School Rail Trail

The Irwell Valley wasn’t just built by people – it was carved from the land by natural processes.

On this educational day trip, pupils will learn all about how human and natural landscapes are formed, and carry out interactive geography fieldwork to help them collect, analyse and communicate with all kinds of interesting data.

Travelling on a heritage steam or diesel train, students will study the geography of the River Irwell, learning about erosion and deposition – as well as discovering how an ox-bow lake is formed. They’ll also see how people use land throughout the valley.

Who’s it for?

The School Rail Trail is suitable for upper Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 pupils. Practical activities can be included by arrangement.

Dates, times & prices

The School Rail Trail is a full day activity, suitable for primary school trips and secondary school trips. It can take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between Easter and July, and in September.

  • Rail Trail – Full Day with Railway Journey
    £10 per pupil
  • Accompanying Adult Ticket

Trip timetable

  • 09.30 - 10.00
    Arrival at Bury Bolton Street
  • 09.30 - 10.45
    Introductory presentation or visit to Bury Transport Museum
  • 10.45 - 11.00
    Transfer to Bolton Street Station
  • 11.05
    Train departs to Rawtenstall
  • 11.35
    Arrival at Rawtenstall, toilet visit
  • 11.45
    Begin riverside walk (lunch break by arrangement and allowing for weather conditions).
  • 13.45
    Arrive Irwell Vale
  • 14.02
    Train departs for Bur
  • 14.25
    Arrive Bury, optional shop visit
  • 14.30
    Depart for school
FAQs Icon


What’s included?
  • Full risk assessment
  • Safety talk and introductory presentation
  • Return trip from Bury to Rawtenstall on a heritage train
  • Expert guide to deliver the course
  • Worksheets and handouts
  • Reference materials for teaching staff
  • Guided walks along the River Irwell from Rawtenstall to Irwell Vale
  • Visit to Bury Transport Museum (optional)
  • Shop visit (optional)
What should we bring?
  • Walking boots or strong trainers
  • Warm clothing and waterproofs
  • Long trousers (recommended)
  • Notebook and writing materials
  • Packed lunch and drink
Download our guide

For more information on our School Rail Trail educational visit, download our guide.