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Lockdown 40

 

Route description & photos

Start anywhere on Merebrook Road.  Limited on-street parking available.  Walk to the top end of Merebrook Road and over onto Colville Road.  Cross Chester Road onto Maxfield Close and walk to the end (behind St Luke's Church).

Merebrook Road at dawn        Ginnel from Maxfield Close to Dalesford Crescent

Turn left into a long narrow ginnel, following this out onto Dalesford Crescent.  Bear right to walk towards Fallibroome Road, then right again, and left into Fallibroome Close.  Enter another ginnel to walk through to Camborne Avenue on the Greenside Estate.  At the end, turn left, then right and right again up a few steps.  Turn left to follow a long greenway running between the backs of two rows of residential houses.

Ginnel from Fallibroome Close to Camborne Avenue        Greenway from Camborne Avenue to Newquay Drive

Continue straight on through more narrow ginnels, eventually emerging onto Newquay Drive.  Continue onto Whirley Road, turning right to walk past a small farm on your left.  Turn left through a kissing gate to walk along a straight footpath across the common land at Longmoss.  Continue onto the path between two barbed wire fences.  Turn right at the end and follow the path around a few corners onto a track.

Ponies and alpacas beside Whirley Road        Footpath from Whirley to Longmoss Top

Continue on the track, looking out for a few steps on the right, leading to a narrow path up to Longmoss Top. 

Path up to Longmoss Top        Sunrise over Macclesfield from Longmoss Top

At the end of the path, turn left into Whirley Road, and follow down to Whirley Hall.  Turn left to follow the short distance to Whirley Hall, then turn right into Wrigley Lane.

Longmoss Top        Whirley Hall

A short distance up this road, look out for a stile into a field on the left.  At this point, cross the stile, and walk across the public footpath across the back of Whirley Hall estate towards a bluebell wood.  Continue on the lovely path through the wood. emerging out onto lofty field with south-facing views at Highlees.

Footpath across Whirley estate        Highlees Wood

At the end of this field, bear left onto a well-defined track, following this a short distance to a stile, above you to the right.

Highlees        Highlees

Cross the stile and follow the path around the right-hand boundary of the field. 

Highlees        Route towards Hocker Lane

At the bottom, cross another stile and turn right onto a farm track.  This leads out onto a country lane (Birtles Road), onto which you turn right.  Almost immediately, turn left into another field, which after an initial rise, slopes gently downhill.  This continues into another beautiful wooded path, all the way through to Hocker Lane.      

Beside Hocker Lane        Boundary of Alderley Park

Turn left onto Hocker Lane (track) and follow all the way to its end.  This passes to the north of Alderley Park and emerges at the village of Nether Alderley.  Turn left onto the main road, and follow a short distance down to a road junction.  At the junction, follow straight on, onto a public footpath.  This passes behind the church and heads towards the A34 bypass.

St Mary's, Nether Alderley        Signpost at Nether Alderley

A modern and substantial footbridge can be seen ahead, and that is where you will cross the busy A34 bypass.

Walking through farmland from Nether Alderley towards the A34 bypass        Approaching the footbridge over the A34 bypass

The bypass was constructed thanks to the campaigning of renowned local rambler Derek Smith, and a commemorative plaque is displayed on the bridge.

Derek Smith memorial plaque        Footbridge over the A34 bypass

These photographs were taken at the start of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, and this normally busy road was eerily quiet in what would normally be rush-hour period.

A34 bypass - unusually quiet during lockdown!        Stubby Lane at Mere Farm

On the other side of the bypass, the footpath continues past Heawood Hall to Mere Farm.  Shortly after, turn right into Stubby Lane, a public byway.

Stubby Lane        This track cuts the corner and passes closer to the flooded quarry

Look for a wide entrance into the quarry area on your right.  This cuts the corner of the paths and passes closer to the flooded quarry.

Track through the quarry area between the public footpaths        Flooded quarry

This path is not marked on maps as a public right of way, but appears to be well used, and has signage along it that suggests tolerance of its use as a footpath.

