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Ed from Saddleworth appointed as the first ‘Stage Guardian’ for the GM Ringway

Ed Stacey from Greenfield in Saddleworth has become a ‘Stage Guardian’ for the GM Ringway

The team behind the GM Ringway, Greater Manchester’s walking trail, has signed up the first ‘Stage Guardian’, Ed Stacey from Greenfield in Saddleworth.

The GM Ringway project team is currently recruiting one or two people to look after each of the 20 stages of the 200-mile trail. These voluntary roles will help ensure the ongoing success of the trial for years to come. 

The Stage Guardians will be expected to walk their local trail section regularly to identify improvements or highlight maintenance issues, such as replacing signage.  They will also report any access problems, such as overgrown footpaths or broken stiles and temporary obstructions or diversions.  

Ed Stacey, 74, a former business journalist and published author from Greenfield in Saddleworth, has signed up to look after Stage 8 from Broadbottom to Greenfield. Ed, who recently became the footpath officer for the Tameside Ramblers group, took up walking just five years ago after retiring from fell running and long-distance running. 

Ed Stacey commented: “I never did much walking before 2019, but I really enjoy it now. I live close to Greenfield station, so the GM Ringway is perfect for me, and I feel a real affinity with it. I’ve walked five of the 20 stages so far, but not sequentially, and my aim is to fill in the gaps and complete it all.  I plan to walk parts of my stage regularly. I’m really looking forward to this new role.”   

Andrew Read, GM Ringway’s project lead, said: “Stage Guardians like Ed will play a vital role as our eyes and ears on the trail and ensure that the route is clear and safe for everyone to enjoy. We anticipate the volunteers will live fairly locally to their stage and know the area well. We also hope the Stage Guardians will build further awareness for their sections of the GM Ringway, perhaps by organising guided walks or promoting the trail and events on social media.” 

The GM Ringway is Greater Manchester’s walking trail. Covering all ten boroughs of the city region, the trail explores an astonishing variety of landscapes, including parks, waterways and beautiful countryside. 

Easily accessed by public transport, each of the trail’s 20 stages offers a unique walking experience. The GM Ringway visits some of the region’s most iconic landscapes, including historic canals, the Mersey Valley, the Peak District National Park, the South and West Pennines, and the new ‘Flashes of Wigan and Leigh National Nature Reserve.

In addition to its natural beauty, the GM Ringway also gives residents and visitors the opportunity to explore Greater Manchester’s rich cultural heritage. The route passes more than 40 Grade I and II*-listed buildings, 13 accredited museums and 14 scheduled ancient monuments.

*Anyone interested in applying for a Stage Guardian volunteer role can email info@gmringway.org

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