Sunday, January 23, 2011

Walk Report 23rd January 2011

Today's walk started in a more urban part of Cheshire than is usual for our Society. John Harris led us from the Broadway Meadow car park in Wilmslow town centre onto the busy Station Road. Passing under the railway bridge by the station and over the bypass this became Macclesfield Road. After several minutes we reached Daveylands and headed towards a footpath off that road which would take us along the Bollin valley to Vardon Bridge.
Unfortunately, work on a gas main had closed that footpath, so we had to re-trace our steps to Macclesfield Road and follow this to its junction with Adlington Road where we turned left to descend into the Bollin valley to reach Vardon Bridge. We continued up the other side of the valley to a footpath on the left to Brick Yard Farm. At last we could leave the deafening roar of traffic and take to the fields!
This field path emerged onto Pinewood Road where we turned left to its junction with Brown's Lane, which to the right is blocked to road vehicles by some stumps. But we could pass through and eventually reached the narrow Cross Lane which we followed to its end at Dean Row Road. A 'right / left' dog's-leg crossing of that busy road took us to Bowden House Lane which we followed until we came to a field path on the right. This led us into a delightfully undulating area of grassy fields and knolls on the southern banks of the River Dean.
The path followed the Dean to emerge onto the lay by on Woodford Road immediately south of the Deanwater Hotel. We turned north along Woodford Road to the mini roundabout at the top of the hill where we turned left down Lees Lane for a short distance before taking a track on the right to Vicar farm where a sign advertised Guinea Pigs for sale. This characterful ramshackle collection of old buildings housed sheep, various fowl, and pigs in a sty.
At Vicar Farm we took the footpath over the stile to the right through some boggy fields to The Hollies farm, then on past a row of rather smart cottages where it's not at first obvious where the path goes! We discovered that it leaves what is by now a narrow roadway (Hollies Lane) to the left near a large white detached house along a driveway, then right off this driveway as a narrow field path between hedges. This path executes a ninety degree right turn, followed by a ninety degree left turn through a kissing gate as it descends into the Bollin Valley, with views of the distinctive ridge of Alderley Edge opening out ahead. At the bottom of this path a stile took us onto open land bordering the meandering River Bollin. We turned right to follow the northern bank of the Bollin past some embryo ox bow lakes to Vardon Bridge. Here we experienced a bit of déjà vu when we turned right, up the hill, retracing our steps of earlier in the walk.
At the top of the hill we turned left into Wilmslow Park Road which we followed until it turns left down to the Bollin Bridge, where we took the footpath that follows the Bollin westwards along its southern bank. The paths around here were put in when the Wilmslow bypass was built, and we passed under that road on a path which also functions as a cycle way, cantilevered out over the Bollin which also passes under the bypass at this point.
Bollin Walk and Ladyfield Street took us to the noise of busy traffic again on Manchester Road, Wilmslow. A short walk up hill past The Rectory brought us to our cars at Broadway Meadow car park.
At about six miles, the walk was slightly longer than our usual four and a half to five miles, so we felt we'd earned our post-walk pint of Hydes Bitter in the Coach & Four!

Vince Chadwick

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