42 miles, Grade C: Hunts Cross to Woolston along the Mersey

This is a Grade C ride of 42 miles starting at Hunts Cross Station and is expected to take about five and a half hours including stops for breaks and lunch.

The route goes along towpaths and river banks with mostly good surfaces, but with a few uneven bits on gravel.  The paths are though reasonably wide and the route is passable on a road bike, although we would recommend using a hybrid or mountain bike if you have one.  There may be a few bits where you have to walk.  On the other hand, because it follows canals and rivers, the route is very flat with no significant hills.

The route goes out through Halewood and Halebank, across the Runcorn Jubilee Bridge and then along the towpath of the Bridgewater Canal (a good surface).  At Sandymoor, it leaves the canal and goes across sandy paths to Moore.  This is a good place for a snack after 13 miles. Then cross the Manchester Ship Canal and along a gravel road (with big puddles if it is wet) to the River Mersey at Warrington.

There the route follows many of the Mersey Cuts (a series of canals that were dug to bypass the meanderings of the ancient River Mersey around Warrington and so shorten journey times); recommending a stop for lunch where the footbridge crosses the River Mersey at the end of the Woolston New Cut.  After lunch a ride across to the side of the Manchester Ship Canal which was built “straight” through the area in 1894 and made all the previous cuts and canals around Warrington redundant; which is why we can ride our bikes along them today.

The return trip will be along the St Helens Canal (another good, wide gravel surface) from Warrington to Widnes.  Then back alongside the River Mersey to Pickering’s Pasture (there is a long descent down wide, wooden steps at Ditton Bank) and back through Hale Village, around Speke to Hunts Cross.  Merseyrail trains back to Liverpool Central for the Wirral leave Hunts Cross run every fifteen minutes.

Here is the route on Komoot: Hunts Cross to Woolston along the Mersey

42 miles, Grade C
Created by John Hampson