ECR Important Update

Hello to you all.

I thought it would be good to update you on the situation as far as ECR is concerned. We are obviously following all the guidelines which have been issued. Almost all of you will have received the email from Ramblers telling you that all walking and social activities are suspended until at least the 31st of May.

As those of you who lead will realise we start planning the next programme  from as early as the middle of April. This obviously is not going to happen. I have emailed all the coordinators and we have agreed that as soon as we are given the go-ahead to start walking again the programme will go out with requests for people to volunteer for the first couple of weeks very quickly. This will then go onto the website as quickly as is possible. Many of us will have walks left over from this programme so hopefully we will be able to get up and running shortly after we are given the go-ahead.

Now for the social programme For clarity I am listing everything that has been amended or changed so that hopefully this will answer everybody’s questions.

20th March the Stockport guided walk was postponed. Thanks to Maggie who had made this decision prior to the information from Ramblers.

23rd March Footpath Committee meeting cancelled but it will be carrying out most of its functions via email

31st  March Cheshire East PROW consultative meeting cancelled.

4/5 April National Conference which I was attending cancelled

12th April start of strollers programme  postponed until further notice

23rd April Indian meal cancelled

4th to 26th of April long walkers weekend. Cancelled

5th May ECR committee meeting cancelled. The committee is staying in contact via email. 

14th May start of evening walks. Postponed until further notice.

19th to 21st of June Patterdale weekend. I have phoned the company and the hotel is shutting for two months. Staff had just heard this and were absolutely devastated. I have decided to leave it until after May 31 to see what advice comes out from Ramblers and also Nationally. 

25th June coach trip. Ann T will make a decision about this in the middle of May

29th June footpath inspectors gathering postponed

2nd July walk leader training Postponed

Advice is changing almost on an hourly basis but at the moment individuals can go on safe walks as long as they keep 2 m between themselves and anybody else. Due to this guidance the  usual information will be sent out shortly to all footpath inspectors as it is felt that footpath inspections can go ahead. In fact it’s a good way of going for a safe walk and feeling useful at the same time.

Bear in mind that we are being asked, at the moment, to avoid popular walking areas.

Most importantly of all stay safe. Jane Gay Chair. 01625-427444 or 07909682098

Group walk 7th March

On Stanage Edge.

By Michael Murphy

With improving weather, nine members of East Cheshire Ramblers ventured a little further afield on a bright March morning, for a 12 mile walk from Heatherdene Car Park, in Derbyshire. The forecast was for sunny intervals with moderate winds.
The route firstly ascended through mossy woodland, up onto Bamford Moor, where the group enjoyed splendid views across Ladybower Reservoir and the snow-specked hills beyond.
Having briefly strayed onto the wrong footpath (the distracted leader engrossed in conversation!) some “off-piste” descending was required to regain the correct route above Jarvis Clough, before stopping for our coffee break.
A long gradual climb followed, to access the rocky gritstone ridge known as Stanage Edge. What had been moderate winds in the valleys were now experienced as much stronger gusts, as the party headed South East along the jagged ridge.
Many walkers were encountered in both directions, taking the opportunity to enjoy the early spring weather, whilst using varying techniques cope with the wind.
Leaving the ridge, the group headed South West to the attractive town of Hathersage. Here they visited the churchyard of St. Michael, the reputed location of the grave of Little John, one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men.
The walk then crossed some boggy farmland to arrive at Bamford. The intended route would have used stepping stones at Bamford Mill, over the River Derwent. As these were underwater, it was necessary to extend the route to reach the Thornhill Trail. Now a bridleway, well used by walkers, cycles and horses, it was once the route of a narrow-gauge railway; built to carry materials used in the construction of the dam wall to create the Ladybower Reservoir, opened in 1945.
After walking the two-mile length of the trail, the group crossed the dam to arrive at the car park, before driving to Bamford for refreshments.

A path through the woods.

Ramblers Association COVID-19 UPDATE

Dear Members

You will have seen the announcements made by the Prime Minister yesterday evening (Monday, 16 March) in relation to COVID-19. We have followed Government advice to date, and we continue to do so now. Your health, and the health of our volunteers and staff comes first.

What does this mean for the Ramblers group walks?

We have sadly had to take the decision to cancel all group walks and social activities from tomorrow (18 March 2020) onwards. This follows the government advice to avoid all unnecessary social contact. We have informed all volunteers today by email and will be updating our website shortly.

