Gorton - Hyde Road

Friday 19 October 2018

The Hyde Road Stagger as this used to be called is now but a shadow of its former self. At one time the journey from the Apollo roundabout to Debdale Park was divided into three to avoid the danger of alcohol poisoning. Now the first public house is not reached until Pottery Way is crossed, near the former site of Belle Vue Bobs, a distance of 1.3 miles. Unfortunately the Travellers Call, though owned by Hydes, does not sell any real ale, but at least it is still a pub unlike its two close companions, one being closed, the other trading as a general store. A further three quarters of a mile down the road, behind the Aldi store, there used to be another Hyde's house, the Pineapple. This is now a toddler's nursery, so alcohol would be an unwise beverage to provide!

Technically tonight's stagger starts at J W Lees' Suburban Hotel on Cross Street. Locating the pub can be problematic as the Tesco mega store has all but swallowed the Suburban Hotel in the manner of a white blood cell consuming a bacterium. To locate - stand in front of the store; travel away from Hyde Road towards Gorton Library; turn left on Garratt Way and when the back corner of Tesco is reached the Suburban is revealed on the left across a patch of grass. You are now approaching the back door, as the original front is facing Tesco's delivery yard on a few meters of the original Cross Street, Gorton. When all the streets in this area were swept away in the 60s modernisation, Cross Street was obliterated all but for this short length. The Suburban was extended around this time, and the new and old parts are very easily observed.

As I said earlier, technically this is the start of the stagger but the viability of real ale has be patchy in recent years such that we are eliminating it as a starting point (you are welcome to check it out for yourself, just in case!

Our first muster point at 7:30pm tonight is the Plough on the corner of Wellington Street and Hyde Road (get off buses 7, 201, 203, 204, 205 and 206 at the bus stop by Tesco's petrol station, or if on the 53, 168, 171 or 172 alight by Tesco and cross the car park).

Here stands Robinsons' Plough Hotel, Plough Hotel, Hyde Road, Gorton a historic building stretching back to the Victorian era and including some even older parts. It is a Grade II listed, and reading English Heritage's website they note the site has a beer house licenced in 1823 recorded. A year or two ago it was re-decorated and some of the recent (60s?) fittings have been removed which has taken it back towards its original décor. When the clutter on the bar back (mock Jacobean according to English Heritage) was remove the original "till" was revealed, a series of hollows scooped out of the work-surface and a slot for notes. Other historic features of note are the glazed tiles in the lobby area and the fitted wooden seating plus parquet floor in the vault. A nice modern touch are the lamp shades over the bar made out of cut down wine bottles (yes it sounds tacky, but I think they are stylish). Beers on offer can vary but usually Unicorn and Trouper with occasionally others.

We now face a longish walk along Chapman Street and up Cross Lane (the continuation of Cross Street seen outside the Suburban) to establish whether the Cotton Tree has started selling any real ale.

It is then across the road for our 8:30pm meeting point at the Royal Oak, Cross Lane, Gorton Royal Oak, run by Les Park and Lynn Crossthwaite, who used to run the Lord Nelson (see later) and have now returned to Gorton after a sojourn in the Audenshaw area. Originally the building was divided in two, but back in the 70s next door was acquired and the current two roomed layout established. Numerous photos cover the walls charting the history and significant moments of the two Manchester football clubs. The beers on offer are Sharps Doombar plus occasional "guest" beers, but Les is keen to build up trade to allow a third handpump to be added. Most nights see some attraction, such as darts teams (both ladies and gents), karaoke, open-mike sessions and artists. An over 21s policy is operated - which suits the locals just fine. The best way to sum the Royal Oak up is to quote that much overused phrase "It's a typical friendly back street boozer" - enough said.

Using High Bank and Tan Yard Brow we make our way back to Hyde Road, emerging almost under the old railway bridge which now forms a part of the Fallowfield Loop, an 8 mile cycle and pathway stretching from Chorlton right through to Fairfield station in Openshaw. Anyone interested in history should take note of this bridge because a soon to be commenced road widening scheme will sweep it away and replace it with one more suitably scaled for a cycleway.

