Route description & photos
This route is an absolute delight! It is also great for anyone with a sweet tooth, with potentially no less than four honesty box type stalls of delicious homemade produce to be visited en route. If passing through Macclesfield to the walk start point, and you're early enough, why not grab a Spearing's meat & potato pie from the legendary butchers on Park Green?
Start from Higher Hurdsfield. There may be roadside parking available, or it may be possible to park at Higher Fold at the top end of Higher Hurdsfield.
Walk up the main road a short distance before bearing left into Well Lane. This is a very quiet road and you are unlikely to be disturbed by passing cars. Ignore the byway going off to your left, but continue around to the right to walk past Swascoe Hall.
When the lane then bears right, head straight on onto a public footpath that is a well surfaced road initially. This is the access road down to Lower Swanscoe Farm.
When you reach the buildings, the footpath leaves the drive on the right hand side, to then contour in a straight line along the gentle hillside.
The path angles right to climb up some steps to a road. This is the access road to Swanscoe Farm, which is a separate entity to the Lower Swanscoe Farm you have just passed through. Walk just a short distance down this road but as it swings left into the farm, take the gate on the right to continue along the public footpath along the side of Kerridge Hill.
This public right of way becomes a pleasant walled track with good views out to the left. Eventually some buildings appear, which indicates you are approaching the first part of Kerridge. A path going off to the right and up some steep stone steps leads to "Jacob's Ladder" up to the quarry and Windmill Lane. That features in other Lockdown Walk routes on this site, but not this one, so continue ahead.
Walk past a gate marked "Walk through only" and into a passageway. Kerridge is a small village almost adjoined to the larger mill town of Bollington. This part of Kerridge is a lovely glimpse into days past with its quiet cobbled lanes and rows of stone cottages.
Look out for a public footpath sign pointing up a step to the right and between two buildings. This leads straight ahead up some steps, and they also feature in other routes on this site, but again, not this one! Instead, look to your left for a narrow passageway behind a stone cottage, marked with a yellow arrow public footpath sign on a stone.
The flagged path continues along the hillside between private gardens. A couple of paths going off to the left lead down to Oak Lane, and an honesty box shop that is often operational on fine days. This offers homemade flapjacks, brownies, and bottles of apple juice from the nearby Random Apple Company, a sign for which you will have passed back near the beginning of this route. If that diversion is taken, return back to this point afterwards. Continue in pretty much a straight line along the path, which also maintains a consistent level contour. As it emerges into a more open field, the flagstones continue, but the cottages on Redway Lane ahead come into view.
Climb over the wall stile and into Redway Lane. On the opposite side of the road, walk up along the raised pavement to the hairpin bend. Ignore the first public footpath going off to the left, but pass what used to be the Redway Tavern pub on the bend.
Turn left into the track marked with a "White Nancy" signpost. This route does not climb up to White Nancy or over any part of the Kerridge Hill ridge. Several other Lockdown Walk routes do though if you fancy that another time. The track meanders as it climbs the hill to the start of the White Nancy path on the right. It then starts to drop gradually as good views over the mill town of Bollington open up to the left.
A stone bench beside the path could be a useful rest location for a bite to eat or cup of coffee from the flask.
Continue down the track until it forks into two. Both options continue to the village of Rainow, but we will bear left down to Ingersley Vale.
In Ingersley Vale is a settlement called Waulkmill. In years gone by there was a large mill here powered by a very large waterwheel. Its redeeming feature is now an impressive waterfall. Again, the path splits into two. Again, both options lead to Rainow, and again, this route takes the path to the left, passing between the buildings on the left and waterfall on the right. This then leads through a gate onto a good flagged path across a field.
This path was engineered so that the mill workers could walk to work and back from their homes in Rainow. It is a great path and in my opinion is the best of several routes from Kerridge to Rainow, apart from the walk over Kerridge Hill of course!
The path has a bit of everything - walled sections, stone bridges, open fields and woodland. It passes behind a row of cottages and out into the first part of Rainow village encountered on this walk. As the path emerges from behind the last cottage, there is an honesty box stall on the right with homemade jams and preserves.
Continue ahead to a T-junction in a residential area of Rainow. Turn right to walk around the bend past Rainow Primary School and up to the main B5470 Macclesfield to Whaley Bridge road. Turn right, passing Holy Trinity Church on your left.
Walk only a short distance down the road (in the Macclesfield direction) before taking a track, marked as a public footpath, that forks off on the left.
Ignore the first public footpath leading off to the right; this would just take you back to the main road. Instead, continue up the track for around 500m until another footpath is signed on the right-hand side. Climb over this wall stile and follow the angled grassy path downhill towards the trees. At the bottom, cross the wooden footbridge over the River Dean.
On the other side of the bridge, climb up the grassy bank path towards an isolated farmhouse. Veer up to the right corner of the field to exit onto the farm access track, and then into another field with another climb up to Berristal Road.
The route continues to climb, but at no point is the gradient overly demanding. Some interesting gates and stiles are encountered, and in some places it is important to keep looking ahead for the next stile, as it is otherwise easy to veer off course and accidentally follow routes for farm vehicles.
After a crossroads of public footpaths is reached, follow the good track ahead to Hordern Farm. Hopefully the honesty box shop will be out and you can treat yourself to some of Chloe's amazing "Little Cottage Fudge" - homemade in a variety of flavours. So far I have tried the Baileys, Mini-Eggs, Toblerone, Mars, Chocolate Orange and Tablet varieties, and they are all superb. She also stocks apple juice from the Random Apple Company and usually has a discount deal for one 100g bag of fudge with a bottle of juice. Chloe displays her PayPal information at the stall so you can pay on your phone (mobile data coverage seems reliable up here) if you don't have cash.
You may well be greeted by one or more of the friendly little dogs, or indeed the friendly residents at Hordern Farm - it's an uplifiting place. As you continue your walk out of the farmyard, look out for the pigs on the right. They are very friendly too and may come running up if they see you! Ignore the path veering off to the left - that goes to Walker Barn and features in Lockdown Walk 29. Instead, bear right to follow the farm access road as it swings around to the right
At the end of the farm access road, continue (right) along the A537 Buxton-to-Macclesfield (Cat & Fiddle) main road. Not for too long though. Take the second right into Cliff Lane and walk down this quiet road.
There is another honesty box shop at Cliffe Farm on the right. You may see some impressive Aberdeen Angus cattle, geese and chickens on the left!
The honesty box stall at Cliffe Farm is run by Steph, and offers, eggs, jam and homemade tiffin. The tiffin at just £1 a slice is a bargain and highly recommended.
Continue down Cliff Lane until two public footpath signs appear on your right in quick succession. Take the second of these, which is a short path down to a row of houses on a cul-de-sac.
At the end of the cul-de-sac, take another public footpath initially between two high hedges. This leads into a passageway right back down to the main Rainow Road.
Turn left onto Rainow Road and walk past the abandoned George & Dragon pub. Turn right into Higher Fold to complete the route.