Jackson’s to Simon’s

Cath Dyson presents walks which begin and end on public transport. This time, we’re strolling along the banks of the Mersey, between two bridges. 

Got your boots? Got your ticket? Let’s get out there! 

Walking on or near the River Mersey is a great pleasure for Southern Mancunians. It’s an idyllic spot, with only the roar of the M60 to remind us we are never far away from civilisation!
We have many an option for a late springtime walk from Jackson’s Bridge near Sale Water Park to Simon’s Bridge in Didsbury. Of the two we’ve chosen, the first is the classic route, following the meandering River Mersey. Can’t go wrong on this one – just keep the river to your right (or left if you’re on the south bank) and enjoy the views.
The second option adds a few diversions, away from the riverbank to explore some other nooks and crannies. Both are just over five miles long, with refreshment stops at both ends, as well as the option to explore Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens when you get to Didsbury. It is a walk on clear, if muddy, footpaths.
Getting there: Take the Airport tram to Sale Water Park
Turn right out of the tram stop (towards the mini-roundabout) and follow the signs to Jackson’s Boat pub, which will take you along a lovely wooded lane (Rifle Road) to the river at Jackson’s Bridge. The bridge is named after the farmer who ferried people across the river in the 1700s, long before the bridge was built. For the classic route, just continue along the river, on either bank, until you reach Simon’s Bridge.
To explore a few more nooks and crannies, continue on the Jackson’s Boat side of the river for about 300m and turn right down the footpath between the golf courses. At the end turn left along Fairy Lane with the tram line and M60 to your right. At the end of Fairy Lane turn left, then right to pass the Electricity Sub Station and enter the nature reserve signposted Kenworthy Wood . Take the path bearing right, following the line of the pylons with the sports ground to your right. Take the path right along the edge of the sports ground and follow the path as it bears left with the M60 on your right. Cross a track and continue on a footpath through Kenworthy Wood. At a cross roads in the path turn right then left to exit Kenworthy Wood, back to the river. Turn right and go under the three bridges. Just after the third bridge, take the path right up the bank and out onto a slip road, then turn left down the road. This stretch is a bit grim, but make a mental note to return in the autumn, as there are sloe bushes on your right – great for your gin! After passing under the last M60 flyover, take the path signposted as The Transpennine Trail through a lovely little bit of woodland across a stream to exit onto Palatine Road. Cross the road and take the path back onto the River .
This is a lovely spot where the weir manages to drown out the M60. Take the signposted Transpennine Trail route past the sad, abandoned Tatton Arms pub (which has had proposals to turn it into flats rejected) along a the very cute Boat Lane. At the top of the lane, turn left and follow the Transpennine Trail down Ford Lane to rejoin the river. As the Transpennine Trail bears right, continue on a footpath along the river until you get to Simon’s Bridge. This bridge is named after Henry Simon, who financed its construction in 1901.
Cross the bridge and exit down to the car park. Here you have a choice: bear right to enter Fletcher Moss Park and Gardens with its cafe, the fomer home of RSPB founder Emily Williamson; or bear left and continue up Ford Lane to enjoy all the delights of Didsbury Village.
Head north along Wilmslow Road and you’ll find the Didsbury Village tram stop on School Lane.
Cath co-organises guided walks and navigation training. Her book, Navigate Your Way Around the South Pennines is published by Sigma Press.