George's Wood        Sandle Heath

The path passes through George's Wood and there are views of a large mere on the right

Sandle Heath        Sandle Heath

After passing through more woodland, the path ahead passes between two large pools, in an almost causeway-like manner.

Sandle Heath        Sandle Heath

There are good views of the vast expanses of tranquil water either side of the path as it proceeds towards Chelford village.

Sandle Heath        Sandle Heath

When the path eventually reaches Alderley Road, turn left and then almost immediately right to follow another public footpath.

Sandle Heath        Pubic footpath from Alderley Road towards Chelford

The footpath passes along the right-hand boundary of a crop field, with the railway line ahead.

Heading towards the railway line        Heading under the railway line

Pass underneath the railway line and into the edge of a residential estate in Chelford village.  Turn right to follow the woodland path.

Chelford Buzzy Bees Woodland Walk        Chelford Buzzy Bees Woodland Walk

After a short distance, the path turns ninety degrees to the left.  Navigation is easy as there's nowhere else to go!

Turn left onto a track        Continue straight ahead

The path turns ninety degrees left again and becomes a track along the edge of the housing estate.  Continue straight ahead. right up to the main road.

Ignore the byways and roads going off to the side, but press on ahead        The path continues onto Dixon Drive

Continue straight ahead as the path becomes Dixon Drive.  At the end, it reaches the main A537 Macclesfield-to-Knutsford road.  Just to the right is a fine pub - the Egerton Arms - with very good food and ale.

Dixon Drive        Egerton Arms

Turn left to follow the main road back towards the centre of Chelford.

A537 going into Chelford village centre        Footpath onto Chelford Heath

Turn right to take a footpath onto Chelford Heath.

Footpath to Chelford Heath        Kissing gate on Chelford Heath

At a T-junction of public footpaths, turn left.

Footpath on Chelford Heath        Common Farm Lane

Continue ahead onto another public footpath at Heath Farm.

Footpath from Common Farm Lane to Peover Lane        Sheep near Common Farm Lane

Continuing straight head, you are brought to a tunnel under the railway line.  Mind your head!

Footpath tunnels underneath the railway        Continuing along the path to Peover Lane

Turn left into the road and walk down this to Chelford roundabout.  Here you will find the Chelford Corner Shoppe, selling some nice produce for lunch or breakfast depending on your timing.

Peover Lane        Chelford Corner Shoppe

At the roundabout and shop, turn right onto the A535.

Underpass under the railway line  St John's Church, Chelford  Start of path to Siddington from St John's Church

Continue down the A535 Holmes Chapel road until you reach St John's Church on the left.  Turn left to pass between houses, walking along a paved road.  Behind the houses, you will see a public footpath sign marked for the village of Siddington.  Follow this across the coming fields.

Siddington footpath sign Footpath to Siddington Tom, behind St John's Church, Chelford

This path leads you to Astle Farm (West).  Turn right onto the farm road, and up to a T-junction of footpaths.  Turn right again.

Footpath towards Astle Farm (West)        Bridge at Astle Farm

A sharp left turn is taken through a fenced path.  This passes a fishing pool then heads down to the woods. 

Fishing pool at Astle        Entering the wood at Brook House Farm

 

Again the route on the ground here can be ambiguous, so look out for a kissing gate with the yellow arrow waymarkers.

 

Walkway through the wood        Muddy path following the stream in the wood

 

You now enter an extremely pleasant long thin wood, within which the footpath remains for an unexpectedly long time, as it progresses alongside Snape Brook.

 

Walking through the wood        Footbridge in the wood

 

Terrain varies sharply between good paths, wooden footbridges and boardwalks - and very boggy sections to negotiate!  Almost without fail though, the bogs look much worse than they actually are, and none are actually all that deep.

 

Pool in the wood        Footpath continues a long way through the wood

 

With the width of the wood being very small, it gets plenty of sunlight, and so it is a bright, colourful and attractive place on a fine day.

 

Continuing to follow Snape Brook in the wood        Snape Brook beside Mill Lane

 

The footpath ends onto Mill Lane.  Turn left to walk in the direction of Capesthorne Hall. 

