Creating canal towpath connections in Rochdale

Linking the centre of Rochdale to surrounding neighbourhoods and green spaces via the peaceful Rochdale canal
The challenge

Unlike most Metropolitan areas, Rochdale does not have just one urban centre. The principle communities of Heywood, Middleton and Littleborough are separated from each other by areas of open space and greenbelt, but the local roads linking these communities are often heavily congested. The area is hilly and there are two significant barriers to local walking and cycling journeys; the M62 Motorway and the Manchester/Leeds Railway.

The solution

Mrs Dickinson “It’s brilliant, we use it everyday, it’s so clean – it used to be so dirty.”

Mr Dickinson “Oh it did, If it weren’t for that plank it would have been impassable!”

Mark Winnie “That plank had been down since I was a kid – and I’m 39 now!”

Mr Dickinson “It’s really busy - people are using it to get to work now.”

Mark Winnie “I use it to visit me Gran in the old people’s home.

- The Dickinson Family

Sustrans worked with partners to revitalise the existing canal towpath into a greenway suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs, cyclists, walkers and anglers. Sustrans resurfaced the path to make it smoother, more durable and accessible. In addition, Sustrans created a high quality network of walking and cycling-friendly routes, connecting Rochdale to Heywood, Middleton and Littleborough, and provided links to key employment sites such as the Kingsway Business Park and developing wider links towards Calderdale, Oldham and central Manchester.

The difference

Improving the canal towpath and creating links to surrounding communities has removed the barriers to walking and cycling posed by the M62, major arterial roads and the railway line. The route is incredibly popular and is helping to ease congestion on the roads during peak hours because people are using it to commute to work and to get to school. Because the route is so convenient and the surroundings are attractive, many people are using it as a destination for leisure walks, dog-walking and engaging with the art and poetry along it.

Want to find out more?

Find out how we’re transforming local travel across the UK. Call 0117 926 8893, email [email protected]