Emerging from Macclesfield Forest, The Cat & Fiddle on the distant ridge

SWC Walk 383 - Macclesfield to Buxton (via The Cat & Fiddle)

16-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Approaching the Chest Hollow

SWC Walk 383 - Macclesfield to Buxton (via The Cat & Fiddle)

16-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Croker Hill beyond Teggsnose and Bottoms Reservoirs, from Tegg's Nose

SWC Walk 383 - Macclesfield to Buxton (via The Cat & Fiddle)

16-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Saddler's Way, Tegg's Nose Country Park

SWC Walk 383 - Macclesfield to Buxton (via The Cat & Fiddle)

16-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Tegg's Nose, from near Lower Crooked Yard Farm

SWC Walk 383 - Macclesfield to Buxton (via The Cat & Fiddle)

16-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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In the Chest Hollow

SWC Walk 383 - Macclesfield to Buxton (via The Cat & Fiddle)

16-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View from Stakeside, towards Shutlingsloe

SWC Walk 383 - Macclesfield to Buxton (via The Cat & Fiddle)

16-Jun-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Macclesfield to Buxton walk

Tegg's Nose Country Park, Macclesfield Forest, lonely moorlands up to Shining Tor, and the wild Upper Goyt Valley to the historic Spa Town

Length

25.2 km (15.7 mi). Cumulative ascent/descent: 971/805m. For a shorter or longer walk, see below Walk options.

Toughness

9 out of 10 Time: 7 hours walking time.

Maps

OS Landranger Map: 118 (Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield) and 119 (Buxton & Matlock)
OS Explorer Map: 268 (Wilmslow, Macclesfield & Congleton) – just for the urban start – andOL24 (The Peak District – White Peak Area)

Travel

Macclesfield Station, map reference SJ 919 736, is 237 km northwest of Charing Cross, 133m above sea level and in Cheshire East. Buxton Station, map reference SK 059 737, is 22km southeast of Manchester, 299m above sea level and in Derbyshire.
Macclesfield Station is on the Stafford to Manchester branch line off the West Coast Main Line from London Euston (hourly service). Travel time from London is from 101 minutes Mon-Sat (but 2 ¼ hours on Sun). Buxton Station is the terminus of the Buxton Line from Manchester, with two trains per hour Mon-Sat daytime and one per hour else. Journey time is an hour to Manchester, over three hours to London (chg. at Stockport).

Saturday Walkers’ Club: The walk is doable as a daywalk from London with a train no later than 08.20 hours.

Walk Notes

An exciting route from the fringes of the Dark Peak to the fringes of the White Peak, namely from the historic Silk Town of Macclesfield in Cheshire to the even more historic Spa Town of Buxton in Derbyshire.

You climb steeply out of town along residential roads to quickly emerge amongst pastures and rolling hills and ascend further to Tegg’s Nose, a formerly quarried hill, with its handful of fine viewpoints, from where you descend through the Walker Barn Stream valley and rise again through Macclesfield Forest to the isolated Forest Chapel. Cross the Tor Brook valley and ascend along the Clough Brook valley over open moorland along permissive paths, then steeply up the moorland wall to the ridge separating Cheshire and Derbyshire.
From the ridge, divert for an out-and-back ascent of Cheshire’s highest top, Shining Tor, then descend into the lonely Upper Goyt Valley, passing the Goytsclough Quarry and crossing the Goyt River. You rise over Goyt’s Moss’ moorland and up along the Berry Clough onto the British watershed between the Irish Sea and the North Sea, i.e.: between Goyt and Wye. From here descend into the Upper Wye Valley via Burbage to Buxton, along residential roads and through the Pavilion Gardens, where the gritstone and limestone arms of the Wye meet.

Return by bus (faster) or train. The bus line also offers multiple ways of reducing the length of the walk.

The latter parts of the walk are very lonely and exposed, in bad weather consider switching to the sister walk Macclesfield Circular via Tegg’s Nose and Kerridge Hill.

Walk Options

Late Morning Shortcut from Forest Chapel, descend along Oven Lane to Bottom-of-the-Oven instead of routing down and up through the far north easterly corner of Macclesfield Forest (cut 1.5 km and 40m ascent).
Easier Route in the Chest Hollow open moorland: avoid the very steep ascent to the Cat & Fiddle.
Mid-walk Shortcut: cut out the out-and-back ascent of Shining Tor (cut 2.0 km and 75m ascent).

