Alderley and Henbury
The route starts and ends on the B5087, which is the road between Macclesfield and Alderley Edge. This route is mostly on lanes, and follows a circular route around Hare Hill, Over Alderley, Nether Alderley, Birtles, Pexhill and Henbury. Part of the route follows a bridle path (Hocker Lane) which is a little uneven in places. Also, two main roads have to be crossed, the A34 and the A537, which can both be busy at times. The route generally follows gently rolling hills – the steepest part being School Lane up to Pexhill. The route comes close to the main car park at Alderley Edge (National Trust), where there are toilets, a cafe and a telephone.
|Distance:||14.5 miles (23.3 km)|
|Terrain:||Mostly lanes, one bridle path. Gentle, but one or two medium climbs.|
|Time:||1½ to 2 hours|
|Maps:||OS Explorer Map 268|
|Start:||B5087, a few miles from Macc.|
|Grid Ref:||SJ 896 751|
Having briefly turned off the B5087 at the start of the route, the gardens of Hare Hill are passed. Hare Hill is owned by the National Trust, and is renowned for its azaleas, rhododendrons and walled garden. The main feature of the garden however is the collection of over 50 hollies, silver and golden leaved and yellow and orange berried varieties, including the rare Highclere holly.
The B5087 is rejoined. Just before the National Trust car park at Alderley Edge, the route takes you down Artists Lane. Note that cycling is not permitted on the paths around Alderley Edge, so its only worth a diversion if the facilities (cafe and toilets) are required. Artists Lane, lined with attractive beech trees in places, is all down hill, and is quite steep in places, so make sure those brakes are working first! At the bottom of the hill, the A34 main road is crossed. Near to the cross roads is Nether Alderley Mill, a 15th century water mill, which is restored and owned by the National Trust.
Having descended from the hill of Alderley Edge, you will now notice the sharp contrast between the hill and the start of the Cheshire plain – all of a sudden its flat! After a short loop around the lanes here the route crosses back over the A34, and its back up the hill again. Bradford Lane is an old cobbled lane, which once carried cartloads of building stone on their way down from the quarry on Finlow Hill.
Now the route takes you along Hocker Lane, an old bridle path which passes through woodland (the outskirts of Alderley Park) before reaching the attractive church of St. Catherine’s at Birtles.
Down past Birtles Hall, the route now crosses the A537 main road. Then its up hill (quite steep, some of us have to push our bikes up here!) to Pexhill, and on along attractive lanes, which are bordered with woodland, to Henbury Hall. Henbury Hall is a national venue for horse trials and carriage driving.
After crossing back over the A537, the route takes you gently back up the lanes to the B5087.
The route is also available as a plain page.