I am fully aware of the irony of walking to the Trafford Centre, especially when it is a good 8.5 miles away from home! But we are hardcore and had to find a way to get both our walk in and purchase a voucher for Jit’s work colleague. So what better way than walking to the Trafford Centre via the Bridgewater Canal.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog (or a follower on Instagram) you will know that we spend a lot of time on the canals around Manchester and Cheshire. We walk daily, during the week, down the Bridgewater canal from Salford to Castlefield. Yet there is still lots of paths and ways to explore.
This is partly why we decided to walk to the Trafford Centre, so that we could see what is on the other side of the Throstle Nest Bridge as we have only ever walked Manchester bound from there.
We walk to town every Saturday morning, but this one was particularly quiet, which was a bit eerie. It has been getting more and more autumnal lately with the morning and evening getting darker, but we were out later than usual so didn’t think that could be the reason. Whatever the reason, it was a nice change from the normal busy-ness of the weekday morning commute.
Even Castlefield marina was quiet too. Perfect spot for a picnic though!
Having walked into town (stopping only once to say hi to my friend Sam and her dog Cally) we were pretty peckish. Castlefield Marina was the nearest option for our picnic as the others were off the route we wanted to take. So we settled down for our flask of coffee and our Hash n’ Ham omelette muffins. (Did you know I write a food blog too?)
The sun came out to play
Considering the day started out pretty wet and drizzly, and dull while we ate our breakfast, it very quickly started to show signs of improvement with the sunshine casting some shadows over the old marine buildings.
The weather was looking up so a great time to set off towards Salford and onto the Trafford Centre.
Walking the ‘wrong’ way up the canal was a strange experience – everything looked completely different. Even after doing the walk the other week with Cally, it seemed different again. As I had said before, though, going both ways on a circular route or taking a journey backwards really does open your eyes to things that you would normally miss. It was nice to see some new graffiti too.
it is amazing how spending more time out and about in the outdoors helps you to really see the changes in the seasons. We didn’t walk down the canal for four evenings last week with one thing and another and now that we’re back on it, Autumn has definitely started to take hold. The ferns are starting to brown, the leaves of the trees turning and the weeds dying down. I wonder how quickly ti will become sparse and bare? Even compared to my walk with Cally the other week, things have started to die down!
Thostle Nest Bridge
After winding around the canal, under the rail and tram bridges and up towards Salford we arrived at Thostle Nest Bridge. The bridge I was telling you about earlier. We come onto the canal at this bridge most times we are walking from Media City in the evening. We have often wondered what is on the other side, as there is a path heading that way. This was our opportunity. Our chance to take a mini quest. Excited to see what we might find, we headed over the bridge and other the other path towards the Manchester United stadium.
To be honest, we were pretty surprised to see that The Warehouse Project has direct access to the canal – we should have known really, but never thought about it. We now know that we can walk there, which is handy should we ever get back into the nightlife scene!
Not too much further down the canal and you reach the Man U ground. We were there a few months ago taking some photos for the promo of an Australian band that my friend’s husband is promoting. If only we’d have realised that we could get such a good view of the stadium – this angle would have been perfect! Note to self: do more wandering! 😉
Quieter and quieter
As we carried on, the canal became more and more secluded. With mainly warehouses and industrial businesses to each side, there wasn’t much going on. Let alone many people. We did see a couple of dog walkers, but that was about it.
We do enjoy the quiet along the canal though – any walk in fact. Living in the city has its advantages, but it is certainly also nice to find some peace and serenity away from the bustle.
The funny thing about the canals
One of the bizarre things about canals is the juxtaposition of the things that go on there. On one hand we had the leisurely walking, slow pace of life and serenity and on the other the hilarious graffiti that must have been a fair challenge to place!
As you will know from my Instagram, I am a huge fan of street art – when it is in fact art! 😉
Although many parts of the city canals have been regenerated and done up there are still plenty of spaces that appear to have been forgotten. I love these spaces though, as they tend to have a little world of their own biodiversity and make for some interesting photos too.
Through miles of industrial buildings and along deserted land, it seems as though you could be going the wrong way – especially as there are no way markers or signs. Of people for that matter. I’m always intrigued how different canals and different stretches of canals can be treated so differently. I suppose being that this one is bordering businesses, they don’t think many will use it for leisure…
Back into civilisation
As you head around from the industrial areas, you can certainly tell that you’re heading into an area with houses. There were more people milling around, cyclists on their way and the sides of the canal started to green (or should that be tones of amber and green) up. The sun came out in full force too making everything immediately seem more pleasant.
Within what seemed like moments of coming back onto the lush canal, we needed to head away from the water. This took us directly onto the main road towards the Trafford Centre. I’m constantly surprised at all the main roads that are near to the canal, yet they often cannot be heard when you’re on the water’s edge. To be honest, I didn’t realise, until we did our planning, that you could walk to the Trafford Centre mostly on the canal!
The Trafford Centre
One thing is for sure, it is not easy to cross the road around the Trafford Centre! After waiting for about 10 minutes with traffic coming in fast waves on both sides of the road we conceded to use the bridge.
We are certainly not the shopping kind, but we do enjoy a bit of a nosy around Selfridges, John Lewis and Waterstones. And to be honest, we have been known to travel to the Trafford Centre on a cold wet day so that we can get our daily step count and walk in while in the dry! Not your usual reason to visit a shopping centre, but it works for us. Plus we get to do some people watching which is a bonus!
A good wander
Our whole wander for the morning, from walking to the Trafford Centre and the little bit of wandering inside brought us to a nice 10.8 miles in total. Pretty good for a relaxed morning. We got our chores done at home before leaving, our walk into town and beyond and bought the voucher. All in all a good day!
We will definitely be walking to the Trafford Centre again in the future. Although the canal seems pretty bland and bleak in places, I can imagine that it looks lovely changing through the seasons. And who knows, maybe the random graffiti will get covered with some quality street art?
Now I need to find another canal to explore! Any ideas around Manchester?
Looking forward to the weekend already!
Have you ever wandered around the Bridgewater canal? Can you recommend any other canals that I should be exploring?
Let me know in the comments below 🙂