WITH your back to EAT, go diagonally to the right across the open space and up the short escalator next to the Early Learning Centre.

Go ahead to Market Street and turn left. Shortly cross Fountain Street/High St and the tramlines, and continue with Debenhams on your left.

Go straight ahead with more shops on your left and Piccadilly Gardens and various statues on the right. (Watch out for bicycles on the pavement!) There are several crossings controlled by lights, and at the end of the Gardens you swing slightly right at the Newton St junction by the Piccadilly pub, following pedestrian signs for Piccadilly Station and Sportcity.

You will cross Portland Street at the lights then turn left briefly to cross Piccadilly at the lights, then turn left into it to continue along this road. Just after you pass the Malmaison Hotel, the old Joshua Hoyle building, cross Ducie Street at the lights and then swing left into it, following pedestrian signs for Piccadilly Village (among other things) -street name sign not obvious.

Pass the Place Apartments Hotel, a converted historic warehouse building,, cross one bridge over a canal arm and just past Computerlove cross the main Ashton Canal and immediately turn right (leaving the road), following pedestrian signs for Piccadilly Village.

Ignore the footbridge on your right and continue left with the canal on your right.

After the first lock you will leave Piccadilly Village and enter a more traditional area with some preserved buildings and some redevelopment.

Continue some distance along the canal, passing several locks and some startling modern buildings. Go under Bridge 3, cross bidge 3A and go under bridge 4. Continue to Bridge 5, where you go up the steps to turn left at the top into Beswick Street. Continue to the traffic lights ahead. Cross here at the lights, then turn left into Old Mill Street and shortly take the first right into Chippenham Road.

Continue, bearing left, to a T junction with Woodward Street.

Turn left, but after a few yards swing right, following a pedestrian sign to the Rochdale Canal past some unbelievably ornate new houses suggesting Moorish architectural styles (referred to locally as the Lego houses).

The Rochdale Canal runs for 32 miles (51 km) across the Pennines from the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in Manchester to join the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire.

Fork left up a slope towards a canal bridge, and then turn left down a ramp to the Rochdale Canal towpath and continue with the canal on your right for a few minutes until you reach a pedestrian bridge with steep steps. Cross the bridge and continue into Henry Street.

At the time of checking the route, February 2012, this part of the towpath was closed for reconstruction work. It was necessary to cross the canal bridge, cross the junction with Bengal St keeping the canal to your left, past Royal Mill before turning right into Henry St.

Some hyper-modern seating by the canal here provides the best chance for a rest. You are now in an area of warehouses that have been converted to flats.

Enjoy the modern version of cobbled streets –maintaining the atmosphere but with the cobbles much smoother than the traditional ones.

Carry on along Henry St until you reach the T junction with George Leigh Street. Turn left and you will shortly reach Great Ancoats Street. Use the lights to cross this, and turn right. Cross Oldham Street with care - there are no pedestrian lights here - and turn left into Tib Street.

Almost immediately, take the first right into Smithfield Gardens leading to Foundry Lane.

The changed style of the street name-plates shows that you are now in Manchester’s quirky Northern Quarter.

When you reach Coop Street turn left at William Fairburn Way. You will shortly reach the Manchester Craft Centre.

Turn right into Copperas Street and continue to High Street. Turn left here, and continue past some side turnings to the T junction.

Fork left (this is still High Street), cross Church Street at the lights and either cross High Street to re-enter the Arndale Centre and return to EAT or continue along High Street to reach Market Street and Piccadilly Gardens.


Manchester Piccadilly and the Northern Quarter Difficulty: Easy Walking time: one hour and 21 minutes.

Length of walk: Two miles.

Start location: Outside EAT, Exchange Court, Manchester M1 1WR Route

Summary: Explore the recently redeveloped northern part of the city along streets and towpaths.

Visit Piccadilly Village, Manchester Craft Centre and the Victorian fish and poultry market.

Not suitable for wheelchairs due to steps.

Full listing at ramblers.org.uk