Saturday 18 October 2014

Colliery Line - Highfield to Linnyshaw

This route picks up at the same place as Roe Green Loopline 3, M61 to Bolton and also connects with Roe Green Loopline 2, Walkden to the M61 by crossing the M61 on Anchor Lane.

It follows the route of a mineral line to the south of a housing estate in Highfeld. This line linked Brackley Colliery to the west and Ashton's Field Colliery to the east and then onwards, turning towards the south and finishing where it meets the A6 in Linnyshaw nearly 3 miles later.

The path starts just to the south of the houses on Anchor Road, to the north of the M61.

Initially path is very narrow, muddy and strewn with rubbish

and there is this dreadful set of barriers to add to the grim nature of the area.

However, within a few yards, the path improves

and after about 300yds the path crosses the line of the Roe Green Loopline, this track went underneath at this point. The turn to the left takes you to Bolton, keep to the right for this route.

Shortly after a short branch line turned off into the centre of Farnworth, just before the path is interupted by the newly built Pear Tree Drive, and turns into a pavement for a short while, via this dreadful barrier.

Just after the path escapes the road again,

for a short while

only to be interrupted again by Lucas Road. Here the path kinks to the right to regain the trackbed.

From here the path escapes the road for a while.

However, at some point the path goes away from the railway route to avoid the M61

finally ending up at Buckley Lane / Cleggs Lane where there is a wooden kissing gate to negotiate.

Here you have to turn right to cross the M61.

At this point the TfGM map shows a path continuing on this side of the motorway, but this is a cycling officer's hallucination, but more of that in another post.

Once across the motorway, turn left into the recently renovated Ashton's Field. This is the former site of Ashton Field's Colliery.

Turn to the left after the gate, and over this bridge.

Just beyond you will find this folly, a series of lock gates without a canal, supposedly reflecting the canals deep underground here in the coal mines.

The path carries on over another bridge

then heads towards Windmill Road. Just before, turn left through this very, very narrow barrier.

Now the path has returned to the railway trackbed and heads between houses on either side.

Gradually, the path decays with occasional potholes

and then at this point is forced up to the level of Worsley Road North, as the bridge ahead is blocked.

At the top of the ramp, turn left, then right across the road into a car park, and in the far right corner is this gate and barrier to negotiate before getting back to the path.

Once beyond you enter Blackleach Park.

Here the trackbed used to cross Blackleach Reservoir, but now the northern half is filled in, so the reservoir only exists on the right of the path.

The path is joined by a track from the left, and at the end of the resovoir, cross through the gap in the wooden fence and onto the track.

A little further along there was a junction with a track turning away to the left. This reaches a bridge over the M61 and a path using that bridge crosses here

and the route ahead is obstructed by another anti-cycling barrier.

Now the path degrades to a narrow dirt path, with a bridle-way on the right.

The path degrades further, till at the crossing with Mill Lane it has become very muddy. Here there are further anti-cycling barriers.

Beyond, the path is rough and muddy,

and soon reaches the A6 in Linnyshawwhere the path is very muddy, and turns to the left to reach road level via a narrow gap as the bridge has been filled in.

Running parallel to the A6 at this point is the Thirlmere Aqueduct which the path goes over to reach the road.

To the south, the path continues, but is too narrow and steep for a bicycle, so the only option here is the road.

View Highfield to Linnyshaw in a larger map


  1. I went along part of this route the last two days, from Anchor Lane up to where it kinks right at Lucas Road. I think things have got worse since you went along it. From Anchor Lane it's all heavily overgrown right now with nettles growing into the path. The barrier at Pear Tree Drive is very heavily overgrown with nettles. Anyone going along this way don't go in shorts as of July 2015

  2. Apparently the stretch of this route from Anchor Lane to Buckley lane isn't on a "public right of way" as I found out when I emailed to see if anything could be done to cut back the thorns and nettles that are threatening to block the whole thing. Seems odd it's on the TfGM map as an "off road route with good surface". Although, that's the same map with the non-existent path on it so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

  3. The newly published TfGM cycling maps bring both hope and disappointment. The non existent route from Cleggs Lane has now gone (Yippee) but the entire stretch of cycle path from the intersection with the Roe Green Loopline (NCN55) to Cleggs Lane/Buckley Lane is no longer marked on the map as a cycle route. So I would guess that stretch is just going to get worse until it's not possible to get through.