Rotary Way Bolton was inspired by the Boundary Walk devised by Mike Cresswell, who has produced various Mike’s Hikes. Rotarian Adrian Golland compiled the original guide with the able assistance of a small group of Rotarians, each representing one of the seven Rotary clubs in Bolton at the time that Rotary International celebrated its 100 Year Anniversary in 2005.

Fast forward to 2022, and Rotary hit another milestone as it celebrated 100 years in Bolton. To commemorate the centenary of Rotary in Bolton, the Rotary Way Footpath has been rejuvenated and brought into modern times with the placement of 100 brand new and interactive Way-markers, installed for walkers, hikers, runners and ramblers to interact with whilst on their travels.

The original guide has been upgraded and is now available for anyone to read and follow via this website. Members of the public can freely download each of the eight sections below.



by Rotarian Adrian Golland

The Rotary Way Bolton is a wonderful way to beat the bounds – of Bolton Borough! The Rotary Way Bolton was originally promoted by the seven Rotary Clubs of Bolton in 2005; Bolton, Bolton Daybreak, Bolton le Moors, Bolton Lever, Horwich, Turton and Westhoughton, to commemorate the centenary of Rotary’s existence as probably the largest charitable organisation in the world.

The intention of the project was to create an entity of lasting community benefit and 20+ years later it has proven to have accomplished its aims. The entire walk is just over 50 miles but, for convenience, has been sub-divided into eight stages (each starting and finishing on a bus route for convenience).

Why not explore the delights around the boundary of Bolton in short walks, in half-day or even full-day hikes, perhaps you’re among the few that have attempted the walk in one full go! See this page that celebrates those that have… 

How long will it take?

You can amble it (assumed average speed 2 mph), or ramble is (3 mph), or even scramble it (4 mph), just don’t shamble it (1 mph)! However you choose to do it, we think you will be exhilarated by the variety and interest to be experienced on the way. Many walkers from Bolton head for the hills in the north of the town and ignore the lower-level, but equally interesting possibilities offered by the eastern and western parts of Bolton.

Now, follow the Rotary Way footpath and see what you’ve missed: there is interest all the way round.

Where does it go?

The walk aims to keep close to the Bolton boundary, mostly inside it but sometimes unavoidably straying outside , on paths which are defined legal rights of way and avoiding roads if possible. It is not the only route round the borough, but it has been thoroughly thought out and energetically explored in order to identify and prove the optimum route. 


Interacting with the Rotary Way

by Rotary Way Bolton Chair, Rotarian Christopher Hill

Perhaps you have stumbled upon this website because you have seen the way-markers on fence posts and gates and were intrigued to find out more. OR maybe you are currently on the route and have scanned one of our QR codes with your mobile device. Or you may be planning on undertaking the walk and are here to find out what exciting treats lay in store.

No matter what your reason for being here, you have made it. You have taken your first step with interacting digitally with the Bolton Rotary Way. To celebrate 100 years of Rotary in Bolton in 2022, Rotarians installed 100 new and interactive Way-markers for users to scan with their phones. Each of the 100 way-markers brings you to a different page on this site, each containing interesting information for you to read, look at, reflect on and share.

If you are wanting to get outside and meet likeminded people, come along on the 4th May to either or both of the guided walks around Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Rotary Way Bolton as part of the Greater Manchester Walking Festival. Confirm your place by emailing 

    Consideration for the inhabitants

    Not only will you pass through beautiful Blackrod, lovely Little Lever and tantalising Turton, you will cross the border into the Bury, Salford, Wigan, Chorley and Blackburn with Darwen areas.Those who live on the route, including those whose land you cross, are likely to be friendly if you keep to the Country Code:

    • Keep to the paths
    • Do not light fires
    • Safeguard water supplies
    • Keep dogs under close control
    • Respect the life of the countryside
    • Fasten / leave all gates as you find them
    • Do not leave litter
    • Go carefully on country roads
    • Avoid damaging walls, fences and crops
    • Use gates and stiles

    Other country dwellers – such as cattle, sheep, horses, geese and dogs, even swans – will note your presence and may possibly challenge you, particularly in or near farmyards. Just keep walking and assume that their bark or other appropriate noise is worse than their bite; nobody has yet been bitten on the Rotary Way footpath.

    Appreciating the Rotary Way Bolton

    When walking the Rotary Way Bolton footpath, there is a wonderful world of sights, sounds, smells and landscapes to discover: it is not just about walking! Use every faculty so that you experience fully all that is around you as you walk. You should discover what you can around you as you walk. The guides on this website will describe the route, but look out for QR codes posted on way marker roundels at posts, stiles and gates – scan these with your mobile device and as long as you have internet connection, you will be brought back here to a dedicated page that tells you lots of information about where you are stood and other exciting information.

