Next week, two friends – Pierre Flasse and Peter Heath – who met while students at The University of Manchester, will set off on a challenge of running all 200 miles (323 km) of the newly remeasured GM Ringway, and we hope you’ll join us in wishing them the best of luck!

The pair plan to run the whole distance over five weeks starting in November, aiming to cover 40 miles a day across one day each weekend. Quite a feat.

We’ll be following their progress and sharing their stories on our social media channels so be sure to give us a follow to stay up to date, and give them a wave if you see them out on the trail over the next month!

Volunteer leads the way

We can’t thank our volunteers enough. Whether you help as a backmarker, guide a walk, are helping to set up wayfinding markers, or simply spread the word, thank you.

Without the help of people like you and Celia here, giving your time generously, the GM Ringway wouldn’t be able to bring the benefits of walking, nature, and heritage to a wider range of people.

Celia Costello, lives in Shaw in Oldham, and is one of the first people to sign up to act as a volunteer for the GM Ringway – Greater Manchester’s walking trail.

A retired social worker, Celia has always been a regular walker and has a love of the countryside. Even a hip replacement 18 months ago hasn’t put her off getting out and about in the great outdoors. Her ambition is to do the whole 200 mile trail eventually, but in very small chunks.

We recently spoke to Celia to see why she’s volunteering: “I enjoy getting out in the fresh air, seeing wildlife and walking near water. One of the nice things I’ve found about walking in a group is the chance to meet different people. It’s easy to talk while you’re walking alongside someone. So far, I’ve been a back-marker on a couple of the guided walks to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind.”

We’re aiming to recruit 50 volunteers to help with guided walks, signposting the stages with wayfinding markers and testing the routes. We also hope to eventually set up a network of ‘footpath guardians’ to look after designated stages, get involved in community events, and manage the trail long-term.

If you might be interested in being a volunteer, get involved.

Hollingworth Lake.

Hollingworth Lake: from water source to nudist colony!

You might have strolled along its picturesque shores, but did you know Hollingworth Lake has a history that’s as deep as its waters? Including the time it nearly became a nudist colony!

The award winning tourist destination in Littleborough was originally built as the main water source for the Rochdale Canal but was later developed as a tourist resort in the 1860s. It’s a man-made lake that spans 118 acres, with an easy step-free path that goes  the whole way around (2.4miles).

Known as “The Weighvers’ Seaport” in Victorian times, the lake soon became an attraction for those living nearby, and at holiday times the lake’s allure drew crowds of up to 25,000!

Known these days for its sailors, most of the great 19th century swimmers tried to conquer its freezing waters. Among them was Captain Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel, who later lost his life trying to swim across the Niagara River.

The lake has frozen over several times, and has even played host to a cricket match between Littleborough and Rochdale in the winter of 1860/61 when all the players put their skates on and headed to the ice.

Fast forward to today, and Hollingworth Lake is more than just history. It’s a haven for kids with several play areas. Plus, it’s got a heartwarming side too, housing the new RSPCA Animal Centre, where furry friends get a second chance, and the Woodlands Café.

This much-loved beauty spot is a perfect short walk for all ages, making it the ideal place for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors, soak in the stunning scenery, and discover wildlife in the nature reserve.

Never been? What are you waiting for?

See the route