Public Invited to Tour New Manchester Rail Trail

Public Invited to Tour New Manchester Rail Trail

Public Invited to Tour New Manchester Rail Trail

From left, touring Manchester’s new trail, are Mike Snow, Jennifer Sendra Snow and Shawn Harrington, with trail builders Dave Quesnel, Bill Drunsic, Kathe Dillmann and Jim Hand. Photo courtesy of Robin Verner.

From left, touring Manchester’s new trail, are Mike Snow, Jennifer Sendra Snow and Shawn Harrington, with trail builders Dave Quesnel, Bill Drunsic, Kathe Dillmann and Jim Hand. Photo courtesy of Robin Verner.

Explore the area’s newest multi-use trail, the Manchester Rail Trail; the walk is about 2.5 miles and takes about an hour and a half. The scenic pathway crosses over open fields with mountain vistas and through a variety of diverse woodlands.

Guided tours by those spearheading the trail development can be arranged by contacting bikemanchestervermont@gmail.com. Tours will meet at either Manchester Rec Park or at Riley Rink, then shuttle to the trail’s end on North Road. Wear good walking footwear.

The trail was cleared over the summer to allow for walking and trail running. Ultimately, it will also be open to non-motorized travel via bicycle, cross country skis and snowshoes. Further trail work and bridge building will be required to open it fully to all these activities. Town voters will have an opportunity to vote on town acquisition of the trail at Manchester Town Meeting this coming March.

The pathway follows the old rail bed of the M D & G (Manchester-Dorset-Granville) Railway, which hauled marble from the South Dorset quarries to Manchester Depot until the mid-1920s. Remnants of this activity – including ties, spikes and pieces of marble – are visible along the historic route.

Parking to access the trail is available but limited at the North Road entrance opposite Squires Road, but ample at both the Rec Center on Bonnet Street and Riley Rink on Route 7A north. The rail trail is an extension of the existing path that starts at Manchester Elementary Middle School, crosses through the Rec Center and continues to Riley Rink. It is marked by surveyor tape starting at the intersection of Riley Rink’s north field and Pigpen Road and from the North Road entrance. Dogs are required to be on a leash all along the route. For a good look at the new trail, you can view an on-site interview with trail principals at gnat-tv.org.

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