    Be aware also of the hazards – face traffic on roads and use the outside of bends, look out for flying golf balls on golf courses – even pause to let golf in play pass down the fairway, and so on. When crossing golf courses, some have marker posts to aim for: look out for them in the direction indicated by the waypoint markers.

    Be aware that landmarks change, and that change sometimes affects the route of footpaths: so what is described in this website and in the guides may have been changed by redevelopment etc. Above all enjoy yourself, as was the intention of the Rotary movement in Bolton when they promoted the Rotary Way Bolton footpath as a permanent community facility.

    Sketch plan of the Rotary Way Bolton footpath

    As well as sketch plans at 1:25,000 scale for each of the eight stages of the walk, a sketch plan at 1:100,000 scale below illustrates the full route in relation to Bolton and its various towns and villages, with transport links. 

    Using the maps

    The outline map in the overview section shows the whole route together with the main transport links for getting to and from any particular stage. Separate sketch-maps accompany the description of each stage, and each individual stage description is accompanied by a table of way-point grid references for those dedicated map readers. It ought to be possible to do the Rotary Way walk without maps at all, but the sketch-maps are designed to make things easier. Please note that all distances given in these guides are only approximate.

    However, if you prefer to use maps, you may find these Ordnance Survey maps useful:


    1:50,000 – Landranger maps sheets

    108 Liverpool (for the small areas west of Blackrod), and

    109 Manchester (for the remaining area)


    better still is:

    1:25,000 – Explorer maps sheets

    276 Bolton, Wigan & Warrington (for the area south and west of Harwood),

    277 Manchester & Salford (for the area south and east of Turton Heights),

    285 Southport & Chorley, Wigan, Formby & Ormskirk (for the area north and west of Partington) and

    287 West Pennine Moores, Blackburn, Darwen & Accrington (for all of the area north of Bolton Town Centre).

    Where does it start?

    The suggested eight stages for doing the Rotary Way Bolton are described in detail on each of the following pages. On each page, you will also find a handy link to download a pdf of the route that you can print and follow, which provide more detail and sketch maps. For each of the routes, you will also be able to download a .gpx file so that you can upload it to your preferred navigation device should you choose to.

    Stage 1

    Affetside to Little Lever

    5.3 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx 


    OS Explorer 277 & 276

    OS Landranger 109


    Stage 2

    Little Lever to Walkden

    8.1 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx


    OS Explorer 276

    OS Landranger 109

    Stage 3

    Walkden to Hulton Park

    4.6 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx


    OS Explorer XXX

    OS Landranger XXX

    Stage 4

    Hulton Park to Hart Common

    6.3 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx


    OS Explorer XXX

    OS Landranger XXX

    Stage 5

    Hart Common to Scot Lane End

    4.4 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx


    OS Explorer XXX

    OS Landranger XXX

    Stage 6

    Scot Lane End to Horwich

     8.3 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx


    OS Explorer XXX

    OS Landranger XXX

    Stage 7

    Horwich to Dimple

     8 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx


    OS Explorer XXX

    OS Landranger XXX

    Stage 8

    Dimple to Affetside

     5.6 miles

    Download pdf map

    Download .gpx


    OS Explorer XXX

    OS Landranger XXX

    • These stages amount to eight half-day or four whole days (at ambling pace), all beginning and ending on bus routes. But, because the walk crosses all the bus routes to and from Bolton, shorter walks can be arranged in many cases and the stages varied. Details of bus services, and also railway stations, are given in the downloadable guide for each stage.

    Some of the paths followed by the walk are rough and they may at times be muddy, flooded, frozen, dusty or obstructed, and one even seems to go through a manure heap, but if we tell you where it is it will spoil the fun! At two points, on the same stage, the walk even goes along definitive footpaths through several domestic gardens – enjoy the horticultural experience. Also wear suitable shoes or boots, and take suitable clothing for the changeable weather. Because the walk goes through farmyards, across farming land, and close to people’s houses and even through gardens, please be considerate. Above all it is hoped that users of the Rotary Way Bolton footpath, whether individually or in groups, will enjoy the experience.

    Rotary in Bolton started in 1922 with Rotary Club of Bolton, which has now amalgamated with Rotary Club of Bolton Le Moors to create Rotary Bolton with Le Moors. 

    In the past 100 years, Rotary in Bolton has grown significantly, with now six clubs and over 150 members volunteering their time and expertise for the good of the local and international community. 


    Rotary Bolton Lever

    Rotary Bolton Daybreak

    Rotary Horwich

    Rotary Turton

    Rotary Bolton with Le Moors

    Rotary Westhoughton