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Walking Group in 2007
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High Lane U3A Walking Group
Setting Off from Hartington July 2006
2006 was an excellent year for this friendly and enthusiastic group of walkers. Our turnout ranged from 12 to 29, and we all enjoyed light exercise in the varied and attractive local countryside.

2007 promises to be equally exciting, with walks already planned through to December, with a fascinating weekend to Hadrian’s Wall in June.
We meet monthly, usually on the last Wednesday of each month, at 10am by the village hall.
Bridgemont Footbridge August 2006Walks are not long or strenuous; 5 or 6 miles on average, each with a different leader.
Come along to see the countryside in all its moods, 
sometimes bathed in sunshine, often with a shower or two, even perhaps with a carpet of snow!

Our walkers might pass stone-age remains, badger setts and tracks, and fascinating old farmhouses and cottages.
Eccles Pike
They will certainly enjoy sweeping views over the Cheshire plain, Peak District panoramas of hills and dales, and gentler scenery by canals and parkland in Lyme, Alderley and Ladybrook.

Silly Dale Walled path September 2006
In 2006, we had walks to Millers Dale, Hay Dale, Kinder Reservoir, Wolfscote Dale, Foolow, and Wildboarclough, amongst others. 
Regular reports appear in the newsletter, and on the website with pictures.

At the end of the year, the group showed its versatility, and became “The Singing Walkers” for the December Christmas party!

You are guaranteed a friendly welcome when you join us. Do come!

Group Leader: Walter Mason

2007 Programme of Walks - 31/1 Rowarth; 28/2 Alderley Edge;
28/3 M/cr Airport; 25/4 Limestone Country; 30/5 Ludchurch;
27/6 Mystery walk; June w/e, Hadrian's Wall
25/7 Chinley Churn;
Broadbottom to Etherow
; 26/9 Peover Superior and Goostrey;
31/10 Sutton Reservoir & Canal; 28/11 Saddleworth;19/12 Marple

Meet at the Village Hall at 10am unless stated otherwise.

Wed 31 Jan        Dave/Ruth Smith          Pack Horse, New Mills for a 4 mile walk in the                                                                                Rowarth/Cobden Edge area, and eat at the pub                                                                                afterwards.
Report on the Walk

Ruth and Dave Smith took 22 of us on a 4 mile walk from Moor End Road, New Mills.  The walk started with glimpses through the mist of the lingering patches of snow on Kinderscout, and it was quite a pull up to Woodhouse Home with its strange castle-like ornamentation. Then we used a number of bridle ways, with the tall towers of central Manchester visible on the skyline, before surprisingly descending to the cross at Cobden edge - the cross is below the summit!  A succession of minor roads and field paths led us to Moorend, and the old Sunday School building.  Shiloh Road saw the gradual onset of a misty drizzle, but by now we were well on the way back, and going down Primrose Lane and along to our welcome meal at the Pack Horse.  It had been a grey day for our first walk in 2007, and the bridle ways held frequent wet patches, possible a relic from the previous week’s thawing snow and ice.  But the heavy rain held off, and the overwhelming consensus was that it had been a very pleasant start to our walking year, for which many thanks to Ruth and Dave.

Wed 28 Feb        David Lloyd                 Alderley Edge for a 5½ mile walk. Bring packed lunch.

Report on the Walk
David Lloyd led 11 of us on a very pleasant 5½ mile walk from The Wizard at Alderley Edge. We descended the quaintly cobbled Bradford Lane into the exclusive village of Nether Alderley, and sipped our coffees sheltered by the ancient stonework of St. Mary's Church. Then we followed field paths to cross Welsh Row, past the tomato glasshouses of Field's Farm, and saw glimpses of Chorley Hall. After a sandwich stop in the park, we passed the old cottage where author Alan Garner spent his childhood, and slowly ascended the ridge past Wizard's Well.  The forecast rain held off till we were in sight of our cars.  We were very grateful to David for his interesting and satisfying walk.
Group by St Mary's Church
Author Alan Garner's children's home The Wizard
Ascending the edge
Wed 28 Mar       Brian/Alison Allerton   Valley Lodge Hotel (now the Holiday Inn) for a 5 mile                               walk round Manchester airport runways. (This is a repeat, by special request).

Report on the Walk
In March, Brian Allerton took a group of 12 on the fascinating paths by Runway 2 of Manchester Airport.  It was a tremendous contrast between man and nature.  Long periods of relative quiet, with skylarks and robins singing lustily, undeterred by the occasional noise of transatlantic jumbos taking off.  Airport firestations and security fences gave way to deserted paths and lanes, which might have come from a former age of Cheshire countryside.  The pale sun shone on marsh marigolds and reedmace (often erroneously called bullrush), and there was even a patch of coltsfoot, now rare, once very common.  The circuit was completed through the futuristic River Bollin tunnel.  There, graffiti cast a discordant note, and hinted at youthful night-time or drug related activities.  Many thanks to Brian for repeating this walk at my request.

