We are all guilty of being wooed by foreign climbs, spending our holidays travelling abroad, especially in the UK where our unpredictable climate makes us sun-seek. We neglect what’s literally on our doorstep!
I’ve always lived in Cheshire and spent lots of holidays travelling to the Lake District or North Yorkshire, but have hardly explored the national park that I’ve lived 10 miles from my whole life: the Peak District.
I’ve toured around many of the UK’s cathedral cities, but only this year did I finally visit my home county’s only cathedral in Chester.
My abode has always been located on the edges of Cheshire. I grew up in Macclesfield, a stone’s throw from the Eastern border with Derbyshire. I went to university in Alsager to the South East and worked just over the border into Staffordshire for 4 years. Then I finally moved to Warrington on the Northern border with Lancashire in 2012. In and around these areas, I feel I know like the back of my hand, but the heart of Cheshire and Western areas have mostly completely escaped me!
As I write this, these local gaps have been highlighted to me and I intend to rectify this in the near future. In fact I’m going to produce regular posts on Cheshire’s highlights as I explore them.
East Cheshire is beautiful, dotted with quaint towns and villages and very green landscapes, woodlands and network of fields, rivers, canals and tiny twisty back roads. Cheshire is stereotypically thought of as ‘flat’ due to the expanse known as the ‘Cheshire Plain’, but East Cheshire is edged by a glorious line of hills – the foothills of the Pennines. These are home to one of England’s (shorter) long distance walking trails: ‘The Gritstone Trail’ starting in Disley to the North and finishing 35 miles later in Kidsgrove to the South.
The route goes through the following stunning landscapes:
Lyme Park: a National Trust Property near Disley, consisting of a mansion house, formal gardens, and a huge deer park dotted with architectural structures with access onto the moorlands beyond. This is fantastic walking country with fabulous views across the estate and towards the borough of Stockport.
The Kerridge ridge above Bollington: featuring the weird and wonderful structure of ‘White Nancy’ – a Grade II listed landmark that can be seen from miles around, and is regularly re-painted brilliant white to maintain its visibility.
Tegg’s Nose Country Park: an area of beauty with criss-crossing trails and views overlooking Macclesfield forest, across to the peak of Shutlingsloe – the second highest point in Cheshire, known affectionately as ‘Cheshire’s Matterhorn.’ On clear days you’ll also be rewarded with views of the Welsh hills and Liverpool to the East across the Cheshire Plain.
Bosley Cloud: a slanting outcrop of rock separate to the main line of Pennine foothills, and at the Northern end of a broken ridge that runs along the border of Cheshire and Staffordshire. There are stunning views overlooking the towns of Congleton and Macclesfield towards the Greater Manchester area and is best walked up from Timbersbrook.
Mow Cop’s folly castle: a National Trust site situated on the same ridge detailed above, near to Kidsgrove. There are unparalleled views over the Cheshire Plain looking one way and over Biddulph (in Staffordshire) the other. This folly was built as a summerhouse in 1754 for a local landowner and can be seen from miles around.
Other beauty spots that shouldn’t be missed in East Cheshire are the woodlands of Alderley Edge and Hare Hill, both owned by the National Trust and provide an extensive network of criss-crossing paths, linking each other with a fantastic walk. Hare Hill also has some formal gardens worth visiting and Alderley Edge has two major rocky escarpments with superb views towards the Pennines and Greater Manchester. Children will love exploring the many openings to mine entrances, not to mention the knarled trees they can clamber on, as well as discovering the ‘Wizard’s Well’ and Armada Beacon.
East Cheshire has a number of lakes and reservoirs that offer beautiful scenery to walk in, as well as chances to partake in water sports such as sailing and my favoured pastime of feeding the ducks! (I still love doing this even in my 30’s) Such lakes include Redesmere near Macclesfield and Astbury Mere near Congleton.
The location of Astbury Mere in the village of Astbury, is one of the many quaint villages in East Cheshire. And what do all these villages have? Pretty churches – the county is peppered with them, as is the case all over the UK; however some of my favourites are in East Cheshire. Perhaps the cutest is Marton Church situated on the A34 between Macclesfield and Congleton.
I can’t wait to discover more of my home county, and see what else East Cheshire has to offer that I have yet to experience.
Do you know your home county as much as you should? Or as much as you want to?
What are the best features of your home location?
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