Bus Line 58 (Macclesfield – Buxton via Cat & Fiddle), with an hourly service Monday-Saturday and five buses on Sundays and Bank Holidays, offers various stops on - or close to - the route toeither shorten the walk by cutting out a stretch at the start or by finishing the route early, and in any case of getting back faster from Buxton to Macclesfield (or London) than via the railway. Last return buses (as of 06/2021): Mon-Sat 18.06 Railway Station, 18.08 Market Place, Sun/Bank Holidays 17.10 Market Place. [See the route map for the location of the stops.]
A - Forest Cottage stop (cut 2.0 km and 54m ascent), the last stop within Macclesfield: continue in the same direction uphill, in 100m continue in the same direction along Buxton Old Road, where the A road curves to the left. Follow this road uphill, in the later stages without a pavement. In 750m the walk route joins from the right along a car wide gravel track. Continue in the same direction and pick up the text at the asterisk *) on page 5.
B – Walker Barn stop (cut 4.9 km and 257m ascent), the first stop outwith Macclesfield (and without shelter or signpost): go back along the road to turn second left along Buxton Old Road, signed for ‘Tegg’s Nose’ (i.e.: not first left, Crooked Yard Road). In 750m, by the entrance to Teggs’ Nose Country Park’s visitor centre and tea room, the walk route joins from ahead along a gravel path. Turn left and pick up the text at the double asterisks **) on page 7.
C – Cat & Fiddle PH stop, 14.1 km into the walk.
D – Burbage, Level Lane stop, 3.0 km from the end of the walk: take the bus to Macclesfield from here, without continuing the route down into Buxton. Last bus: 18.15 Mon-Sat, 17.17 Sun/BH (06/2021).
E – Burbage, The Duke PH stop, just a few minutes of walking further than the Level Lane stop, but by a pub. Note: Mon-Sat the bus stops to the right of the pub (as you approach it), on Sun/BH to the left of it!
E – Buxton, Market Place stop, 500m from the end of the walk on a diversion: useful if stressed for time to reach the last bus from the Railway Station, and necessary on Sundays and Bank Holidays as the bus does not go via the train station on those days.

Elenvenses

Tegg’s Nose Tea Room Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Buxton Old Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0AP (07955 532 703). The Tea Room is located 5.8 km (3.6 mi) into the walk. Open Wed-Sun 09.00-17.00.

Lunch

The Forest Distillery Chambers Farm, Bottom-of-the-Oven, Macclesfield Forest, near Wildboarclough, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK1 0AR (01260 253 245). The distillery is located 11.3 km (7.0 mi) into the walk. Bar open most afternoons.
The Stanley Arms Hotel Ankers Lane, Bottom-of-the-Oven, Macclesfield Forest, near Wildboarclough, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK1 0AR (01260 252 414). The Stanley Arms is located 200m off route, 11.5 km (7.2 mi) into the walk. Food served Wed-Fri 12.00-14.00 and 17.00-19.30, Sat 12.00-19.30 and Sun 12.00-18.30. A Marston’s pub with accommodation.

Lunch or Tea

The Cat & Fiddle Buxton New Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0AR (01298 73711). The Cat & Fiddle is located 150m off route, 14.2 km (8.8 mi) into the walk. Open 12.00-20.00 Sun-Thu and 12.00-21.00 Fri-Sat. Built in 1813, and long England’s second highest pub, it closed in December 2015 with an uncertain future. Robinson’s Brewery have recently sold it to the Forest Distillery though, who intend to open it as Britain’s highest altitude distillery, with a pub attached.
Peak View Restaurant & Tea Room Buxton New Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0AR (01298 22103). The Peak View is located 14.0 km (8.8 mi) into the walk, if cutting out the direct ascent to The Cat & Fiddle, or 250m off route and 14.6 km (9.1 mi) into the walk, if not. Open 10.00-17.00 Thu-Sun.

Tea

The Duke 123 St John's Road, Burbage,Buxton SK17 6UR (01298 78781). The Duke is located 2.2 km from the end of the walk.
Plenty of options either around the Market Place, or close to the Train Station.

Notes

Macclesfield

Macclesfield is a market town in Cheshire East on the edge of the Cheshire Plain with about 50,000 population. It lies on the River Bollin, with Macclesfield Forest to its east, and is around 26 km south of Manchester.

The medieval town grew up on the hilltop around what is now St Michael's Church. It had a silk-button industry from at least the middle of the 17th century, and became a major silk-manufacturing centre from the mid-18th century, for a while being the world's biggest producer of finished silk, with 71 silk mills operating in 1832. To this day, "Silk Town" is Macclesfield’s nickname.

