Two Bolton volunteers have been made ‘Stage Guardians’ for the GM Ringway, Greater Manchester’s walking trail.

David McLenachan and Richard Hawksworth have been tasked with ensuring the trail remains in peak condition as well as identifying any potential problems.

The two volunteers met for the first time on 16th March at Bromley Cross, where David’s stage ends and Richard’s begins.

David, a professional photographer from Ainsworth who will ‘guard’ Stage 13 – from Bury to Bromley Cross – said: “I’m a regular hiker and country walker and familiar with much of the northern parts of the GM Ringway, so I am really looking forward to this new role which will help me keep fit and active.”

The role involves walking the routes regularly and highlighting any maintenance or access issues, such as signage needing replacement or overgrown footpaths.

The Bolton News: Richard Hawksworth and David McLenachanRichard Hawksworth and David McLenachan (Image: Newsquest)

Richard, a recently retired International Sales Director who has lived in Horwich for the last thirty years, said: “I’m interested in protecting the environment, the ecology of our region and opening it up to everyone in a managed, accessible and sustainable way.”

He will look after Stage 14, between Bromley Cross and Blackrod stations, on a route which also includes Winter Hill – the final ‘big hill’ of the GM Runway.

Richard walks the West Pennine Moors most weekends with his dog, Humphrey, and is keen to educate others on the area’s stories.

He said: “I’m looking forward to taking groups out and giving back to the community.

"There’s so much history on this stretch of the trail, including the Winter Hill Mass Trespass of 1896.

“I would love to share it with local people.”

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Commenting on the new roles, GM Ringway’s project lead Andrew Read said: “Stage Guardians like David and Richard will play a vital role as our eyes and ears on the trail and help ensure that the route is clear and safe for everyone to enjoy.”

The GM Ringway has 20 stages in total, and visits some of Greater Manchester’s most impressive landscapes.

With 13 accredited museums on the route as well, there is ample opportunity for visitors to explore the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Anyone interested in applying for a Stage Guardian volunteer role can email