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Walking Group 2012
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We usually meet on the last Wednesday of each month and on the second Tuesday of every other month, at 9:30am by the village hall.
Walks are not long or strenuous; 5 or 6 miles on average, each with a different leader.
Setting Off from Hartington July 2006
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 PikeThey 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.

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

Group Leader: Walter Mason

2012       WALK PROGRAMME              


Local Valentine Day's walk
Peak Forest Tramway and around Eccles Pike.

WALTER MASON  Greenfield Area

APR    TUESDAY 10           
WALTER MASON  – Dunham Massey

  – Combs Area

  Three Shires Head Walk

  – Teggs Nose

           WEDNESDAY 27     DAVID LLOYD  – Castleton 

JUL     6th to 8th                  Two nights away break, Mold, N.Wales


  Chadkirk, Otterspool & Goyt Valley

            WEDNESDAY 29    GERRY & JAN CHARTRES  – Longdendale Valley, near Tintwistle

  Kettleshulme and Taxal Edge

  – Broadley (Just North of Rochdale)

                                           Bollington, Harrop Wood, Rainow Low, Savio House




30 Jun to 2 July, 2013     2 Nights Away Break in Keswick.  Cost £114 per person (£30 extra for
                                     singles). For details of accommodation and walks contact Walter Mason

JANUARY 25        Louanne and Peter’s Lindow walk.
Report on the Walk
The first walk of 2012 attracted 21 walkers to enjoy Louanne and Peter’s Lindow walk. This was flat and gentle on a mild and cloudy day, with just some sticky stretches from the previous day’s rain.

From the car park, we did a quick circuit of Lindow Common, passing by Black Lake, then headed along Newgate. A right turn took us past Lindow Moss, and then across a former landfill site, now attractively landscaped but still with a working methane burner to cope with generated gases. The well-cared for war memorial at Morley Green was next, before the route took a succession of minor roads, including past Oak Farm and Moss Brow Farm, finally taking a coffee stop near Pownall Park.
The next stretch was on made footpaths and bridges, along the River Bollin and tributary streamlets to Twinnies Bridge, and then a final length on The Carrs and by school playing fields back to our start point.
It had been a pleasant walk, and a really easy start to the New Year. So we all thanked Peter and Louanne, before heading for home, for a picnic, for a carvery, or for whatever.

Walter Mason

FEBRUARY 14        John McCartney’s Valentine’s Day walk.
Report on the Walk
Perhaps the alternatives – table tennis, tennis, “colour me beautiful”, and half term demands for grandchildren minding – meant that only an elite group of walkers enjoyed John McCartney’s Valentine’s Day walk.
Thick ice still sealed most of the canal, but snow had departed from the fields as we walked up the gentle gradients from Higher Poynton towards Four Winds, Lyme Park and then Plattwood Farm back to the canal.  It was a misty, still day and apart from one or two short stretches, it was quite firm underfoot on the familiar tracks and paths chosen for the 4½ mile route.

All in all it was a very pleasant walk, rounded off by a convivial carvery in the Dog and Partridge – even if, on the day, John didn’t have to part with too many Roses (chocolates)!   Thanks John.

FEBRUARY 22        Jan and Gerry, Peak Forest Tramway and around Eccles Pike.
Report on the Walk
Gerry and Jan Chartres had prepared meticulously for their 4½ mile walk from Buxworth.  But the weather forecasters had other ideas, and an abysmal forecast of heavy rain deterred several. In the event, most of this very pleasant walk, was dry, and the threatened rain only arrived when the Navigation Inn was in sight with an easy downhill stretch to go!

A group of eight followed the easy going of the former Peak Forest/Bugsworth Tramway, with glimpses of sleeper bearings on the route, and black swans on the former mill ponds alongside.  At Charley Lane we started climbing, and then went up several field paths, past Hallhill Farm (with panoramic views) and Lidgate Farm (with crowing cock), before contouring on a lovely green bridleway, and then a footpath below Eccles Pike.

