Update (21/10/21): This closure has now been postponed to mid-September 2021.
Update (21/10/21): The closure has now begun and is expected to last for 5 weeks. There’s currently nothing noted anywhere on the council website or social media, nor any diversion signage in place (the diversion notice below is the one to follow). Why are closures of important cycle links never treated with the same importance as roads? Even if it’s for welcome improvements, it’s not acceptable to just close major links like this without adequate warning or a clearly signposted diversion.
The section of trail marked for improvement is south of Northumberland Road and continues to where this former railway route joins the other line towards Brinnington Tunnel. It links Stockport town centre with Reddish Vale Country Park.
A diversion route has been provided taking users up onto residential roads within Brinnington itself. Note that the narrow route up to the road at the southern end will possibly require pushing a bike.
Along with removing overgrown vegetation, works will include resurfacing with new stone and — hurrah — Flexipave on shorter sections to aid drainage.
It’s a little disappointing that Flexipave couldn’t just be used for the whole section, being as it’s such a well-used route between the town and country park, but this resurfacing is much-needed.
Having not explored that way for almost ten years, I found myself along there just last week and couldn’t believe how lumpy it felt for a major trail, the top surface clearly completely worn-out.
Oddly, this works notice doesn’t include the section just a bit further north which has become infamous for flooding, a local attraction I sadly missed given the recent drought, though perhaps it will be sorted at some point too, you’d hope.
That part of the path is also where there are two trails. While one is explicitly signposted as a footpath only, the other, for horses and cycles, has a big set of steps, even when there’s not a flood at the top. Finding a solution to that accessibility fail seems long overdue.
And then there are the barriers, of course. Despite shuffling through endless a-frames, my ride along the path due to be resurfaced was interrupted by two lads screaming towards me (and several families) quite terrifyingly on off-road motorbikes.
It’s clearly a very “leaky” path, with lots of other possible routes in through the trees, but that just proves the many obnoxious barriers serve no purpose other than to discriminate against legitimate users (the only real answer to motorbike use being, as always, police enforcement).
Hopefully this welcome resurfacing will be only the first improvement of the several needed to bring this useful trail up to a good standard.