Lift-off Plane ascending Group by pond Bollin tunnel

Wed 25 Apr        Don Heap                    Limestone country

Report on the Walk
Don Heap took 14 of us to his favourite area of Longshawe Estate for the April walk. It was a bright and breezy day as we passed the lake at Granby wood, and descended into the depths of Padley Gorge, by the infant Burbage Brook. Wood-sorrell, bluebells, sweet violet, dove's foot crane's bill, greater stitchwort, and cuckoo flower (locally known as May flower) were spotted. At Nether Padley, there was a surprisingly steep climb, so it was a relief to eat our sandwhiches at Tumbling Hill, and then head just beyond the Grouse Inn. An easy level stroll took us back to the Lodge, with widespread views, a collection of millstones, and welcome cups of tea. Many thanks to Don.

Group by pond by Granby wood Millstone in Padley Gorge Group on Tumbling Hill Group of 4

Wed 30 May       Walter Mason              Ludchurch
 mile walk from Dane Bridge to Hanging Rock, Castle Rocks and Ludchurch. Two steepish climbs and a patch of rough ground, but lovely views and countrside.  Meet 10am.  Bring packed lunch.

Report on the Walk
The May walk took us further afield, and there was a different feel to the countryside as we crossed the River Dane into Staffordshire.  We ascended to plenty of views of Shutlings Loe, the Roaches, and Bosley Cloud.  The ten of us contoured round from Swythamley Park to a sandwich lunch at Castle Rocks, surrounded by luscious but unripe wimberries (bilberries).  Walk leader Walter Mason led us through the fascinating minigorge of Ludschurch before we returned past the Hanging Rock and the bluebell woods, back to Dane Bridge and Wincle.  The scarecrow displays for the fete at Danebridge were impressive, and almost worth the longish car journey by themselves.

If only! Church choir Foursome The walkers
Lunch Ludchurch Hanging Rock The bluebells

Wed 27th June
Meet 10am for a mystery walk which should be within most people's capabilities. No need to bring sandwiches. Refreshments available at the end.

Report on the Walk
Fifteen walkers were intrigued enough to try Walter's mystery walk, which took them to Chadkirk.  Surprisingly, although not far distant from High Lane, parts of the 4½ mile route were new to many, particularly the sheltered ascent to Bunkers Hill and Hatherlow past the Hellebore specialist.  Much of the route was by the Peak Forest canal and nearby paths, and the heavily wooded banks sheltered us from some showers.  We passed the "legging" tunnel, crossed the aqueduct, and saw boats both in ascent and descent of locks at Marple.  We returned past Hyde Bank, derelict Oakwood Hall, and Kirk Wood, and by popular         assent retired to the Hare and Hounds for lunch.

June Weekendleader Steve Reynolds   Hadrian’s Wall   Click for the report and pictures.

25th July - leader John McCartney - meet 10am with sandwiches - 4 miles on Chinley Churn.

Report on the Walk
After the June mystery walk, and delights of Hadrian’s Wall, the mystery was where were our hardy walkers in July?  Are they only out in fine weather, or when there are photo opportunities?
In July, John McCartney took 7 of us onto Chinley Churn.  This hill has one of the finest panoramas in the Peak District, and in spite of the occasional drizzle, we were able to see a vast array of hills, reservoirs, and valleys.  We could also spot train tunnel chimneys, TV masts, Lyme Cage, and more distantly the new Beetham tower in central Manchester.  Only Kinder Downfall was elusively out of sight
behind the mist.
At the summit, there is the stunning surprise view from “big stone”, one of the outcrops on the large former quarrying area of Cracken Edge, which provided the perfect spot for our sandwiches.
It was a place to marvel at the hardy farmers and miners of former generations.  How did they survive high on these boggy moors in years past, before there was any possibility of global warming to ease their lives?
John led us expertly round the tracks, paths and up the inclines. Did he really have a hip mended only 4 months ago, or was it a myth?  Thanks John, for a fascinating walk.


31st August - leader Louanne Collins - meet 9.30am with sandwiches - an undulating  6½ mile walk from Broadbottom, taking in Higher Chisworth, Etherow, Beacon Houses, and Botham's Hall. The walk is on paths and lanes, but intending walkers should note - there are several short, steep pitches.