With heavy rain approaching, signalled by thick mist on the westward horizon, we wisely took the lane down to Portobello and Crist, then over a highlevel footbridge, with the Buxworth bypass deep below, back to the Navigation where two others joined our party.  A lovely day was rounded off with very satisfying meals, and we were very grateful to Gerry and Jan and their hard work.

MARCH 28        Walter Mason’s Greenfield walk.
Report on the Walk
The 17 walkers driving slowly through the continuous built-up area of Hyde, Dukinfield, Ashton and Staly bridge, en route to Greenfield, might have wondered where on earth Walter could possibly find a pleasant walk for them.  Three quarters of an hour later, the majestic horseshoe of mountains surrounding  the three reservoirs fed principally by Greenfield and Chew Brooks, gave the answer.

A glorious day with a cloudless sky and warm sunshine allowed us to admire the changing scenery as we took a quiet path by the trees above Dovestone reservoir, and then followed the access track by Yeoman Hey and Greenfield reservoirs into the heart of the hills.  Occasional coltsfoot were scattered on the banks of the feeder channel.  Encouraged by a local lady with local knowledge, 5 of our number used stepping stones to continue on the far bank of Greenfield reservoir, while the rest of us retreated on the easy near bank to join up over the dam for a lunch stop.  There had been many cars and people in the car park, but here all was quiet.  No car or people noise to disturb us; just the occasional sound of a pheasant in the far distance.

Then we returned by firm tracks on the opposite side of the reservoirs, with equally nice views, and just the occasional damp streamlet to negotiate.  There was additional interest in the yacht club area, with new copses of dedicated saplings, and for Merlyn, a re-discovery of relics of the former thriving scout site, abandoned when the Dovestone reservoir was constructed.

A perfect day was rounded off by welcome visits to the Fairclough’s ice cream van, parked conveniently alongside our cars, and everybody seemed very happy with their walk.

10        Walter Mason’s Dunham Massey walk.
Report on the Walk
7 joined Walter (standing in for Brian Farquahar) on an easy 4½ mile amble from Dunham Massey.  The sky was dark and threatening as we turned away from the car park onto the pleasant byway of Brickkiln Lane, leading to the charming hamlet of Little Bollington.
A narrow footbridge over the River Bollin, and a cobbled path led to the famous Bridgewater Canal, on a raised embankment above us.  The first of several heavy showers caught us on this exposed stretch, before we
                                          descended to join School Lane by Little Heath Farm, and passed the old

Some field paths circled round to Dunham Town, past a lawn-mowing scarecrow,
and over high steps into the deer park with a nesting swan by Smithy Pool.  Then the way was parallel to Charcoal Road, before turning to head through a tree nursery and deer sanctuary, and eventually joining a long and impressive grassy drive, past a lone heron, back to Dunham Massey Hall and our varied eating arrangements.

The car park was quite full on our return, yet on our walk we had seen very few people.  We had got wet two or three times, then dried out in between; but it had been a lovely gentle walk in spite of the heavy April showers and minimal sunshine.

Walter Mason

APRIL 25        SAM & IRENE CHAPPELL  – Combs Area
Report on the Walk
The weather could have been worse – but not much worse, as 11 stalwart walkers led by Sam and Irene Chappell set off in the pouring rain, and headed for the little hamlet of Rye Flatt.  Staying with the track, we headed upwards to Alstone Lee, and shortly after left the farm track, to descend by way of a field track towards Broadlee Farm.

It was here that Pam did a back flip off a little wooden footbridge right into the stream, closely followed by Roy, who jumped in to help only to find himself knee deep in the stream. Fortunately, neither Pam nor Roy were the worse for their ordeal, and the group continued up the ever increasingly steep but easy  path to the White Hall Outdoor Centre.  The wind, blowing hard and behind us now, provided much needed assistance up the last steep stretch, before we stopped for coffee in the shelter of a high wall.