Does this mean I can’t walk?

Fresh air and gentle exercise can do a world of good for your mental and physical health.  You can continue to access independent walking routes on our member app and on our website as a member of the Ramblers. The advice from the government is that you can continue to walk outside (staying a safe distance from others), unless you are showing symptoms.

What about my Ramblers membership?

Your membership protects our green spaces, our rights as walkers and helps others to discover the powerful benefits of walking.  

At this time, more than ever, as a wonderful community of members I know you will reach out to support each other in new ways, as we all begin to feel the impact of this unprecedented challenge.

We hope you’ll continue to stand with us as an active member of the Ramblers.

You’ll continue to receive Walk magazineaccess back-copies of Walk magazinereceive discounts on walking gear and have access to independent walks to explore. In the upcoming weeks we’ll provide advice on staying active if you are having to self-isolate, as well as more tips and support on independent walking – which you’ll find on our Facebook page as well as in our regular member emails.

What happens next?

We will keep you updated as we move forwards, so do keep an eye out on our website and in your emails.

The Ramblers has been around for a long time, through the tough days and the bright days. We will continue to fight for the rights of walkers, for the protection of our important green spaces and for the joys of walking.

Together we’re stronger. Thank you for standing with us at this difficult time.

With best wishes,

Sarah Marfleet
Director of membership and fundraising

P.S. I understand some of you will have more questions.  We are working hard to put things in place for all our staff, volunteers and members so please bear with us.  If you do have questions please email

Group walk report 5th March

By Maggie Swindells

Ascending the staircase to Mow Cop Folly

After days of incessant rain fifteen East Cheshire Ramblers met on a rare sunny morning for the start of an eight and half mile walk from Congleton to Mow Cop and back. We set off along the Macclesfield Canal, one of the last narrow canals to be built; indeed, it was very nearly built as a railway! The mud along the tow path tested our stamina and skill in parts before leaving the canal at Ackers Crossing and taking a moderate, steady climb through fields and woodland to the summit of Mow Cop.
We reached Mow Cop, the southernmost outcrop in Cheshire of hard sandstone grit, which rises 335metres above sea level. We passed the ‘Old Man of Mow’, a gritstone pillar over 20 metres high, which was left after the quarry was last used. The Old Man used to be a rock climber’s paradise, but now is deemed too unsafe to climb. From there it was a short walk to Mow Cop ‘Castle’; a mock tower that was built as a summer house in 1754 by Randle Wilbraham, the Squire of Rode Hall. The tower, now owned by the National Trust, is visible for miles around and is a major landmark visited throughout the year. Mow Cop was also the first meeting place for John Wesley, who took the first Primitive Methodist service there in 1807. We were able to take a well-earned lunch break at the top of the ‘Castle’, sitting in the winter sunshine! This allowed us time to take in splendid 360 degree views across the Cheshire and Staffordshire countryside.
After leaving Mow Cop we walked along Congleton Edge, the final section of the Gritstone Trail; formed as a result of earth movements along the Red Rock Fault. Here the much older, often harder rocks of the Peak District and Pennines dip beneath the young sandstones and mudstones of the Cheshire plain. The ridge follows the Gritstone Trail to Nick i’th Hill, a pronounced dip in the ridge, believed to have been caused by a melt water drainage channel in the last ice age. From there we negotiated our way slowly down, through extremely muddy fields and water logged stiles, back to the beginning of our walk.

ECR Social Event Indian Meal ‘Bombay To Mumbai’

Bombay To Mumbai
10 Fir Road, Bramhall
Bramhall, SK7 2NP

THURSDAY 23rd April 2020 7.30pm

SET MENU (Including Service)

£25.25 for 3 courses

£21.95 for 2 courses

Last date for booking 16th April 2020 Contact Andy Davies

Ragda Patties (V) Potato patties topped with yellow chickpeas, sweet , spicy and tangy chutneys  
Samosa Chaat (V) Pastry stuffed with potatoes & peas, topped with yogurt, chutneys, salad  
Chicken Lollypop Spices chicken wings shaped as lollypop  
Sheekh Kebab or Chilli Kebab Spicy skewered minced lamb kebab tossed with onion pepper and Indo-Chinese sauces  
Chicken Chilly Fingers of Chicken breast tossed in garlic, onion, peppers & Indo-chinese sauces    
Chana Masala (V) Spicy chickpeas curry prepared with dark brown cooked onions  
Saibhaji(V) Healthy combination of lentil and spinach  
Butter Chicken Mumbai version of Butter chicken.  
Lamb Bhuna Lamb curry slow cooked in Mumbai spices  
Mumbai to Goa Fish Curry Spicy fish curry cooked in fresh homemade paste of coconut and dry red chilli.  
Choose plain rice or pulav rice or plain Naan or plain rice or Garlic naan    
DESSERT   Gulab Jamun or Gajar Halwa or Sticky Toffee Pudding


