This is one of the 20 stages of the GM Ringway – the new walking trail for Greater Manchester. Stage 17 links Leigh and Irlam via Chat Moss, the raised bog that once covered a large area of Wigan and Salford boroughs. This peaceful area, formerly used for peat extraction, has benefited from extensive regeneration efforts and is home to more than 150 bird species, rare mammals, amphibians, dragonflies, butterflies and plants.
The route has recently (in summer 2023) been revised to avoid a very challenging crossing of the East Lancs Road (A580). The new route uses recognised crossing points at the Greyhound roundabout instead, which still require care. Those who wish to avoid crossing the A580 altogether are advised to follow the longer diversionary route indicated on the Plotaroute map.
Map and directions
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 app. 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.
Feedback on the route
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– Footpaths along the valley of the peaceful River Glaze (or Glazebrook)
– An optional circuit of Windy Bank Wood, an area covered by wildflowers in the spring
– Views of three historic country homes (Light Oaks Hall, Little Woolden Hall and Great Woolden Hall)
– The 115-hectare Little Woolden Moss nature reserve, now home to plants such as sphagnum moss and cottongrass, birds of prey and ground-nesting birds, and animals such as the common lizard and the rare bog bush cricket
– Irlam Station, with its delightful linear park, restored signal box and friendly cafe.
Accessibility and facilities
– Cafe or pub nearby
– Dogs permitted (on a lead)
– Toilet facilities
– Transport via bus
Great care should be taken when crossing the four lanes of the East Lancs Road (A580) via the central reservation. Those who wish to avoid this crossing are advised to follow the longer diversionary route indicated on the map.
While virtually all of the route is fairly level, the overall walk is not wheelchair or pushchair-friendly. We will be adding step-free and shorter walks on parts of the GM Ringway over the next few months.
Toilet facilities are available for customers at the various cafes and pubs shown on the Plotaroute map, though there are none on the the route itself. Accessible toilets are available at Leigh bus station and at Irlam Station.
How to get there
Start point Leigh bus station WN7 4LP
End point Irlam station M44 5AB
All stages of the GM Ringway can be accessed by public transport. This stage links Leigh bus station, served by frequent buses from Wigan, Bolton, Manchester and other locations, with Irlam train station, served by regular train services to and from Manchester.
To work out how to get to and from the walk start and end points, click the Google Maps links on this page. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your postcode or location in the relevant field. Then, for public transport options, click the train icon. Alternatively, input the postcodes shown on this page into the Moovit app journey planner.