With much of the hard work done, we turned North, straight into the driving rain, to begin our return down to Combs.  The route took us past Hazelhurst Farm, and then Haylee-Farm, where tiny shivering lambs were trying their best to find shelter from the heavy rain and the cold wind.  It was downhill all the way now, and relatively easy going, except for three quite difficult stone stiles.

The party arrived back in Combs after about 2 hours walking, a wet but very cheerful group, to the welcoming warmth of the Beehive pub, who very quickly served a very good lunch.

Sam and Irene Chappell

MAY 30        Merlyn and Joyce Young’s Three Shire Heads walk.
Report on the Walk
Merlyn and Joyce Young led a group of 20 from Wildboarclough to Three Shire Heads, a favourite place for many, and steeped in folklore.
The gentler sun and a somewhat cooler day was a godsend, as we ascended 700 foot or so by Cumberland Brook to Danebower Hollow, all part of Lord Derby’s lands.

Then we were higher than Shutlings Loe!  There were widespread views, but a thick haze was hiding the distant places.  A gently descending track led to the Leek – Buxton road, over an awkwardly placed safety barrier and down to the infant River Dane, whose stream valley displayed many relics of a quarrying and coalmining past.

A winding path followed the growing stream down to Three 
Shire Heads.  As we walked along, grouse, skylarks, buzzards, lapwings and cuckoos were enlivening and serenading our progress.  After lunch, we reluctantly left the picturesque pools and waterfalls, on a stony path climbing and rounding Cut-thorn Hill.  Then it was a relief to have a downhill path across grassy fields, and to go down a minor road past Crag Hall, with its multi-horsetroughs, back to our cars at Clough House.

The Horse Troughs

Thanks to Merlyn and Joyce for a toughish but lovely 5½ mile walk.

Walter Mason

JUNE 12        Roger Drinkwater  – Teggs Nose walk.
Report on the Walk
With the agreement of the 5 walkers, Roger Drinkwater proposed a longer 7 mile walk from Tegg’s Nose. This enabled a lovely circuit from the quarry faces, down Ward’s Knob, past Teggsnose and Bottoms Reservoirs and on woodland paths by Greenbank and Trentabank up to the Forest Chapel for a well earned lunch.
After a look at the church, we followed Charity Lane, before veering left onto a forest path descending slowly towards Hacked Way Lane, then field paths to Clough House Farm.  No right of way through the farm, so a short detour was needed on rough hillside, down to stepping stones, which led to the steep Saddlers Way back to Tegg’s Nose.
A good thousand foot of climbing had tested our stamina and the low clouds had spoilt some of the distant views, but it had been a lovely walk on good paths through lush vegetation and woodland.  Lots to see -  jays, buzzard and swallows, the small butterfly-like Chimney Sweeper moth (black with white wing tips), a fragrant orchid and masses of yellow rattle.  But for me, the highlight was a field full of yellow mountain pansies.  Normally so rare and not seen for years and years, but near Ward’s Knob, and encouraged by sheep-free, minimum cow grazing, and perhaps other tricks, countryside management had produced a lovely vista of charming miniature faces.
So, lots of thanks to Roger for his walk.

Walter Mason

JUNE 27        David Lloyd  Castleton.
Report on the Walk
Eighteen members walked on a day when the weather tantalised with hints of sunshine and threats of rain. The sun obliged on occasion but the rain held off.
On assembling outside the Castleton tourist office our party proceeded through the village and began the long trek up Cavedale.  After the recent heavy rains the path was running like a stream and gave us the impression we were "canyoning" rather than rambling,
At the top of the dale we had a well earned coffee stop before continuing to Windy Knoll and lunch in the shelter of the quarry.
One or two members of the group did think of doing a spot of caving to work their lunch off, but one look at the cave entrance soon made them change their minds.
After lunch  we continued past the Blue John Cavern and the Treak Cliff Cavern with "loo" and ice cream stops at both.  This section of the walk presented us with panoramic views of the Hope Valley and the Great Ridge. The last part of the walk was through the fields of the Longcliffe Estate and back into Castleton.