Thank you to all those involved in organising these events, any suggestions or ideas about an event would be warmly welcomed. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on:

Maggie Swindells  07729327940 /01625 829671

Friday 20th March 1.30 pm Stockport Guided Walk with Judith Wilshaw organised by Maggie Swindells
 4th and 5th April   National Conference  Bristol
Friday 12Th April  Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme
Thursday 23rd April ‘Bombay To Mumbai’ Indian Meal – organised by Andy Davies
Friday 24th April to Sunday 26th April Long Walkers Weekend – Aberystwyth to be organised by Colin Park
Thursday 14th May Provisional start of evening walks organised by Steve Hull
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June Weekend Away  Patterdale organised by Jane Gay
Thursday 25th June Coach Trip Settle organised by Anne Thompson
Monday 29th June ‘Footpath Inspectors Gathering’  3.30 pm Macclesfield Tennis Club organised by the Footpath Committee
Thursday 2nd July ECR Walk Leader Training Macclesfield Tennis Club (more details to follow)
Saturday 4th July Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
Friday 7th August to Sunday 9th August Long Walkers Weekend – Anglesey (exact location to be decided) to be organised by Steve Hull
Thursday 20th August Meal following final evening walk provisional booking at Farm Made, Rainow organised by Nick Wild
Saturday September 5th Coach Trip to Church Stretton organised by Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th Sep Ambleside Weekend away – Andy Davies
Saturday 12th September (date change) Walk with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
Saturday 31st October Ceilidh and Supper at the Victory Hall Mobberley  organised by Tony Battilana
Saturday 14th November 2020 ECR AGM Macclesfield Tennis Club
30th November 2020 Ramblers Association Area AGM
Saturday 5th December Christmas Carol short walk – Jenny Bordoli
Saturday 12th December Week End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay.

Coronavirus – advice for members and volunteers

Walking is a great way to bring groups of people together, to enjoy the outdoors on foot.  Over 50,000 group walks (and other activities) take place every year, and we take the welfare of our volunteers and members very seriously.

With the spread of coronavirus posing a risk to public health, we’re following government updates and latest NHS advice closely. 

For now, most people can carry on as normal.  Remember you can help to minimise the spread of the virus by:

  • catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, and throwing them away immediately.
  • washing your hands with soap & water regularly (or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser if not available).
  • avoiding close contact with people who are unwell.

If you think you might have coronavirus, recently returned from a high-risk area, or have been in close contact with someone who is unwell – you should contact the NHS coronavirus service online, or call 111.  There’s a chance that you might be asked to self-isolate, which means staying at home and avoiding public places (including Ramblers group activities).

We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and will update groups and areas via the website and volunteer newsletter.  If any further action is needed (such as the cancellation of walks), we will contact area & group chairs and secretaries directly. 

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the supporter care team on 020 3961 3232 /

For more information click Coronavirus

Finding a quiet place to walk on a bank holiday Monday

The large sandstone church at Baschurch dominates the village.

Finding a parking place in the Peak District on a bank holiday Monday can in some cases prove problematical and so last year on Easter Monday, I was joined by Steve Hull and Tony Littler to explore a area which was new to all of us and yet only around an hour and a half from Macclesfield.

Our starting point was in Baschurch in Shropshire which lies as the crow flies around seven miles northwest of Shrewsbury. The village is dominated by the large sandstone church of All Saints’ which dates from the 12th century. The interior however was fairly plain. Being not that far from Wales, the village name is first recorded as ‘Eglwyssau Bassa’ (Churches of Bassa). Setting off from the churchyard we headed south via good field paths to Milford then west via a lane before continuing on another field path. At Little Ness we paused for our morning break in the churchyard. The church unfortunately was locked but it seemed quite an ancient site and built on an area of land higher than the surrounding fields. Nearby was the mound of the motte and bailey castle. Whilst we were there, we met another couple of people out on an reconnoitre for the City of Birmingham Ramblers and doing an almost identical walk to us but in the opposite direction. We would meet them again later south of Ruyton XI Towns for another chat.

