Last night Sue and I enjoyed another summer’s evening outing with SWOG, starting from the Cheshire Ring pub in Hyde. Numbers were down – only 27 tonight – people must be on holiday.
We started off by dashing across the A57 and onto the Peak Forest Canal towpath – a rather muddy section of the Cheshire Ring canal network (but unlike the towpath through Timperley, this one is at least open).
Conditions were lush and warm.
We left the towpath at Apethorn Lane to stroll along a 2.5 km section of disused railway between Apethorn Lane, Hyde and Green Lane, Godley, managed by The Countryside Service. This is a section of the Trans Pennine Trail, providing a good path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, even wheelchair users.
The route of the old railway is green corridor with woodland, scrub and grassland creating a local wildlife haven. In the grasslands flowers like knapweed, teasel, and clovers provide colourful displays and food for insects and birds.
The original railway was built in 1866 by the Cheshire Lines Committee, primarily as a freight link to Chester and Liverpool, avoiding Manchester. In 1954 the eastern mainline near Godley was electrified and a large turntable had to be built at that end so that engines could be changed. The pit for this turntable is shown below, with Howard either showing particular interest, being sick in the pit, or dropping his glasses. With the closure of the Woodhead route in the 1970's the line became little used and was closed in 1981. It remained disused until the new Trans Pennine section of trail was created in 2000/01.
After back-tracking a little, Pete and Sue led us through a series of ginnels and into Vincent Park, between Godley and Hyde.
The name "HYDE" is apparently derived from the hide, a measure of land for taxation purposes, taken to be that area of land necessary to support a peasant family. In later times it was taken to be equivalent to 120 acres .
Anyway, a bit further on we came across this folly, under which some members of the party recalled lighting fires back in their youth.
The folly isn’t accessible from the front as it’s in the grounds of a day nursery, but I believe it is in fact a castellated pigsty dating from 1767. The handsome structure, built of local stone and still with many of its original features still intact, is apparently one of a pair. I don’t know where the other one is – perhaps at the bottom of Sandra’s garden? But who is Sandra?
All in all, a very interesting route, on ground that other than the canal section I was not familiar. Thanks Pete and Sue.
Here’s the map – 8 km (5 miles), with 50 metres ascent, taking rather less than 2 hours, and adjourning to the excellent Beartown bitter of The Cheshire Ring.
There’s a ‘Deepest Cheshire’ evening walk on 7 August (today), starting at the Swettenham Arms (SJ 800 672) at 7.30pm. All are welcome, though I can’t guarantee even a fraction of last night’s attendance figures.