David Lloyd

Report on the Walk
10 accompanied Alison Allerton on a very pleasant walk from Rainow church (Brian was still recovering from a “fight” with a stone wall!).  An easy pace took us to Snipe House Farm, with direction signs pointing “this way”, “that way” and “the other way”!  But we continued (“the other way”) to Lamaload Reservoir and followed clockwise on the reservoir circuit until branching off at Lower Ballgreave Farm in the direction of Walker Barn.
A welcome lunch stop coincided with the sun breaking through, and then we had to puzzle our way through Vale Royal, where we were meant to feel like interlopers for following the path past the up-market conversions, and on above Gulshaw Hollow.  After Hordern Farm, the route zigzagged down, skirted Newbuildings Farm, went over Berristal Road and used a footbridge to cross the infant River Dean and rejoin our outward route.
The 10 of us really enjoyed the attractive valleys and varied landscape of the Lamaload area, and thanked Alison for leading the walk and giving her expert opinion on the various wild flowers on the way. Noteworthy was a rosy “bacon-and-eggs” variant of the usually bright yellow Bird’s-foot-trefoil, one of the yellow-flowered peas.

Report on the Walk
Chairman Steve Reynolds took 9 walkers on a 5 mile “green” walk, starting with a succession of paths, through the Ley Hey Park area of Marple, onto the canal lock staircase.  Recent rain had caused a bank to collapse at lock 7, closing the canal for a time.  Even more recent rain soon wet our heads, and continued till midday.
Fortunately the canal path was often sheltered by trees, and the many shades of green scenery were just as attractive in the wet.  We passed St. Chad’s Well, with the well dressing still looking good 12 days after flower arranging volunteers ( including group leader’s wife Freda) had prepared it.  Chadkirk garden was a lovely place for a coffee stop, before we continued across the newly opened bridge (for “green” cycling) and up the new bridleway towards Marple Hall.
In spite of the rain, we turned back towards Otterspool to view the “green electricity” Archimedes Screw Project – completed, but not yet operational until payback terms for shareholders could be agreed.  The corner at the start of Mill Lane, once heavily wooded, now looked rather desolate.  Hopefully Mother Nature will soon help it recover, and hopefully the large shingle bank under the bridge won’t shift and clog the screws, as happened at New Mills. 

Meanwhile we continued back along Vale Road, to re-cross the new bridge, but this time to go left on the very muddy footpath past Lower Dale Farm, and then the track which passes Marple Dale Hall. Distant glimpses of Oakwood Hall aroused our curiosity – a fascinating history - mill owner’s place, girls school, TPT aquisition, grammar school – now beautifully renovated, and currently yours for a cool £1,850,000!  
Then we were soon back to Steve’s house.  The walk seemed to be enjoyed very well and spirits were high, especially as we had sheltered conveniently during the worst of the rain, so many thanks to Steve.

Walter Mason

Report on the Walk
"Gusty winds and heavy rain"! That was the forecast for the August day, when nine of us decided, despite the forecast, to go on the 5½ mile walk planned by Jan & Gerry Chartres.  This walk was around reservoirs in the Longdendale valley near Tintwistle, just north of Glossop. 
We were all prepared for the worst in full waterproof gear, but in the event we only had rain for a short time at the start, and a little more after lunch, so all said that they were pleased they decided to go.
The reservoirs are a linked chain of five, which stretch for 6 miles along the valley, and we walked around the three at the south-western end.  When they were built around 1850 to 1880, to supply Manchester and local towns, they formed the largest expanse of man-made water storage in the world!
We started at the Valehouse dam and walked along a paved access road, which had originally been a tramway used to transport stone from local quarries to build the reservoirs.  The "Coffee stop" overlooked the Rhodeswood reservoir, then we crossed the next (Torside) dam, on the Pennine Way, and climbed up to the Longdendale Trail, which also forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail.  This is a disused railway line, now adapted for walking, cycling, and horse riding, rather like our own Middlewood Way. 
Packed lunch was around a bench with extensive views across the water to the hills and moors on the far side, with expanses of bright coloured heather, and even a waterfall visible.  Some of our members were able to tell us interesting facts about the area from their previous walks.
Lunch above Valehouse Reservoir
The final part was on paths close to the shore of the first in the chain, "Bottoms Reservoir", named after the Sidebottom family, whose mill was demolished to build the dam.  There are a series of interesting information boards around the reservoirs, which are owned by United Utilities.
Down to Bottoms Reservoir Bottoms from the dam Tintwistle in the background, from Bottoms dam Bottoms Gauge Basin
Bottoms valve house

