Time: 3-4 hours
Start: Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Pay and Display car park
Map: OS Explorer 268 or OL24 White Peak Area
Terrain: Unsurfaced tracks/paths and minor roads. Some terrain is steep and rocky
Barriers: Several kissing gates and stiles
Toilets: Tegg’s Nose Country Park (includes an accessible toilet)
This walk is a fairly strenuous walk on good paths. There are several ascents and descents. Wear strong shoes or walking boots and bring a waterproof. A snack and something to drink is also recommended.
The walk starts at Tegg’s Nose Country Park where there are splendid views over the patchwork landscape of the Cheshire plain, with distinctive landmarks such as Jodrell Bank and Beeston Castle. To the southeast is Macclesfield Forest and Shutlingsloe, Cheshire’s second highest peak at 506m/1660ft.
Soon you enter Macclesfield Forest, once one of three Royal hunting forests in Cheshire. Today it is managed by United Utilities as part of the water catchment area around the reservoirs.
Soon you come to Forest Chapel, the tiny Church of St Stephen, originally built in 1673 and rebuilt in 1834.
Every August the traditional ceremony of rushbearing takes place, where fresh rushes are cut from the surrounding fields and laid on the church floor. At first this was for practical reasons to provide a warm dry floor before modern heating systems, but today it is a symbol of spiritual renewal. Up to 600 people attend the ceremony, including many who have walked over from Tegg’s Nose.
Both Trentabank and Ridgegate Reservoirs in the Forest are used for drinking water. Trentabank is also home to a large heronry of around 20 nests.
The village of Langley grew on the strength of the button making and later the silk industry because the water of the River Bollin was so pure. At the peak of the industry there were 5 mills driven by 3 water wheels, employing around 400 people. Charles Tunnicliffe was one of Langley’s most famous residents. He painted local scenes and birdlife around the area. Look out for the Great Crested Grebe’s springtime display on the reservoirs below Tegg’s Nose.
The final stage of the walk follows part of the Gritstone Trail, a 56km/35mile walk from Disley to Kidsgrove.