This walk follows three watercourses.

These are the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal, the Croal and the Irwell.

Moses Gate Country Park is composed of 750 acres (300 hectares) of what has been described as Urban countryside.

Start at the reservoir areas.

The Crompton family made most of their vast fortune from the production of paper.

This industry could not function without copious amounts of fresh water in recent years more than 130 species of bird have been recorded around these ponds.

From the Visitors Centre bear right to the River Croal.

The River Croal around the Weir is now a major location for bird watchers.

The river is now much cleaner and fish are now present almost from the centre of Bolton to the confluence of the Croal with the Irwell.

This encourages the kingfisher which is frequently seen, along with grey wagtail and dipper.

Bear right following the meander of the River Croal and then cross over the river via a bridge.

The path then bears right through an area known as Canal Wood.

Keep bearing right and follow the towpath of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal.

Keep the canal on the left and pass through an area known as Red rocks.

Those who are interested in the Geology of the Messey Valley will know of a geological fault which pushed several very rich coal seems close to the surface.

This meant that coal mining became important in the area.

The rocks here contains iron and accounts for the rusty red colour of the rocks.

Follow the obvious footpath Nob End. By the 1790s Nob end had a large sulphuric acid factory and was followed in 1884 by a washing soda plant.

The latter produced waste material which has allowed rare plants to grow. The area has now been designated as aSite of Special Strategic Interest.

Orchids are a rare feature of this area.

Continue along a path with the line of the old Manchester, Bury and Blackburn Canal on the left.

Continue on to the ancient village of Ringley.

Near to the church is a set of 17th century stocks and a packhorse bridge dating from 1677.

From the church and Fold Road follow a track to reach Clifton Country Park. Clifton Lake has settled down so well that it is hard to believe that it was only dug in the 1960s to provide gravel used in the construction of the M62 motorway.

From Clifton Country Park sweep to the right and pass Stoneclough Trading Estate and cross the road. The railway is seen to the left but continue into Kearsley Park.

Pass through the park with the ever-cleaner River Irwell on the right.

Reach the confluence of the Irwell and the Croal and follow the line of the letter keeping the river on the right. Pass Darley Park and the Cemetery on the left and bear left into Moses Gate Country Park.

Take time to follow the boardwalk routes around the lodges.

How to get there

From the M61 turn off at Junction 3.

Follow the A666 through Kearsley and Farnworth.

Moses Gate Country Park is signed off the A666 and reached along Hall Lane, where there is free parking.

Distance: 6½ miles but there are plenty of shorter circular walks around the site.