For the first of a short series of morning walks, Paul and Andrew turned up to join me at the Wizard car park on a dull, cool, dry day.
Our route was vaguely familiar, resembling some of those taken on previous visits, though there are many options hereabouts. We set off on a newly constructed National Trust path to the north, passing the viewpoint shown above and soon reaching another viewpoint at a barren area where the old mine entrance is fenced off.
On a good day there are wide ranging views over Cheshire and towards Manchester. There’s an Armada Beacon near here, built on top of a Bronze Age ‘bowl barrow’ or burial mound.
During the time of the Spanish Armada and undoubtedly hundreds of years before this time, the Edge had very few trees and was predominantly heathland, making it a perfect vantage point.
It is said that in 1588 it took 12 hours for the news that the Spanish Armada had been sighted to travel from the south coast of England all the way to York.
The area is riddled with mines and quarries. On our way down to Findlow Farm we passed a long abandoned quarry, the path drawing us around its eastern edge rather than my planned route around the other side. One of a number of ‘meanders’ away from today’s planned route.
The path to Whitehall Brook was a trifle muddy, but feet remained dry today despite the use of trail shoes.
Beyond the posh exterior of Faulkner’s (not a) Farm, we reached Mottram Bridge and the Bollin Valley Way (BVW). The last couple of times I was here, the path was blocked by a landslip, but now a diversionary path has been built, so next time I’ll try the BVW route towards Prestbury. You can just see the new path in the distance to the right of the river.
Soon afterwards, at Top o’ th’ Hill, some red ‘Pedestrians’ signs directed us into a building site to a dead end by a fence where our 1:25,000 map showed a public footpath. After a debate with the site manager we concluded that the footpath must have been officially diverted to make room for the privacy of one Tom O’Connor, of O’Connor Utilities Ltd, in what in a couple of years time will be his fancy new mansion, no doubt mimicking the ‘footprint’ of the old farm and its outbuildings. We appear to have arrived from a direction where the signage and explanation for the closed path were inadequate.
After eventually finding our way around the obstruction, we continued to a quiet spot for tea and cake, before re-joining the BVW at a footbridge over the river, immediately leaving that route to cross a golf course on a path leading to Woodside Farm, also a construction site, but unlike the O’Connor construction, this farm was being renovated rather than being replaced.
A ‘path’ leading south was full of horses that had churned it into a deep quagmire, so nobody objected when I decided to introduce an extra ‘meander’ that took us down the driveway to the farm, past vibrant daffodils in Smithy Lane.
Beyond the Bull’s Head, a pleasant path took us past Brook House Farm and Hunter’s Pool, to re-join our planned route along the North Cheshire Way, which we followed up Daniel Hill (pictured below) and past Edge House Farm (another construction site) to the Edge and the Wizard Car Park.
The Wizard tea shop was closed for renovation (if the National Trust can find a local builder who isn’t ripping down a farmhouse to supplant it with a mansion), so we headed into Alderley Edge for coffees, with bagels and cream cheese at a circular café that apparently used to be part of a motor dealership near the station. It was surprisingly good.
Here’s our route – about 14 km with 200 metres ascent, taking 3.5 hours. Click on the image to get a larger one.
Thanks to Paul and Andrew for their company today on this pleasant stroll.
Other Alderley Edge walks are recorded here.
The three other morning walks currently planned are detailed below. All are welcome.
Thursday 28 April
Morning Walk 2 - Lindow Moss (Wilmslow) and Styal Woods - 8.5 miles (13.5 km) from the Lindow Moss car park next to the Boddington Arms - SJ 832 814, starting at 10.00 am.
Friday 6 May
Morning Walk 3 - Danebridge (for Hanging Stone and Lud's Church) - 6.5 miles (11 km) from the bridge down the road from the Ship Inn - SJ 964 652, starting at 10.00 am.
Wednesday 1 June
Morning Walk 4 - 7.5 miles (12 km) from the car park at Trentabank (beyond the Leathers Smithy in Langley) - SJ 961 711, starting at 10.00 am.