‘m getting used to the buses now, together with the Tram, it is very easy to travel around this bit of the river, the buses are still following it, and the river meanders at this point looking more and more rural, it is hard to believe that a quarter of a century ago this was a filthy polluted waterway
I’m even tempted to paddle on the sandy beach. However , I do keep my boots on.
Unfortunately after about half a mile, I am confronted with a sign marked “Private Road”, I try walking a few yards down past a house guarded with wire and high walls and hear a quad bike behind me and am told in no uncertain terms that there is no access and I have to return. I therefore end up away from the Mersey, and have to keep this up for the rest of my walk, as the river is clearly out of bounds after this point. My diversion leads me through a housing estate and then over an urban park to the centre of Urmston.
However, that gives me the chance to pass St Michaels in Flixton, which lays claim to being one of the oldest places of worship in the Manchester Diocese. There is evidence of Norman architecture, it is probably even pre Norman, and the old church is mentioned in Domesday. The grave below is from 1836.
My path crosses the town centre, and then follows the railway line, unfortunately I have seen the last of the Mersey for a few days as the Ship Canal is looming up infront of me. There is a high railway embankment on one side of the river, and factory land on the other.
I get my first glimpse of the canal, there are even some mooring points here
and then I cross Irlam locks, and I am following the end of the Irwell
Irlam itself owes its existence to the ship canal, the town council dating from the same year as the building of the canal, past here the Irwell is navigable to Manchester Docks and a little further down the ship canal proper starts where the Mersey meets the Irwell
I have a childhood memory of looking down over a fence to a dirty river and waterfalls. I am not sure if this is the place. Like all these memories it is in black and white. Still at this point the River Mersey hits a hiatus, and becomes the Ship Canal, until at Warrington it veers away and regains its identity.
Thats the next walk though.
Copyright 2018 Allan Russell