East Didsbury train station, or take a bus from Didsbury village. Train times can be checked by visiting the National Rail website, while details of bus and tram services can be found on the TfGM journey planner.

Recommended tickets

If you are travelling only by tram, you will need a Metrolink ticket to cover the zones you travel through. You can check the price of these on the Bee Network website and then purchase your ticket from the machine at the stop or tap in and out with your bank card.

If you are travelling by a mix of buses, trains or trams, then a combined day ticket might be cheaper. Check the TfGM Tickets and passes page to find the best option (selecting ‘1 day and return’ as your answer to ‘How often would you be travelling?’).


Drivers are advised to park at Sale Water Park Metrolink Park & Ride, where there is parking for 285 cars and 16 disabled spaces. They can return to their car at the end of the walk by taking a tram from Didsbury Village towards Manchester and changing onto a Manchester Airport tram at St Werburghs Road tram stop (total journey time approx. 20 minutes).

Cut-off points

If, for example, you only want to walk a section of the stage, there are several locations where public transport can be used to leave or to access the route. The most straightforward option, close to the half-way point, involves walking up Darley Avenue or Stanton Avenue to Barlow Moor Road in West Didsbury, from where buses return to Chorlton or continue to Didsbury. For details see the Plotaroute map.

Three diversions are shown on the Plotaroute map.

The first shows the route to be taken if Bailey’s Bridge, which crosses the Mersey to Kenworthy Woods, is closed (as it was during the first half of 2024).

stage 2 detour

The second and third diversions, near Didsbury, provide options if the paths encountered are flooded – something that happens fairly regularly, as much of the Mersey Valley is a registered flood storage basin. In addition, an exit route is shown at the 3.5-mile point near West Didsbury for use if the riverbank path ahead is totally flooded (a rare occurrence). Here, Stanton Avenue can be followed to Barlow Moor Road, from where buses return to Chorlton or continue to Didsbury.

For any further changes affecting this walk, be sure to check our trail updates page.

To give any feedback or notify us of any issues with this route, please complete this form.


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