As well as being a Plodder, the inimitable Reg is also a Railway Rambler. It was one of the latter rambles that inspired him to plot this fascinating stroll, which at no point strayed more than 2 miles from its starting point.
We convened at Middlewood Station. It's in the middle of a wood! One other bemused passenger was directed towards the nearest road, as there is no vehicular access to the station.
This Convention of Plodders then posed for the above photograph. Given the aura of the out of place young man on the left of the photo, we have now all placed orders with the Rejuvenating Hat Company.
After a short walk along the Middlewood Way we arrived at Higher Poynton Station. One joker suggested that this would be an appropriate route for Don, a stalwart Plodder who often appears on these pages, as he would struggle to find somewhere to fall over. Reg decreed that this was not at all humourous and declared ten minutes silence over mugs of tea and a hefty dose of fudge brownies, in memory of Don’s ankle which was shattered last week by a slippery blade of grass on Pen-y-ghent. A report can be found here (you may need to scroll down to 3 October).
A nearby Visitor Centre provided a challenge for this myopic bunch of pensioners, for whom the information there, together with today’s closely typed six page handout from Reg, plus numerous information boards, left several Plodders searching for Information Overload tablets.
There's a pricey museum of industrial archeology (engines) nearby. It was shut. Reg gave a useful précis in lieu of a formal visit, whilst Allan posed by an exhibit.
We visited the sites of various pits, tramroads and railways, mainly built on private land so not requiring an Act of Parliament. There’s much more information on them here.
Our ramble involved walking up and down a series of tramroads and railway lines. These days they are leafy lanes close to affluent suburbs of Manchester, but as recently as the 1930’s both the railways and the horse-powered tramroads were still in limited use prior to the closure of the last of the collieries.
Lunch was taken at a garden centre where a miniature railway must attract huge numbers of weekend visitors. It was busy today even though the railway wasn’t operating (despite evidence to the contrary within Reg’s slideshow!), despite Ann’s best efforts.
The walk continued through leafy suburbs with exuberant street furniture, before joining the Prince’s Incline. This led nearly all the way back to the Middlewood Way, where popular demand required Reg to lead us to a local fleshpot. The Boar’s Head duly met said ‘fleshpot’ criteria, where more brownies supplemented the beer.
Before we knew it we were back at Middlewood, where most of the others left on a train whilst I tried to navigate my way back to my car near High Lane.
There’s a short slideshow here.
Here's our route - see if you can follow the arrows! 15-16 km (10 miles) with about 140 metres ascent.
Here’s what my Garmin gadget made of the trip:
Reg’s more accurate report is here (scroll down).
PS I happen to be leading the next Plod, to which all readers are welcome. It’s on 31st October, with the highlight being a visit to Lud's Church. We will be starting at 10.30 from Danebridge (SJ 965 652). Take the A523 from Macclesfield towards Leek, turn L along the A54 towards Buxton, then after nearly 4 miles turn R to Wincle then Danebridge, where there's plenty of space to park on the roadside before the bridge.
The walk is about 11 miles, with no refreshment point - it's a circuit via Hanging Stone, the Roaches, and Lud's Church (a cave). Afterwards I'll be going to the Knot Inn in nearby Rushton Spencer for refreshments with anyone else who wants to come along.