The town is also the original home of Hovis bread makers, produced in Publicity Works Mill on the Macclesfield canal. Hovis derives from the Latin "homo-vitalis" (strength for man) as a way of providing cheap nutritious food for mill workers and was a very dry and dense wholemeal loaf very different from the modern version.

No proof exists that Macclesfield was ever a walled town, and the various streets with the suffix ‘gate’ in the name are believed to be derived from 'gata', Scandinavian for road, which became gate in Middle English.

During the Civil War, in 1642 the town was occupied for the King by Sir Thomas Aston. And in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Charles Stuart and his army marched through Macclesfield as they attempted to reach London.

Macclesfield is said to be the only mill town to have escaped bombing in World War II.

A person from Macclesfield is sometimes referred to as a "Maxonian"; these include Blues Musician John Mayall and Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris of Joy Division.

Since 1997, Macclesfield has hosted the annual British Lawnmower Race, held in December.

Bollin Brook/River Bollin

The River Bollin is a 49 km (30 mi) major tributary of the River Mersey. The Bollin Brook springs on the hills surrounding Macclesfield Forest on the western edge of the Peak District, and it feeds a string of reservoirs that supply water to the town. Downriver from the reservoirs it is called River Bollin.

Further along its course it forms the boundary between Cheshire and Greater Manchester. It is culverted under the southern runway of Manchester Airport and joins the Manchester Ship Canal east of Warrington.

Tegg’s Nose/Tegg’s Nose Country Park

Tegg's Nose is a hill east of Macclesfield on the western edge of the Peak District, although outside the national park. It has a short ridge with three viewpoints and a high point of 380m. Originally called "Tegge's Naze", "Tegge" might have been the name of an early Norse settler or might refer to a sheep ("teg"), while "nose" probably refers to the southern promontory.

The hill was quarried for millstone grit from the 16th century until 1955. There were two quarries, one by the northern viewpoint producing a blue stone, and the other near the summit producing Tegg's Nose Pink. The top of the hill is now dominated by the mounds of quarry spoil heaps, mostly overgrown by heather and bilberry.

There is also evidence of a WWII bomb crater at the bottom of Tegg's Nose, visible from the summit.

The Bottoms and Tegg’s Nose reservoirs were constructed in 1850 and 1871 respectively, to regulate the flow of the River Bollin feeding the textile mills of Macclesfield and Langley.

Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Jodrell Bank Observatory – originally the Jodrell Bank Experimental Station and from 1966 to 1999 the Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories – hosts a number of radio telescopes, and is part of the Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. The observatory was established in 1945 by Bernard Lovell, a radio astronomer, to investigate cosmic rays after his work on radar during WWII. It has since played an important role in the research of meteoroids, quasars, pulsars, masers and gravitational lenses, and was heavily involved with the tracking of space probes at the start of the Space Age.

The main telescope at the observatory is the Lovell Telescope with a diameter of 76m (the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world). There are three other active telescopes at the observatory: Mark II, and radio telescopes of 13m and 7m diameter.

On 7 July 2019, the observatory became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Gritstone Trail

The Gritstone Trail (or Cheshire Gritstone Trail, as there are other, less well established, routes in the Peak District under the same moniker) is a 56 km (35 mi) waymarked linear long-distance footpath which follows the most westerly hills of the Peak District from Disley Station via Macclesfield and Congleton to Kidsgrove Station. Managed by Cheshire East (although partly in Staffordshire), the trail involves 1,800m of ascent and is mainly outside the National Park. Most through-walkers take 3 days (stopping at Macclesfield and Congleton) to complete the trail, but an unofficial extension from Kidsgrove to the mainline railway station at Stoke-on-Trent, The Kidsgrove to Stoke Ridgeway, is described in a free ebook.

Peak District Boundary Walk

Created by the Friends of the Peak District, the Peak District Boundary Walk is a 305 km (190 mi) waymarked circular long-distance footpath which broadly follows the boundary of the National Park along existing footpaths, tracks, quiet lanes, former railway lines and a canal towpath. A guidebook and an extensive website help in breaking the journey into stages. https://www.friendsofthepeak.org.uk/boundary-walk/

The Peak District (National Park)

The Peak District is an upland area at the southernmost end of the Pennines.

