Twelve East Cheshire Ramblers led by Maggie Swindells set off on a gentle, flat walk on a grey winter’s day on the first Saturday in December. We started our six mile circular walk at the station in Chelford village before walking through the heart of a mixed farming area with misty views of the Peak District summits of Shutlingsloe and Shining Tor in the far distance. The walk took us past beautifully restored sand pits which boast landscaped lakes and hundreds of young trees all of which will form a wonderful wild life habitat when the area is fully mature. Our route took us past Heawood Hall, a grade 11 listed building built in the 17th century situated next door to the home of David and Victoria Beckham when they lived in Cheshire! We crossed the busy A34 via a safe footbridge which bears a plaque with the name of a local man and keen rambler, Derek Smith, who fought for ten years, all the way to a public enquiry, for it to be included in the design of the road.
Our group stopped for coffee at one of Cheshire’s ‘hidden gems’, the Church of St Mary’s in Nether Alderley, which dates back to about 1300. Through the church gates is the Elizabethan school (used as such until 1908), the Stanley family mausoleum built in 1909, and of course the beautiful and much loved church of St Marys. The red sandstone of the church is of the same type that was used in the building of Nether Alderley Mill. Unfortunately, we just missed the annual Carol Concert performed by the Barnby Choir in church. The Reverend Jon Hale, informed us that the Carol Service is an annual event so we spent some time on our route back discussing how we could plan our walk next December to ensure we arrive on time for the Carol singing! Our route took us back down quiet country lanes before cutting back across the fields and down a leafy footpath carpeted in beech leaves before we joined the path back to the station.