What is the Fallowfield Loop?
The Fallowfield Loop is an off-road cycle path, pedestrian and horse riding route from Chorlton-cum-Hardy through Fallowfield and Levenshulme to Gorton and Fairfield in Manchester. It is part of the National Cycle Network of routes and paths developed and built by Sustrans. The Fallowfield Loop is part of National Route 6 of the National Cycle Network which, when complete, will connect London and Keswick in Cumbria.
At 8 miles long the Fallowfield Loop is thought to be the longest urban cycleway in Britain. Maps of the Loop are here.
The Fallowfield loop was previously part of the old ‘Manchester Central Station Railway’, built in the 1890s and closed in 1988. ‘Friends’ President Eddie Johnson’s book on the line describes the Loop as it was when steam trains ruled the rails. The cover shows a view of Fallowfield station in about 1950. Copies of the book are still available in local bookshops, or contact the ‘Friends’.
The line had lain derelict for many years until the late 1990s, when a group of cyclists started campaigning for its conversion to a traffic free ‘greenway’ across south Manchester.
What are the Friends?
That group, together with supporters from local civic societies and other community groups, formally became the ‘Friends of the Fallowfield Loop’ in June 2001.
The route is now mostly owned by Sustrans, a charity which specialises in building off-road cycle routes. They have partly funded conversion of the route, together with Manchester City Council, Sainsbury’s and others.
The overall aim of the ‘Friends’ is to encourage and support all the partners in the Fallowfield Loop route to provide and maintain a first-class community resource and to encourage its use by as many people as possible.
The Fallowfield Loop creates a linear park and wildlife corridor, linking parks and open spaces. It follows the line of the Thirlmere Aquaduct which brings water from the Lake District to large parts of Manchester. The Loop is used daily by the Mounted Police, based at Hough End, to exercise their horses.
In December 2010 the Friends won the “Contribution to the Environment – Group” category in the Manchester City Council “Be Proud” awards. These awards are an annual recognition of the contribution of volunteers to good citizenship which makes a difference to their neighbourhoods. Our win was announced at a glittering awards ceremony at Manchester Town Hall, and it was fitting that founder member Cos Harnasz stepped up to receive the trophy and cheque for £300 from the BBC’s Gordon Burns. The award was a great recognition of the improvements and activities the Friends have lobbied for and organised ourselves during the first decade of the Friends’ existence.
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