Visiting the reserve

Locals tend to visit the reserve on foot through any of the 25 entrances scattered about its perimeter. Kissing gates are installed in various locations to prevent motor bikes or vehicles entering. However, they have Radar (NKS) locks fitted to allow wheelchair or mobility scooter access. Pushbikes are encouraged to use the footpaths but please look out for walkers and dogs.

The River Irk path

The River Irk public footpath begins at Middleton centre (opposite the bus station) and continues to Heaton Park and Blackley Forest The footpath is frequently eroded by floods so please be careful!

There is another public footpath linking the Pelican Crossing at the Mainway/Manchester New Road junction in Alkrington to Silburn Way, Rhodes. This footpath connects to several paths over and under the M60 to link higher Blackley as well as joining the Irk footpath.

The reserve has a fantastic networks of footpaths for you to explore. The Friends have produced a Walking Trail Guide and Map that is available in local libraries and Health Centres. You can see the foothpath map here or download the walking trails guide below.

Walking Trails Guide

Margaret White, our Friends walking coordinator has prepared a 3km circular walk guide for you to download

For those of you who really want to get fit, Margaret and her friend have developed a series of runs you can have a go at. Please be careful and do so at your own risk!

Organised walking party enjoying the trails

The reserve is well served by Public Transport along both Manchester Old and New Road. Middleton Bus Station is only 100m away from the Middleton Way entrance and River Irk path. The bus station has toilet facilities and Middleton centre has a multitude of cafes and food outlets to refresh visitors. Market day is on a Friday.

Motorist can use the free Car Park which is situated on Manchester Old Road (A576) Rhodes less than a mile from the M60’s junction 19 (Heaton Park roundabout) The entrance is opposite Kings Drive, post code ( M24 4EA) The Car Park is locked at 4PM each day.

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