The best way to see what we stand to lose from the £580 million Hazel Grove-M60 Bypass is to follow the four-and-a half mile route step by step, as it was planned in 2004, through some beautiful green spaces. This is how it goes.
Following the trajectory from Bredbury southwards we soon come upon an amazing rural scene in the Lower Goyt Valley (see picture above). But first there are two distinctive green spaces that can be visited .
From the M60 Junction 25, the bypass will dissect Crookilley Way roundabout and cut off the edge of Crookilley Woods Nature Reserve – a steeply sided valley of ancient woodland hidden from the motorway next door.
The bypass will plunge into a roofed cutting (or tunnel) under Stockport Road West. This is dual carriageway so the hole will be wide and deep. Houses on either side will be so close that residents will be at risk from exhaust fumes rising through ventilation shafts. The planned location of the tunnel is highly visible. The space, known locally as “the Gulley”, has been kept clear of building, but not greenery. There is a path, a little stream and pleasant views.
Just south of Osborne Street the gap for the bypass opens on to a brook within another stretch of old woodland, Vernon Road Woods Nature Reserve (and Site of Biological Interest) – that’s two woods that will be wrecked within half a mile . At this point the route emerges from the tunnel amid intense noise and fumes. Out in the open, it ploughs a shallow cutting across fields.
- For anyone following the route on foot, Dark Lane (aka Alan Newton Way) outside the gates of Bredbury Hall is a good starting point, with parking. The lane is a well-used cyclists’ and walkers’ bridleway running 150 yards or so downhill and to the south west of the bypass route. The walk along the bypass route is shown as dots on the map.
For now, the Goyt Valley is peaceful countryside despite busy roads not far away. Looking south east from the bridleway, no buildings can be seen to the far horizon, apart from local farms. To the south west is thickly wooded Woodbank Park rising above the far bank of the Goyt.
Just to the west of the bypass route, the bridleway crosses the homely yard of Middle Farm and then bends around to pass Goyt Hall, a fine half-timbered manor house become farm. The official environmental assessment of the route published in 2003 says that a potential archaeological site of ancient settlement will be lost to the bypass on the higher ground above the hall. You can walk up hill to Clapgate (opposite Goyt Hall) to the unmarked site and some fine views across the valley. You can also walk around woodland just north west of Clapgate which will be devastated by the bypass.
Almost exactly at the possible location of the ancient site the bypass will enter a deep cutting, shadowing a line of pylons. The dual carriageway will gouge a huge trench across the landscape 14 metres deep and up to 50 metres wide at its maximum close to houses of Romiley/Bredbury Green. The road will come back into full view on an embankment before crossing the Goyt on a 200-metre span bridge (assuming the recent suggestion of a nightmare 550-metre high-level bridge is not incorporated into the plans). On the other side of the river, the road will burrow into a wooded hillside and quarry.
By the river, it’s worth keeping an eye out for magnificent herons. They are the most visible of the valley’s rich wildlife. In the river are salmon, trout and barbell; on its bank evidence of otters . Above are buzzards and other raptors as well as smaller birds that would not usually be seen so close to an urban centre.
Our journey continues into a special place, the Poise Brook Valley Nature Reserve.
- As walkers approach the Goyt, a path on the right is angled back towards the river. The Jim Fearnley footbridge takes us across and into the wooded haven of the Poise Brook Valley.