This cycle route is a circular route with Macclesfield town at its centre. It provides an interesting journey through the lanes around Macc, via Bollington and Hurdsfield to the north east, down past the eastern fringes of Macc town centre to Sutton and Gawsworth in the south, back up via Lower Pexhill to Henbury in the west, and Prestbury to the north before returning to Bollington. Between Bollington and Hurdsfield, part of the Middlewood Way is used.
|Distance:||16.9 miles (27.2 km)|
|Terrain:||Mostly lanes. Gentle, but one or two medium climbs.|
|Time:||2 to 3 hours|
|Maps:||OS Explorer Map 268|
|Start:||Car Park on Clough Bank in Bollington.|
|Grid Ref:||SJ 928 772|
The route starts and ends in Bollington. From the main Macclesfield to Stockport road (A523), follow the main road into Bollington (B5090). As you come into Bollington, turn right along Grimshaw Lane, where there is a sign to “Hotels”. Take the second right into Clough Bank, where you will find a car park on the right. This car park is actually adjacent to the Middlewood Way trail.
After setting off from Bollington, the Middlewood Way trail is followed to Tytherington. The Middlewood Way offers a 10-mile (16-km) traffic-free route for walkers, cyclists and horseriders. It runs from Macclesfield all the way up to Marple. After leaving the Middlewood Way, the route heads to Hurdsfield. Hurdsfield was a township in Prestbury Parish, Macclesfield Hundred (SJ 9374), which became a civil parish in 1866. In 1894 the part of Hurdsfield in the borough of Macclesfield was added to Macclesfield civil parish. Hurdsfield includes the hamlets of Cliff Hill, Commonside, Higherfence (part), Higher Hurdsfield and Swanscoe. After passing through Hurdsfield, the route heads down past the eastern fringes of Macc town centre - if the route headed any further east, it would become very hilly! The village of Sutton is soon reached. Sutton, or Sutton Lane Ends, is a semi-rural village and civil parish; it includes the hamlets of Gurnett and Jarman. The rivers Bollin and Rosendale run through Sutton Lane Ends, as does the Macclesfield Canal.
After crossing the main road to Leek (A523), and across the canal, the next village along the route is Gawsworth. In Gawsworth, it is worth taking a short detour to Gawsworth Hall (turn left down Church Lane in Gawsworth). There are actually two Gawsworth Halls - the old hall and the new hall. Pictured here is the new hall. Gawsworth New Hall was begun by Lord Mohun in 1707 but abandoned after he was killed in a duel with the Duke of Hamilton in 1712. Later additions and alterations were made including those to the designs of Sir Hubert Worthington in 1914. It is built in red brick with a stone slate roof. It has two storeys and attic with an E-shaped plan. The garden front has 16 bays. The old hall is also worth a visit. Gawsworth Old Hall is a Grade I listed country house. It is a timber-framed house in the Cheshire black-and-white style. The present house was built between 1480 and 1600, replacing an earlier Norman house. It was probably built as a courtyard house enclosing a quadrangle, but much of it has been demolished, leaving the house with a U-shaped plan. The present hall was owned originally by the Fitton family, and later by the Gerards, and then the Stanhopes. Since the 1930s it has been in the possession of the Richards family.
After Gawsworth, you will next come to Lower Pexhill, then Henbury, before crossing the main road (A537) and heading to Prestbury. Prestbury began as the administrative centre of a large rural parish. Prestbury was founded by priests. Its name comes from Preôsta burh, which is sometimes thought to mean priests’ town, but more correctly means a priests’ fortified enclosure. For their enclosure, the priests chose a defensible spot on the River Bollin where there was relatively high ground close to the river on both sides so that crossing was easy. From there they could travel to all parts of a parish which was extensive, though thinly populated, in part because the countryside was wild and barren and in part because the forest was reserved for hunting. During the nineteenth century it became involved in the silk industry. During the twentieth century it developed into a residential area with a reputation for affluence. After Prestbury, the route returns to Bollington.
The route is also available as a plain page.