It's a fascinating area and very popular for local people with dogs or young children on good weather days.  Well worth a visit.
Gerry Chartres

Report on the Walk
Led by Ruth and Dave Smith, eleven waterproofed clad folk set off for a walk “Close to the Edge”, starting from Kettleshulme (“Katil’s Island” – dating back to Viking times, and standing on the Salt Way which led from Cheshire salt towns to Sheffield).

 Leaving Kettleshulme, after road and track walking, crossing of a swollen stream, and some steady climbing, we reached the edge – Taxal Edge. Although cloudy, there were 360 degree views across to Ladder, Coombs Moss, Eccles Pike, and Kinder; and opposite there was a view of Bowstones, with Whaley Bridge and Toddbrook reservoir below.
Our descent took us past Gap House, dating back to 1662 and rebuilt in 1778 by Mr Brocklehurst, a Macclesfield silk merchant. Soon we arrived back at the cars after an enjoyable walk – tired, content – but not wet!

Ruth Smith

Report on the Walk
Louanne and Peter Collins took an “elite” group of 4 to Healey Dell, a nature reserve at the former Broadley Station, north of Rochdale, where the former railway line now makes an attractive route. We went past a trio of wood sculptures, and over an impressive  viaduct, then made a steep descent to the River Spodden below.

A narrow path led between a mill leat and the river gorge, with signs of past industry everywhere. Overnight rain had left the ground soggy in the dell, as we ascended on the far bank – surprising a wild deer – and reached picturesque Smallshaw Farm – and Catley Lane Head, where gardens of terraced cottages overlooked a reservoir.

From Bottom of Pooley Moor, the track passed Forsyth Brow, as wide views opened up of distant Rochdale and Manchester. One way a sparrowhawk hovered, then was diving for prey; the other way clusters of wind machines turned fitfully over Scout Moor. A moorland path led past Reddyshore to Windy Hillock, which became rainy hillock, as rain disturbed our packed lunch.

  The route turned sharply onto the Rooley Moor
  Road, formerly a footpath called Catley Lane, but
  transformed in the 1860’s by a massive job
  creation project for workers hit by the cotton
  famine. Long wide sections of neatly stone setted
  road remain, all at 1500 feet over a deserted open
  moorland – but, ironically, now threatened with overuse and possible destruction by frequent lorries carrying 28 million tons of rock aggregate – progress?

Lower down we turned into Knacks Lane, past a
monument missing its memorial plates, and on narrow lanes past Higher Dunnishbooth and back to Broadley. The dull weather had not done the route full justice, but it had all been packed with interest, and we were very pleased that Louanne and Peter had taken us out of our comfort zone,
to show us a new and fascinating territory in historic Lancashire.   

