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Does chugging through lush valleys and pretty villages, stopping at some of the finest drinking establishments en route to sample a pint of locally brewed ale sound like the ideal way to spend a day? Then embark on a Rail Ale Trail and explore the fascinating history, heritage and hops that the area is home to.
This classic trail will see you make your way along the most travelled section of our 12 mile line, visiting the finest watering holes the Irwell Valley has to offer. This no-nonsense tour is fantastic for both lovers of real ale, and lovers of local history!
The tours include an unlimited travel ticket for the East Lancashire Railway, a Blue or Green Badge Guided Tour lasting the full day, a bottle of ale and lunch.
Walking grade: 2
Lunch venue: Local pub/restaurant serving ales. Please note the menu is a set meal so if you have any dietary requirements please let us know when making your booking.
Start/finish point: All tours start and finish at Bury Bolton Street Station
Start time: 10:30am
Meeting point: The Trackside, Platform 2, where you will be introduced to your tour guide before commencing the tour
||Amount/Type of Walking
||No walking involved
||Walking 5 – 10 minutes on pavements between pubs. Villages are set in a valley, therefore hilly
||Walking 10 – 20 minutes on pavements between pubs. Villages are set in a valley, therefore hilly
||Strenuous walking 20 – 30 minutes between pubs, walking on pavements uphill, muddy track through woods, good grip boots/shoes required
||Hiking involved, hiking boots required. Steep hills and muddy tracks. 20 minutes – 1 hour walk between pubs
Read more about Rail Ale Trail Guided Tours
Important Information and Getting Here
The tour will meet on Platform 2 of Bury Bolton Street Station at 10:30am and will run until approximately 4pm. The Trackside Bar will be open from 12pm – 12am (Friday) and 10:30am – 12am (Saturday). You will get a full lunch and have the opportunity to buy snacks during the tour.
For information on how to find Bury Bolton Street Station as well as a helpful guide to local transportation links, please visit our Getting Here page.
The East Lancashire Railway aims to provide a quality experience for all participants by offering a maximum of 25 places per tour. Themed tours are available throughout the year and pre-booking is essential. All tours include a set meal at a local establishment for lunch. Please advise of any dietary requirements when booking. Lunch venue is subject to change. Tours start and finish at Bury Bolton Street Station and participants can use their ticket to travel on the line throughout the day. Tours do not stay on the train for the duration and require some form of walking, whether that’s the short, level walk from the station to the pub or a more strenuous walk around some of the local scenery - please read each individual tour description carefully. Due to the varied terrains on which the tours take place visitors with mobility difficulties are asked to contact the railway prior to booking to discuss individual requirements and tailored tour itineraries. All tours focus on stories, history and heritage of the local area, its brewing traditions and the people who have shaped the area over the centuries. Whilst dogs are allowed on the train they may not be permitted in the pubs, therefore, aside from Guide Dogs, we do not recommend bringing pets along on the tour. Please note that hen and stag parties are prohibited on the Rail Ale Trail tours. Tours are suitable for visitors aged 18 years + only. The East Lancashire Railway reserves the right to refuse entry and travel to any customers who join the tour as part of a stag or hen party, or are too heavily under the influence of alcohol.
The East Lancashire Railway welcomes people of all abilities and we strive to make sure we are easily accessible to everyone. Therefore, we encourage you to get in touch if you have any questions or requirements, and we will do our best to help you plan your visit. You can contact us on 0333 320 2830 and press option two twice, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of our stations offer step-free access, and on most services we carry a ramp to allow step-free access to our trains. Disabled toilet facilities are available on most operating days at Bury, Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall and Heywood Stations as well as Bury Transport Museum. If you have any questions or further requirements, please get in touch.