The Peak District National Park is one of the UK’s most popular, and is located within the boundaries of five counties (Derbys., Ches., Staffs., Yorks. and Greater Manchester). Founded in 1951, it was the first national Park in England. The Park spans an area of around 1,440 km2 (550 mi2) and – despite its name – its terrain consists mainly of rolling hills, farmland, moorland and some gritstone escarpments (the "edges"). It is however significantly higher than much of the terrain in the surrounding area.

The Peak District is formed almost exclusively from sedimentary rocks dating from the Carboniferous period. They comprise the Carboniferous Limestone, the overlying Gritstone and finally the Coal Measures, though the latter occur only on the extreme margins of the area. In addition, there are infrequent outcrops of igneous rocks including lavas, tuffs and volcanic vent agglomerates.

The northern Dark Peak (whose geology is gritstone) is one of the most famous landmarks in the Peak District National Park, known for its exposed and isolated tracts of moorland, as well as its expansive rolling plateau which is covered by cotton grass bogs and heather moorlands. The soil of the area is composed of moorland peat which provides the perfect environment for the plant life in the area. The areas to the flanks of the high moorland host numerous copses which are composed of Oak and Birch.

The southern White Peak (whose geology is mainly limestone) is another distinctive area within the park due to its gently sloping Limestone plateau, crisscrossed by the Limestone Dales. The Dales provide the areas’ drainage and vary in steepness throughout the area.

Macclesfield Forest

Macclesfield Forest is the last substantial remnant of the Royal Forest of Macclesfield, a once-extensive ancient hunting reserve on the western edge of the Peak District, although it is nowadays predominantly conifer plantation managed for timber. The hills of Tegg's Nose and Shutlingsloe stand to the north west and south east, respectively; the moorland of High Moor lies to the south and the Goyt Valley lies to the east.

The area ranges in elevation from around 225m to 475m and includes two hills itself: Toot Hill in the east and Nessit Hill in the south. Two reservoirs, fed by the Bollin Brook, supply water to Macclesfield: Ridgegate Reservoir was constructed in the late 19th century, with Trentabank Reservoir following in the 1920s. The latter contains a large heronry.

Upper Goyt Valley/Goyt River

The Goyt River is 49 km/30 mi long and originates in the Peak District on Axe Edge Moor, close to the source of the River Dane just to the south west of Buxton. It joins the River Tame at Stockport to form the River Mersey.

Wye Valley/River Wye

The River Wye is a 24 km/15 mi long river in the Peak District, and is one of the major tributaries of the River Derwent. It is predominantly a limestone river, although the furthest source originates on the (gritstone) Axe Edge Moor west of Buxton. Another arm off the moors flows underground through Poole's Cavern in Buxton before rising at Wye Head and flowing through the Pavilion Gardens, where the two arms join. It then flows east through the limestone dales of the Wye Valley and through Ashford-in-the-Water and Bakewell and joins the Derwent at Rowsley, just after the Wye’s main tributary, the Manifold, has joined.

Buxton

Buxton, a spa town in Derbyshire on the edge of the Peak District National Park, is the highest market town in England, some 300 m above sea level. Sights include Poole's Cavern, a limestone cavern, St Ann's Well, fed by a geothermal spring bottled by Buxton Mineral Water Company, and Georgian buildings around Buxton Crescent, including Buxton Baths. Also notable is the Opera House.

The area has been inhabited for at least 6,000 years: a settlement at Lismore Fields was rediscovered in 1984.

The Romans developed a settlement known as Aquae Arnemetiae ("Baths of the goddess of the grove") and linked it to South Yorkshire via Navio in the Hope Valley to the Templebrough fort.

Built on the River Wye and overlooked by Axe Edge Moor, Buxton became a spa town because of its geothermal spring, which emerges at a steady temperature of 28° C.

The Buxton lime industry has been important for the development of the town and it has shaped the landscape around the town. Limestone has been used in several ways over the millenia: quarried as building stone, heated to produce lime (or ‘quicklime’), a base for either lime mortar (a mix of lime, sand and water) for building or as a soil improver in agriculture. And before electric lights, lime was even burnt to light theatrical shows, putting the stage performers 'in the limelight'.

Modern quarrying is a high-technology industry using advanced machinery, supplying concrete and cement to the construction industry. Several active limestone quarries are still located close to Buxton, including the "Tunstead Superquarry" in Great Rocks Dale. It is the largest limestone quarry in the UK, producing 5.5 million tonnes p.a., a quarter of which is used by the cement works on site.

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Aug-21 Thomas G

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