New Year’s Day walk report

On the first day of every year, it has become an East Cheshire Ramblers tradition to take a welcome walk after the excesses of the festive season and toast in the New Year from a stunning viewpoint and 2019 was no exception. A group of 37 set off for a 6 mile walk on an almost spring-like day from Nelson Pit car park, Higher Poynton, to one of our favourite spots: Lyme Park. Having taken the canal path south from the Marina and crossed the footbridge nearest Green Farm, we entered Lyme Park via West Parkgate and through Hase Bank Wood. Before the 1850s the principal approach to the Hall was from this side of the park. The vistas on display are far more impressive than today’s approach from the A6. As you come out of the wood and skirt the The Knott hill, you glimpse The Cage hunting lodge through the trees and suddenly, as you turn the bend in the road, the south face of the Hall appears high and imposing above the sunken garden. Walking round to the north side of the Hall we set off along the ridge to The Cage, a favourite place to toast in the New Year in time-honoured fashion with sherry and mince pies. The Cage provides a wonderful vantage point for views within the park and beyond. To the South West through a gap in the trees, you can see the restored Paddock Cottage, another hunting lodge, and to the South East you can glimpse the The Lantern folly in Lantern Wood. It’s said that if Lord Newton could see The Lantern from his breakfast table, he knew it was a good day for hunting! As we looked beyond the confines of the park, we could pick out the Betham Tower in Manchester bathed in sunshine and the Pennines to the north shrouded in mist. Our return route took us down Cage Hill towards the main park gate and then west across a ladder stile out of the park. From here we followed Bollinghurst Brook and part of the Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail through undulating fields and woods. We crossed the Middlewood railway line and then followed a very pretty path through fields back to the canal path and Nelson Pit.

Melanie Davy

Toasting in the New Year at Lyme Cage.

Happy faces on the walk through Lyme Park.

Walking by the Macclesfield Canal.