Sunday, 6 February 2011

Irwell River Park: Part 1 - River Park Quays

MediaCity to Clippers Quays Bridge

One of the odd things about this route is that there are no signs to tell you whether or not it is a cycle route. The intention stated by Salford Council is the creation of a cycle route, so I'm assuming that's what is intended to go on the ground. However, this part of the route is in Trafford, so they may have other ideas.

If it ever gets finished, the Irwell River Park could well end up being the only pleasant and viable cycle route between MediaCity, Central Manchester and Salford University, as the rest of the area is pretty dreadful.

The MediaCity swing bridge was still being completed at the end of January, so you have to cross the canal at the Lowry.

The route between the two bridges looks wide and uncluttered, but I haven't been along this sections so there may be problems.

Going east from the Lowry the route is even wider with planters and trees to one side.

There are a few historic artifacts along the way...

About two thirds of the way along this section the route drops down a slope and narrows,

but is still reasonably wide.

However, things come to an abrupt end at what is supposed to be the location of Clippers Quays Bridge.

There is no sign of the bridge being built and I suspect it will be many years before it is completed, if ever. The alternatives from here are to cross the river on a busy road bridge or try one of the possible routes on the Trafford side. On this occasion I headed for the Bridgewater canal, but that turned out to be a footpath which is not suitable for cycling.

Update - Here's an image of the proposed bridge

View Larger Map


  1. It is (partly) an official traffic-free route, linking to Route 55, which runs alongside Trafford Wharf Road.

    To continue into the city centre, there are two options:

    A) Continue past Sam Platts' pub. Ascend the stairs to Trafford Road Bridge. Cross Bridge. Descend staircase otherside, to join the Riverside Walk along the north bank. However, this route is close during darkness.

    B) Instead of ascending staircase, follow the unbuilt Metrolink Trafford Park line trackbed, which takes you to Pomona tram stop. From there take the traffic-free Pomona Strand to where it crosses the Bridgewater Canal, descend via steps.

  2. Thanks, I will have to investigate further, as this will be my route to work soon. Most of the area looks piss poor, so if I can document the current state of all the alternatives then there is half a chance of helping a few more cycle to work.

    However, there is one person who probably doesn't give a shit about the crap cycling provision...

  3. There is a by-law stating that you cannot cycle on the quays hence no signs on the Salford side of the water. The GM cycle maps omitted the bridge along with many others over the Irwell & Ship Canal until I moaned and in the 2nd edition they were included with a dismount and walk across caveat which is progress I suppose. Even the Lowry bridge should not be cycled over despite most council photos of the bridge have a cyclist on it. Just got to keep on moaning at council cycle forums though Irwell city park spans 3 councils.

  4. So, does the bylaw make this ride illegal then?

  5. Salford Council deserve a great deal of criticism for how the whole area was developed. Pathetic is mild for what I actually think.

    Lack of signposting, routes squashed between bollards and gardens, high curbs but by far the worst is how the section at Exchange Quay. Allowing developers to gate and close a path at weekends and evenings when they feel like it is unforgivable and makes all the investment in the path along the river a farce.

    Don't get me started on the low quality of architecture and missed opportunities in what could have been a fantastic place...

  6. Maybe the bridge at clippers quay is getting closer? (page 16)