Path Under the Flight (18/02/2014)

In spite of a rather negative weather forecast, 20 members, mostly South Manchester but with several from South Pennine and Staffordshire, met at Styal village and were rewarded with a fine day after some initial drizzle.  Beginning with a traverse of Styal Woods, including the two minor ascents of the day, the route crossed the Bollin at the Holiday Inn and continued on the south bank to the Millenium Bridge which runs under Runway 2. Several planes taking off interrupted the peace of the countryside at this point.  After a quick refreshment stop, the route continued under the bridge and around the perimeter fence on generally solid tracks, with several more noisy planes overhead, before crossing fields to Valewood Farm.  After circumnavigating the Ilford factory we entered Mobberley and headed to the recreation ground on Barnsfield Road for lunch, but not before several stopped at the baker's for pies, drinks and cakes.  In spite of the apparent lack of seating capacity on the google street scene everyone was able to find a somewhat novel perch (photos below).

As we departed along Pavement Lane and turned towards Glevehouse Farm, the sun began to break through the cloud and we had fine views to the East Cheshire hills and Jodrell Bank.  Just as the leader began to think he had selected a relatively mud-free route, we hit the herd of cows who had trodden the path into boot-high squelch!  Continuing to Pedley Lane and Faulkners Lane, we were lucky not to have too much traffic before turning short of the pub through more fields and crossing Knutsford Road to reach Moss Lane.  The route past Coppock Farm had once again been churned up, this time by horses, before crossing fields by Saltersley Hall, rounding the lake, and crossing Lindow Moss.  After passing through Pownall Park housing estate to the rear of Pownall Hall, we reached the Bollin and followed the North Cheshire Way back to Styal village.

David Allen

Duncan adds: I made it about 15 1/4 miles.  Ascent is hard to calculate, but in the region of 500ft (or was that the depth of the mud?).