New Footsteps - Ancoats

There’s plenty to discover in Ancoats and surrounding areas! Home to vast acres of open, green space, mountain bike trails, range of sports and leisure centres and tourist attractions. We’re encouraging you to wear what you want and trial new footsteps and unearth those hidden gems within walking distance of your home.

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1 Clayton Vale

Clayton Vale local nature reserve is located in the heart of the Medlock Valley in east Manchester. The Vale offers approximately 4.5 miles of urban countryside and is that little bit of country just by the city, that you are free to roam and enjoy at your own pace. There are four ponds in Clayton Vale all teeming with a variety of wildlife including frogs, toads, minibeasts, fish and water birds. The vale takes its name from the Clayton family who owned large parts of land around the area, including Clayton Vale.

2 River Medlock

The River Medlock rises near Oldham and flows south and west for ten miles to join the River Irwell in Manchester city centre. Rising in the hills that surround Strinesdale just to the east of Oldham, the Medlock flows through the steep-sided wooded gorge that separates Lees from Ashton-under-Lyne and the Daisy Nook Country Park with its 19th century aqueduct carrying the disused Hollinwood Branch Canal over the shallow river.

3 Philips Park

Philips Park opened in 1846 and is one of the largest parks in Manchester. The park includes a children’s play area, hard standing ball court, junior football pitch, allotments, community orchard, bowling green and pavilion, a show-field for events, picnic area, mountain-bike skillszone, seating and quiet areas along with a pond and dipping platform. The park has a thriving friends group who, alongside the wardens, help organise environmental and educational activities as well as health walks. The adjacent Philips Park Cemetery is full of ornate Victorian headstones and memorials.

4 HSBC UK National Cycling

The HSBC UK National Cycling Centre was Britain's first indoor Olympic cycling track, and since it opened in 1994, has become one of the World's finest and fastest board tracks. The spiritual and physical home of British Cycling, the centre has been a pivotal landmark in the area for over 25 years now, and consists of a velodrome, indoor BMX track and over 12km of bike trails in Clayton Vale. With public toilets and café, if you’re not inclined to or fancy a unique cycling experience, this location is still worth a visit whilst exploring the local area.

5 MUFC Birthplace

The world-famous Manchester United Football Club was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath.On Bank Street (#38) stands a commemorative red plaque in recognition of ‘Bank Street Ground’ (now the home of HSBC UK National Cycling Centre) as the official birthplace of the football club and home ground from 1893 – 1910.​

6 Clayton Hall

Hidden behind trees, Clayton Hall is built on an ancient monument, and a rare example of a medieval moated site. The Hall is reached across the moat over a listed late 17th Century stone bridge. Part of the Hall was converted into a hands-on Living History Museum by the Friends of Clayton Park volunteer group. Dressed in late Victorian style, there is also a Textiles Room devoted to vintage garments and sewing techniques, with several antique hand- and treadle-operated sewing machines. A Memories Room houses a large collection of local and British history materials.

7 Dad’s Halo Effect

Installed as the centrepiece of the community hub regeneration project, this work is based on an idea described to Gander by his father. Dad’s Halo Effect is composed of three, 3-metre, polished stainless-steel sculptures that represent chess pieces in a checkmate position. Yet, because they are all made from the same material in the same colour, it is impossible to tell which of the fictional opposing players are in the lead.

8 Bradford Pit Memorial

To be installed in November 2020, located on the corner of the east side of the Etihad Stadium, not far from the former pit head, the piece will occupy a prominent location with viewing opportunities from many perspectives. The memorial raises awareness of the areas rich mining past which closed in 1968. The nearly 8m weathering steel structure houses glass panels, featuring imagery of illustrated miners taking their journey, and a map interpreting the legacy and redevelopment of the site with wording inscribed in remembrance of Bradford Colliery and the mining community.​

9 The Runner Statue

This sculpture, commissioned in late 2001, was created by Altrincham-based artist, Colin Spofforth, who created this heroic-sized sculpture of a sprinter as a means of celebrating the beauty, power and determination of the competing athletes. Reaching thirty feet high, weighing seven tonnes, and titled The Runner, this unique larger-than-life bronze statue of a male sprinter surmounting a bronze globe was, at the time, the United Kingdom's largest sporting sculpture. It depicts the very moment the runner leaves the blocks once the starter's gun has fired.

10 Ardwick & Ancoats Hospital

Ancoats Hospital replaced the Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary that had existed since 1828.The hospital provided the city's first x-ray department in 1907 and, in 1914, Harry Platt - who was later to become a renowned orthopaedic surgeon - instituted the world's first clinic dedicated to the treatment of fractures. Platt introduced physiotherapy facilities, which were at first known as the School of Massage, in 1920. It was closed in 1989. Elizabeth Gaskell refers to Ancoats Dispensary in her first novel and Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life. L. S. Lowry painted a picture of the outpatients' waiting hall in 1952.

11 New Islington Marina

This is the hidden waterside oasis in Manchester city centre that you may not even know exists. Walk along the canal from east Manchester, or past the historic cotton mills of Ancoats, up the cobbles of Redhill Street and a waterside paradise is revealed. On a sunny Saturday afternoon families perch on the quirky stone seats and loungers alongside the marina, while groups of friends picnic on grassy parkland at Cotton Field Wharf. Dazzling waterways make New Islington Marina a hidden oasis worth venturing out to discover. It’s even got its own park called Cotton Field.

12 Cutting Room Square

Located in the heart of vibrant Ancoats, Cutting Room Square is just steps away from independent shops, restaurants and cafés. With award winning restaurants, enviable dining and superb options to drink and dine - the square serves up something for every occasion. The centrepiece of a new public realm: the first ever to be built in the area. It is oriented around 5 towering photographs of the former cutting and pattern rooms of the adjacent Royal Mills.

13 GM Police Museum

Founded in 1981 AND Located on Newton Street it not only collects and preserves archive material and objects relating to the history of policing in the Greater Manchester area, but acts as an important resource, where visitors can talk to staff and volunteers about policing.

14 Ashton Canal

The canal was built to supply coal from Oldham and Ashton under Lyne to Manchester. The Ashton leaves the Rochdale Canal at Ducie St. Junction in central Manchester, and climbs for 6.7 miles through 18 locks, passing through Ancoats, Holt Town, Bradford, Clayton, Openshaw, Droylsden, Fairfield and Audenshaw to make a head-on junction with the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Whitelands Basin in the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne. Today it is recognised as a valued stretch of water offering alternative routes for walking, cycling and exploring that intersect and join different local communities.

15 Vale, Park & River

Home to over 4.5 square miles of open, green space, Philips Park and neighbouring Clayton Vale -  split by the River Medlock - provides urban countryside and a rich habitat for a wide range of wildlife, that you are free to roam and enjoy at your own pace.

16 Etihad Campus

The largest concentration of sporting venues in Europe! Developed to host the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. Manchester City Football Club inherited and moved over in 2003. Today, you can take in a range of sports and physical activities, visit the shop, tour the grounds and see for yourself the legacy which made this area so unique.

17 Cutting Room Square

Located in the heart of vibrant Ancoats, on the edge of the Northern Quarter, Cutting Room Square is just steps away from independent shops, restaurants and cafés. With award winning restaurants, enviable dining and superb options to drink and dine - the square serves up something for every occasion.