Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Friday, 23 April 2021

Friday 23 April 2021 - The Bowstones and Sponds Hill

Today's Friday morning 'Rule of Six' walk took place in summery weather, on a route devised by JJ, who wrote about it here. I have deliberately not read JJ's report before writing this version.

Parking up at Nelson Pit, in Higher Poynton, I was joined by Sue, Jenny, Graeme, Bridget and Graham B. We went over the canal bridge, glancing across to the scene above, and took the path into Lyme Park towards Lyme Hall. This is as close as we got to the hall.

Whilst I think JJ did an extra loop here, we joined the Gritstone Trail path for a few km, initially rising beside Knightslow Wood.

Emerging from the wood, we strolled in the face of a cool breeze up a gentle slope to the broad ridge on which the Bowstones are situated.

The Bowstones are the shafts of two late Saxon crosses, dating from the 9th or 10th centuries AD. The crosses were probably destroyed after the Reformation in the mid 1500s. Two cross heads ploughed up near Disley in C19 may have belonged to these shafts, which were perhaps placed in their present position as boundary stones or guide posts by Sir Piers Legh in the late 16th century.

We turned right along the crest of the ridge, diverting shortly to the trig point that marks the grassy 410 metre summit of Sponds Hill.

From the approach to the Bowstones, and all the way along the path to the road that leads to Brink Farm, there are fine views towards Shutlingsloe and other Peak District summits, as well as views past Jodrell Bank and right across Greater Manchester to the huge mast on Winter Hill and the windfarms of the South Pennine hills.

We continued along the Gritstone Trail path towards Bollington, with the bulbous shape of White Nancy coming into view before we took a sharp right turn to bring us on course for a visit to Pott Shrigley.

The industrial estate at Pott Shrigley was very quiet, being manned quite calmly today by a skeleton staff.

Public Footpath number 155 soon followed, and on the descent to West Parkgate we found an excellent spot at which to enjoy our lunch and admire extensive views towards Manchester and beyond.

After descending through a flourish of Wood Anemonies, a short section of road drew us to a tunnel under the Macclesfield Canal and steep steps up to the towpath past lavish clumps of Lesser Celandine.

There was some debate as to the identity of the ancient plants growing plentifully beside the canal just here. I think they are Horsetail (or they may be called mares-tail), Equisetum arvense.

A short stroll beside the canal brought us back to our starting point after a very enjoyable walk, in time to return home for beer in the garden by 3 pm.

Here's our route - about 14 km with 350 metres ascent, taking us about four and a half hours including a couple of generous breaks.

Thanks again to JJ for the route - sorry you couldn't join us.


Sir Hugh said...

Looks a good route over pleasant elevated country with good going and no sign of cow trodden, or crop edge fields.

Phreerunner said...

Correct, Conrad.