Bollin Way Recce



Bollin Valley Way, the recce: 26th October 2011

Four Cestrians, one Lancastrian and no dogs made up the advance party for this expedition, the object being to reconnoitre the Bollin Valley Way, a 25 mile long distance path that starts in Macclesfield and ends where the River Bollin empties into the canalised River Mersey: the Manchester Ship Canal.


With military precision we met 7 minutes late, and leaving two cars in Partington, drove to Macclesfield – the start of the route.


At 09:14:31 precisely, we left the Macclesfield Riverside Park car park on foot, heading north along the eastern banks of the infant River Bollin. This part of the route is very popular with dogs and their walkers. Many were out this morning – all offering cheery greetings and wondering what this crazy party of Long Distance Walkers were out to prove. The dog-owners were equally curious.


After 2 miles we reached Prestbury – a pretty village that now suffers with an excess of over-posh residences. We were soon brought down to earth with a bump as we walked alongside the fragrant sewage works just north of the village.


Crossing the river by a footbridge, we walked along the edge of some woodland and then skirted the grounds of the ever-so-posh (but slightly tired) Mottram Hall Hotel. To our left we could see the imposing Edge above Alderley – featured in Alan Garner’s ‘The Weirdstone of Brisingamen’. Alderley Edge will feature in a future Timperley section trip. It’s about here that the route is diverted because of erosion. The diversion by Mill Lane is pleasant enough and causes no problems.


Approaching Wilmslow, the river is crossed by some interesting bridges, quite attractive in their own way. Wilmslow is a busy town, popular with the affluent in society. Although we’re forced to leave the river bank and take to tarmac for a short distance, the route is no less pleasant – passing the rather grand parish church. The path continues under the A34 and the railway line and skirts the grounds of the National Trust property of Quarry Bank Mill.


The lunch stop in bright and warm sunshine, is at the eastern end of the River Bollin culvert under runway 2 of Manchester Airport. This spot and the next 3 miles of the walk will be familiar to those who enjoyed (endured?) the recent ‘Jump in the Lake’ walk – albeit in the opposite direction. 


Oddly, the route leaves the River Bollin just beyond Hale Golf Course and takes to tarmac as far as Ashley Heath. A more attractive and appropriate route would be to follow the course of the River Bollin as far as Bank Hall Lane (the start of the ‘Jump in the Lake’ route) and then just a short walk on tarmac to Ashley Heath. We’ll do this on the ‘proper’ walk.


Taking our lives in our hands, we cross the A56 at the Lymm roundabout to gain the concessionary footpath on the banks of the river as far as The Swan with Two Nicks pub at Dunham (we didn’t stop). Before reaching the pub we take a brief rest on the river bank, the last stop before the end of our expedition.


The route crosses very pleasant and little-walked footpaths into Dunham Woodhouses and the Vine Inn (Sam Smith’s. We didn’t stop here either). Before long the route crosses the disused railway line that is now part of the TransPennine Trail, close to Higher Carr Green Farm. Crossing the farmland of Mossbrow Farm ( a recent site of exploration for ‘TimeTeam’ ….they didn’t find anything) we once again take to tarmac. Passing Warburton ‘New’ church we haul our tired bodies to the village of Warburton and then off tarmac and on to the path that follows the canalised River Mersey. This part of the route is collapsing into the river which makes for ‘interesting’ walking!


And then it started to rain although only for a short time. The good news was that we were treated to quite a magnificent rainbow that lasted for a good 20 minutes. Hopefully the photographs will do it justice.


It wasn’t long before we were back at the cars – a wee bit tired but really pleased. All that remained was to get back to Macclesfield to collect my car!


The walk, in excellent company, took 8 hrs 20 minutes – not bad for a 25 miler. Good stuff!


John Jocys


Please click on the link below to see the pictures from this walk.