The ancient church of St Martins at Little Ness stands on a mound overlooking the peaceful Shropshire countryside.

Leaving Little Ness we now headed southwest on field paths to Great Ness and here the church was open. St Andrew’s Church is grade I listed and we briefly took a look inside. Nearby, we discovered that the A5 once ran through the village and came across an old milestone with distances to Shrewsbury and Holyhead. Not far away was the old village pump.

We found the church at Great Ness open on this fine spring day.

An old milestone in the village of Great Ness indicated that the main A5 once ran through the village.

We now headed towards Nesscliffe Hill Country Park but our intended footpath took a bit of finding as the stile was well hidden but after this there were no issues. We skirted the foot of the woodland and surprisingly came across a large hidden sandstone cliff in the trees. This was once a quarry area and the cliffs had been cut smoothly with historic initials and names cut into the rock face probably by quarrymen at locations which are now impossible to get to. We made for Kynaston Cave first which was located up a flight of worn steps and cut into the rock face but fenced off so there was no close access. The cave is so named as it became the secret home of ‘wild’ Humphrey Kynaston who in 1491 was declared an outlaw after the murder of local man John Hughes. For many years, this was his home where he lived a life similar to that of Robin Hood, robbing the rich and giving to the poor. Because of this, his hideout was kept secret despite the authorities trying several times to capture him. Of the two room cave, one room was for his family and then other was for his horse ‘Beelzebub’. It is believed that Humphrey Kynaston was later pardoned by Henry VIII after supplying the King with one hundred men to fight in France.

Well worn steps lead up to Kynaston’s Cave home for many years of the outlaw Humphry Kynaston.

Vertical sandstone cliffs are well hidden by the trees at Nesscliffe Hill Country Park.

A steep path led uphill to the wooded summit and we found a picnic bench for lunch. Nearby was the hill fort known as Nesscliffe Hill Camp which dates from the Iron Age. There are still extensive earthworks and recent tree felling had revealed the embankments.
We stopped briefly at Oliver’s Point where we had limited views through the trees to the west but today it was quite hazy. Leaving the wooded top we took a wrong turn and so had to back track a short distance and joined the lane through the hamlet of Valeswood. The path north over The Cliffe provided some fine walking along a low ridge on common ground and a small detour led us to the trig point that crowned the highest spot here. Again, views were poor but the walk towards Ruyton XI Towns was very rewarding.

Olivers Point on Nesscliffe Hill gives limited views across the Shropshire countryside.

Ruyton-XI-Towns is a fascinating village and west of the church are the remains of the castle.

Ruyton XI Towns is a place I’ve always wanted to visit as it has such an unusual name. It is unique in having the only Roman numerical in a name in the whole of Britain. The ‘XI’ comes from the small eleven hamlets once being amalgamated into one parish but now some of these hamlets are now in the neighbouring parish of West Felton. We headed for the church first and in the churchyard we came across the ruins of the castle. Little is left of the castle other than a few walls, and being close to the Welsh border, the castle was destroyed on more than one occasion. In 1308, an attempt was made to re-found the town as New Ruyton. It was awarded a charter briefly, but as raiding continued, the new town declined and lost most of its rights. The church of St John the Baptist was also visited and this building dates from the 12th century. We found a seat in the churchyard for our afternoon break.

We were grateful to the farmer who had cut a good path through the oil seed rape as we neared Baschurch.

During our rest time we could see a path from our vantage point which wasn’t marked on our maps. Steve and Tony opted to follow this as it was in the general direction that we would be taking. Meanwhile, I wanted to walk through the village to see what the place had to offer. I arranged to catch up with them at a pre arranged spot beyond the village and I arrived only a few minutes after them. We now skirted the upper edge of a wood then took a field path to join the lane towards the hamlet of Stanwardine in the fields. From there it was just a case of heading back to Baschurch but to add variety we opted to follow a couple of field paths and the second one was through a field of oil seed rape where thankfully the farmer had cut a good path.
Overall it had been a fascinating and varied walk from field paths, peaceful lanes, wooded hills and much of historical note and an area worthy of further exploration.