Hale to Altrincham 24 miles
Hale to Spike Island 4 miles
Follow the Trans-Pennine Trail (Route 62) rejoining the river at Pickering’s Pasture for the stretch up to Runcorn and Warrington. Go under the Runcorn–Widnes Bridge to reach Spike Island and its marina. Historically an industrial area but between 1975 and 1982 it was reclaimed as wetlands.
Spike Island to Wilderspool 7 miles
The next short section of the Trans-Pennine Trail is currently closed. During construction of the Mersey Gateway bridge there will be a three year diversion for Trail users Construction is anticipated until Autumn 2017. Follow the detour map from the carpark by the Catalyst Museum. It takes you along the road parallel to the St Helen’s Canal.
You join the canal approx. 300 yards later than you should. There are bird watching stations set up all along this section of the route. The Fiddler’s Ferry Power station is clearly visible. Walk on past Fiddlers Ferry between the canal and the river.
Behind Ferry Tavern is a marina. Boats can access the Mersey via Fiddlers Ferry lock The Ferry Tavern is one of Warrington’s oldest pubs. It has arguably the best setting in the town nestling on its own island between the River Mersey and the Sankey to St Helens canal. It is in a unique position situated on the Trans Pennine Trail attracting passing hikers and cyclists.
Cross the Mersey and go under the railway bridge. There is a slight detour here but clear signage takes you back onto the Trans-Pennine Trail (62). I didn’t see any clue as to how long this detour would be there. This is Wilderspool.
Wilderspool to Thelwall 2 miles
Continue on the Trans-Pennine along Station Road. You come to a junction with Nutsford Road A5061 joining from the left. Turn right and cross the Manchester Ship Canal over the bridge here. Turn left along Thelwall New Road. Continue following the well signed route 62 turning right down Bradshaw Lane. The signs then point you to the left to take you away from the roads still on route 62. You go under the Stockport Road A56. Route 62 runs between Stockport Road and the Bridgewater canal on this section. When you reach Halfacre Lane turn right and join the Bridgewater Canal. This is Thelwall
Bridgewater Canal Thelwall to Altrincham 11 miles
Turn right and walk east on the north bank of the canal. The canal side industries along the banks up to Lymm and beyond appear to be enterprises dedicated to supporting narrow boat pastimes. At Dunham Massey Park Lane you could choose to cross the bridge and walk down Park Lane to the Swan with Two Nicks pub. After refreshment you can either double back to rejoin canal where you left it on Park Lane or turn left out of pub, cross the bridge over River Bolin and go through Dunham Massey Park.
Walk straight ahead with the estate, mill and café on your left straight on down tree lined Smithy Drive leaving the park at the gate on to Woodhouse Lane. Follow Woodhouse Lane around to the right until it becomes School Lane. Keep left down School Lane until you come to a bridge where you can rejoin the Bridgewater Canal down steps over the bridge on the right. Just before the bridge is the Chef and Brewer / Axe and Cleaver pub.
As you get closer to Altrincham the canal side scene gets more historically industrial interspersed with new apartment blocks. You can leave the canal on the Manchester Road A56 by the Old Packet House pub.