Part 3 of the Irwell River Park is still mostly a no-go area for pedal cycles, but part four is somewhat better...
Starting at New Bridge Street, the route is marked by red loops over the path.
The path slopes down onto a boardwalk, turns a tight left and right under Trinity Way,
emerging onto a tarmac path along the south side of the river.
After a while the path kinks left
and then turn right through the gates
and the path turns to a sand surface alongside the river.
This is by far the best path of this route, with wide views an a feeling of freedom from the urban landscape. Here the canalised Irwell of the docks and city center is replaced by a free-flowing river between substantial flood barriers.
Soon however, the path presents bike riders with a problem. At Broughton Bridge, the path runs into steps, so you have to turn left out onto St Simon Street and then right along Blackfriars Road to avoid lifting your pedal cycle.
The route crosses Blackfriars Road on the level with no assistance apart from a traffic island.
Soon after the route opens out into this strange wide path that looks like a rear access road. It is also hemmed in by a brick wall on the left and railings on the right. Despite being traffic free it feels oddly unsafe as if a delivery van is about to come flying round the corner.
At the end of this section there is a traffic-free junction where the Irwell River Path joins the route of NCN route 6.
At this point the path turns right onto Adelphi Footbridge and into a dreadful set of barriers.
If you can get your pedal cycle through this obstruction you drop down onto Riverside,
and then turn right onto Meadow Road.
The road is soon blocked by another weird set of barriers'
and the route turns from a wide road into a flagstone shared footpath.
The path soon becomes hemmed in between the river and back gardens.
The path then crosses Frederick Road - again with no assistance other than a traffic island.
The other side of the road the path is obstructed by another set of barriers.
A short way further on the route reaches St Boniface Road where it turns left over the bridge
and hits yet another set of barriers.
If you can get this far the Irwell River Park ends at Gerald Road, though NCN Route 6 continues.
View Irwell River Park: Part 4 in a larger map