Walter Mason

Report on the Walk
Despite the doubtful weather 13 members joined Merlyn and Joyce on this 6 mile autumnal walk along fields, country paths, woods and streams around little known paths in Bollington / Rainowlow.  Despite the forecast the weather held fine throughout the walk and we all enjoyed having dry breaks for coffee and lunch.
The walk started in Bollington on minor roads heading uphill towards Pot Shrigley passing the former Wizard & Cheshire Hunt pubs.  Views of Bollington, White Nancy, and The Nab unfolded as we turned through fields into Harrop Valley heading for Berristall Hall Farm. Tales and facts of the 100 year war, the Black Prince, Percheron shire horses and 200 coal mines in Bollington/ Rainow were told by Merlyn.
We passed the Gritstone trail path before descending slightly to enter the beautiful Harrop Wood.  This wood, untouched for ~74 years, is mostly a mixture of Birch & Holly, self-seeded following the 2nd World War.  Prior to the war it contained 200 year old Scots Pine trees which were felled for ammunition boxes and war needs.  The narrow path beneath the autum leaf trees gave glimpses of Harrop Brook below as we made our way for the  coffee stop adjacent to a capped coal mine.  It’s told the mine dates back to ~1930 run by two brothers who lived at a nearby farm, who kept and milked a herd of cows delivering the milk on a midnight round. “When did they sleep?”
On leaving the wood we crossed Harrop Brook and followed the brook along an ancient tree lined pathway containing old Hornbeam coppiced hedges, bracken fungi, another capped coal mine, wooden musical instruments and a wooden carved woodpecker.
Another stile and across fields we made our way uphill to Billinge Head farm meeting 4 very friendly inquisitive alpacas in a nearby field.
Uphill sections now completed we headed for lunch in the shelter of a wall adjacent to a view point above Rainowlow.  Above us was “Big low” a Bronze Age burial mound and in front, misty views of the Cheshire plain.
Refreshed we passed the pretty hamlet of Rainowlow and descended Lima Clough into Oakenbank and Ingersley Vale.
In the grounds of Savio House formerly Ingersley Hall, built for John Gaskell in 1775, we viewed White Nancy with its present Royal Diamond Jubilee crown and Olympic adornments.  More history lessons from Merlyn about Savio House, White Nancy and Ingersley Mill below which had a 55 foot iron suspension water wheel.
Passing old mill lodges, we returned to the car park where members thanked Merlyn & Joyce for an enjoyable, interesting walk.

Merlyn Young

Report on the Walk
A group of 20 followed Noel and Pat’s walk from Gawsworth.  It traversed pleasant paths through flat Cheshire fields, with many ponds, bisected the New and Old Gawsworth Halls, and joined a long field boundary with distant views of Macclesfield Forest, Croker Hill, and The Cloud.
After a stepped approach to the Macclesfield canal, and a coffee stop in sight of Sutton Reservoir, the route returned across fascinating preserved stretches of the once much larger Danes Moss, before heading back to Gawsworth and the welcoming bustle of the Harrington Arms.  The tables were plain, but the tasty food was piping hot, and before us in no time.
At times the sun had been dazzling, a far cry from recent downpours, which had left some sections quite wet and rather heavy going, but Pat and Noel had chosen the route and pub well, and we all thanked them for a most enjoyable walk.

Walter Mason

Report on the Walk
For our last walk in 2012, Richard and Susan Clark took us on a very pleasant round from Disley.  We went through the 450 year old St Mary’s churchyard, and followed easy tracks to Cockhead Farm, by the reservoirs built by Stockport in the late 1800’s, before following Bollinhurst Brook down to Parkgate.  Then we climbed the grassy path to Lyme Cage, and on to a coffee break overlooking the Hall, before taking the level track to East Lodge and Bollinhurst Bridge.
Just occasional slippy bits, then it was all easy downhill along Green Lane, and past the Quaker Meeting House to the White Horse.
There, 19 of us enjoyed the 2 for £12 offers, and
 the Clarks and the group leaders were thanked for their respective efforts, on the day and during the year.  The threatened rain had held off until we were almost home, so it was a very satisfying end to 2012 walking.

Thanks to the 2012 walk leaders, and everyone’s 
support during the year.

Walter Mason

Group Leader - Walter Mason

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