 

Honesty box shop as you exit Capesthorne estate onto Mill Lane          Honesty box shop

 

Continue along Mill Lane as it swings around to the right, then turn left into a PROW across Capesthorne Estate.  At this point there may be an honesty box type stall.  The apple and raspberry crumble muffins are very highly recommended!

Capesthorne Hall        Bridge at Capesthorne Hall         

The route now heads in an easterly direction direction, passing on the other side of the water from Capesthorne Hall.  At the end of the path, cross directly over the road to enter into the Redesmere area.  Follow the short path past the north end of Redesmere and back around to the left to rejoin the main A34 road.

In the grounds of Capesthorne Hall        Redesmere

Walk north up the pavement beside the A34 for around 500m.  At the main entrance for Capesthorne Hall, turn right onto a public footpath, which initially follows a farm access road.

The footpath heads off down the farm road on the right of the picture        Lingards Farm

The path reaches, and passes through the yard for Lingards Farm.  Turn left out of the farm onto a minor road, and then turn right onto a public footpath that at the time of writing did not appear on the OS mapping (but now does!)

This is the right turning onto the relatively new public footpath        New path between Lingards Farm and Hulmefield Hall       

An access road is reached.  Cross over this and veer right slighty to pick up a grassy track between a hedge and a metal fence.  This heads slightly uphill towards a coppice wood, which can be seen ahead.

Near Hulmefield Hall        Joining a grassy track near Hulmefield Hall

When the coppice is reached, turn right to pass it to the right.  After the coppice is passed, bear left and slightly downhill.  The target at the other side of this large grassy area is not visible for most of the route across, so drop to the lower parts of the field and pass close by two large trees to get the approximate direction.

Grassy track near Hulmefield Hall        Near Hulmefield Hall

A wooden footbridge is crossed into Bearhurst Farm, then bear left to follow the fence line down to the road.  The OS 1:25000 map suggests that the public footpath and exit onto Bearhurst Lane is about 100m from the fence, but in reality it is much closer.  Stay close to the fence, and the stile onto the road is right in the corner of the field.

Exit onto Bearhurst Lane        View of Croker Hill / Sutton Common from Bearhurst Lane

Turn right into Bearhurst Lane.  Follow this around to a crossroads at Pexhill Road, which you go straight over into Dark Lane.

Dark Lane, start of path to Underbank        Entry into Underbank Farm - but get to the right-hand side of the stream!

Walk down Dark Lane, until a bridge stile is seen on the left.  Use this to enter the field and begin to climb up to Underbank Farm.

Underbank Farm        'Blowy' sculpture at Underbank

After passing through the farmyard, this becomes a metalled road which runs parallel to Gawsworth Road and Pexhill Road, dissecting the two. 

Bridleway track up from Underbank        Between Underbank and New Farm

Near to this road's end, it meets New Farm at a sharp bend.  Continue onto the path into New Farm and bear left towards the trees.

Between Underbank and New Farm        New Farm

After the small wooded area, the land gains height suddenly, rising to a trig point on the brow of the hill. 

New Farm        New Farm

Nicknamed "Great Weston Fell" by mischievous radio amateurs in Macclesfield, this is an occasionally popular spot of portable ham radio operations!  Local hills including the distinctive Shutlingsloe now come into view.

New Farm (Great Weston Fell)        New Farm (Great Weston Fell!)

Continue onto Gawsworth Road, turn left, and then right into Earlsway.  Walk down past the shops and abandoned pub, before cutting across to Merebrook Road to complete the route.  You can cut into the sideroads on alleyways on your right to walk through Weston Park, which may (or may not) be preferable to walking down Earlsway!

Turn right into Earlsway, but then take the second right into Kendal Road in order to avoid some further road walking!

Back in town!        Earlsway

Almost immediately, turn left to follow a ginnel through to the recreational ground on the Weston.  This can be followed for its entire length in order to only re-emerge onto Earlsway down beyond the old Weston pub.

Narrow paths between house on the estate        Weston Recreational Ground

Continue down Earlsway, then turn left for the footpath back across to Merebrook Road.  The route is complete.

Path from Earlsway to Merebrook Road        Return to Merebrook Road