Report on the Walk
The sun shone, as Louanne Collins took 14 of us to Broadbottom station, for an up and down walk which was rewarded with brilliant views. We explored the Etherow valley in a relatively energetic 7 mile walk. We saw the preserved dye pans of the former Hodge Lane dye works, and plenty of local stone cottages and farms, in the lower part of the valley. On the higher stretches we saw extensive and impressive views, of Bleaklow, Combs Edge and the Longdendale Valley to the East, and over Cheshire towards North Wales to the West. The walk did test us with some longish climbs, but the views, the varied scenery, and especially the beautiful descent through the Erncroft woods to the weir made it a walk to remember. Louanne got unanimous praise for this walk for its lovely views and interest.

26th September - leaders Mike & Margaret Snape - meet 9.30am.  Bring sandwiches for an easy flattish 4 1/2 miles in the Cheshire countryside near Peover Superior and Goostrey.

Report on the Walk
Twenty two walkers visited 3 of the 6 Cheshire "Peovers" during the 4½ mile walk led by Mike and Margaret Snape. The name Peover comes from the Old English "pevr" meaning bright. Certainly this walk was brightened with cool sunshine.
We went into the lovely wooded valley of the Peover Eye river, we wandered through the parklike grounds of historic Peover Hall (for 800 years the home of the Mainwaring family, and during the world war 2 used by General Patton as the US 3rd Army prepared for the Normandy landings), and we visited the church of St. Lawrence (originally 14C., but largely rebuilt in 1811). The Peover area is pleasantly rural, with a contrasting mix of old cottages and new-money house conversions. The walk returned through a tunnel of maize, with a close view of Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope, and we were all appreciative of Mike and Margaret's walk.

October 31 - led by the Drinkwaters in the Sutton Reservoir area - pub meal.

Report on the Walk
The 31st of October turned out to be mild and bright with light cloud cover, when 24 members met at  the Fools Nook car park for a five mile walk. Rodger and Jean led us up a lane which ascended steadily for about half a mile. We then left the lane to walk round the pretty Sutton Reservoir.
This is a feeder reservoir for the Macclesfield canal.

Having looked at the birds on the water we continued the walk through a wood and then over meadows, returning to the car park via the canal. The autumn leaves were just about at their best and the pub meal was excellent.
John McCartney

November 28 - Steve Reynolds will take us to the Saddleworth area - pub meal.

Report on the Walk

Wednesday 28th November saw 18 walkers defy traffic congestion to cross over the former Yorkshire border into Saddleworth, a unique clutch of woollen trade villages of fascinating industrial heritage within a very scenic setting.

We climbed to Dobcross, with village cross and blue plaque (to Henry Platt, a textile machinery pioneer), then up Long Lane onto Harrop Edge with panoramic views before following heathery footpaths, down through gardens and along to a very enjoyable meal at Diggle Hotel (glimpsed in the film “Brassed Off”).

After a look at the ends of the Pennine tunnels of railway and canal (blue plaque to Thomas Telford), and checking out an interesting Snakes and Ladders type information game with inscribed flags, we had a gentle descent by the canal locks back to Uppermill.

There was drizzle on and off, and some paths were quite slippery, but we were all pleased that Steve’s walk had given us a very pleasant day in an attractive different locality.

December 19 - Don Heap's walk will be in the Marple area, with a pub meal in the Ring O' Bells.

Report on the Walk

26 walkers, including a new face or two, met a week early to avoid Christmas week, and were blessed with a dazzling sun, and pale blue sky over a frosted landscape. Don Heap led us past the boat wharves and along the High Peak canal in the Disley/Strines direction. Canada geese flew in fomation overhead, and a solitary narrowboat crunched its way through the thin ice, but we were all well wrapped against the cool air.

After a coffee/comfort stop, Don took us over the swing bridge onto the field paths near the Romper pub, past the unsuspecting deer herds of Lomber Hey farm (venison for Christmas?), and onto the Macclesfield canal. Now the sun was behind us as we skirted Marple golf course and Goyt Mill, but ahead the isolated tower of All Saints on Church Road/Ridge Road acted as a beacon to guide us to the welcoming Ring O’ Bells pub after our 4 mile walk. There, a substantial 3 course Christmas meal awaited, and our thanks were for Don, who efficiently coped with all the variations of starter/main course/sweet, and gave us a fine end to a very good year for the walking group.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all walkers, and also a very big thank you for the lovely presents you surprised me with on Wednesday.
Walter Mason

2008 Walks.    Intending walk leaders please contact Walter Mason so next year's programme                              can be prepared.

January 30 - Walter Mason's Mystery walk.  Meet at 10.00 - meal or refreshments at the end.

July 2008 – a walk weekend away is being organised.  Check with Walter Mason whether places                        are still available.

Walter Mason