Turning left we gaze at the closed Bandstand in the new hotel and leisure complex built adjacent to Debdale Park. We then cross Hyde Road to checkout the rumour that the Friendship infrequently sees appearances of real ale, so we will be popping in to ascertain the accuracy of this datum.

Traveling north back towards Manchester, Waggon & Horses, Hyde Road, Gorton and circling around our final goal, we come to the Waggon and Horses, a fine Holts pub built astride the junction of the old road and the Gorton bypass. Confused - let me explain. Far Lane, which is the road running behind the pub is one of the old "country lanes" which used to snake around Gorton. This was replaced by a turnpike road in the mid-1800s, and this is what became the present Hyde Road. Turnpikes cut across country in straight lines and you can see how much of a bee-line the road makes for Manchester by noting how it aligns directly on the Beetham Tower. Enough of history and back to the Waggon and Horses. Internally there are a number of rooms, from the vault to the left, through the lounge to the right with a games room plus a cosy snug to the rear. A number of large television screens are dotted around, and these are extensively used for important sporting events. Holts bitter is always on and has been accompanied by occasional "other" from the Holts stable.

Upon leaving the Waggon and Horses, we will travel a little further along Hyde Road to check whether there is still real ale available in the Lord Nelson. When run by Les Park and Lynn Crossthwaite of Royal Oak fame, the Nelson was a pub of the month, but on their departure it has reverted to being a food and sport establishment. There have been periods of closure recently, but new licensee have moved in and real ale is again available.

Coming out of the Nelson we head back down Hyde Road and reach the Gorton Butterfly Garden, Vale Cottage, Kirk Street, Gorton a rather grand name for a small conservation area which contain both wild flowers and a small community orchard. Sadly this may be obliterated by the aforementioned road widening scheme. Continuing through the garden we head down the snicket and over the Gore Brook to the Vale Cottage. There is a slightly more direct route from the Lord Nelson, but is unlit, so this makes a safer alternative. At this time of year the, because all the trees are in full leaf, the Vale Cottage is hidden in its own private world, where as in winter an inviting light shining over the front door of the pub beckons you forth. This, along with being the result of combining several cottages, with different levels and geometries, gives the pub the feeling of a country pub - in fact this is their moniker. There is always a cosy feel to the pub as you walk in, helped at dinnertime and early evening by the home cooked meals on offer. Three ales are on the bar, Taylors Landlord is permanent, the second pump caries a semi-permanent brew which changes after two or three months and a third handpumpwhich usually changes weekly. Various clubs and groups meet here and the quiz nights (Tuesday - general knowledge, Thursday - Music) are a challenge. To further enhance the country pub feel, the beer garden to the rear has been given a makeover and is already inviting. but given a month or twos growth of the planting and it could become a wildlife haven. I know where I will be drinking my beer tonight - baring thunderstorms!

Why not join us on this interesting stager encompassing Grade II listed buildings, back street boozers and country pubs, all within Gorton. Bus 203, half hourly in the evening will transport you to/from Stockport, while this co-ordinates with the 201, 204, 205 and 206

Below, clicking on Map will call up a Google travel map with that location automatically set as the destination. Insert your current location (post code?) as the start and choose a travel mode (public, car, cycle or foot) and discover your travel options.

Following THIS LINK will take you to the Transport for Greater Manchester website for current travel information.


Gorton — Hyde Road


Pub Name


Bus & Rail


No longer on stagger

Traveller's Call
521-523 Hyde Road
M12 5FL
Belle Vue
No Real Ale
Gorton Cross Street
M18 8LD
Belle Vue
No Real Ale

Start point

927 Hyde Road
M18 7FB
Ryder Brow


Cotton Tree
79 Cross Lane
M18 8NY
No Real Ale

Mid point

Royal Oak
114 Cross Lane
M18 8NZ


1077 Hyde Road
M18 7LJ
Ryder Brow
786-788 Hyde Road
M18 7JD
Ryder Brow
No Real Ale
Waggon & Horses
736 Hyde Road
M18 7EF
Ryder Brow
Lord Nelson
3 Fox Fold
M18 7FA
Ryder Brow

Finishing at

Vale Cottage
Kirk Street
M18 8UE
Ryder Brow

View Gorton Stagger in a larger map

Updated 6 May 2018