Surface improvements to the Gritstone Trail near Hedge Row (lane), near Sowcar, Bollington

The surface on the Gritstone Path (Rainow FP 28) north of Hedge Row, both on the approach and at the first kissing gate, has deteriorated due to rambler footfall. This has caused erosion and subsequent deep puddle water at both places. In this circumstance, negotiating the k-gate was especially constricted because of its railings.

Two of the Project Teams members, Nick Wild and Roger Jubb proposed to carry out refurbishment work. Gravel was taken from ECR Project Team’s temporary stockpile in Ingersley Val and stacked by the GT path at Hedge Row (40 bags at 15 kg each -approx. 0.6 tonne in all), for use in the repairs. Brian Richardson providing materials transport.

Both ‘hollows’ were drained by digging outlet channels, and both these and the hollows were filled with 20 mm limestones. The stone on the approach path was contained by placing side timbers (50 x 200 mm cross-section) with support stobs on the lower outlet side. The stone-filled drainage channels were covered with turves. Approximately 30 bags of stones were spread, and ten bags transported onwards to Gaussie Brow steps. (For the latter, see website article)

Their finished work has been captured in photos of an ECR Ramblers walk on the trail.

Roger and Nick each carried out four man-hours work on these tasks on Friday 6th August ’21. A vaste improvement.


A Path Improvement at Poynton, in Memory of Alan Catherall

Alan Catheral, sadly, passed away in January this year. Our ECR committee recognised a wish of our members to provide some permanent recognition of Alan for his enthusiastic and comprehensive contribution to the affairs of East Cheshire Ramblers Group, both in the countryside and management. Quoting from our Chairman Jane Gay “Alan has been a member of ECR since 1985. He was an extremely strong long walker and walk leader who enjoyed the mountains. He particularly enjoyed walking with other members of ECR and chatting to them about the countryside and his latest projects. He was passionate about improving access for walkers.”

Alan working at Back Dane concessionary path December 2017 (See Article “Restoring a Concessionary Footpath at Back Dane, Wincle – ECR Projects Team, November 2018” herewith)

It was agreed that Poynton-with-Worth FP 27, centred at SJ 9470 8270 between Elm Wood and Ben’s Wood would be improved, and a plaque in memory of Alan would be posted there. A kissing gate and finger post would be erected at the path’s north-eastern end, a waymarker post erected at an intervisible more southerly spot. At the southern section by the canal, hawthorn trees would be cut back to improve the path’s accessibility. At the south end, plastic fingers would be restored to an existing finger post, and its ground anchorage made more firm. This post is adjacent to a footbridge leading to Hagg Farm and Poynton Coppice.

Eight members of our ECR FP Projects Team assembled on site in July and carried out this work to everybody’s satisfaction. Assembling and placing the kissing gate……..

Clearance of hawthorn tree obstructions on the path by the Canal……….

A finger post was erected by the gate, and the fence meshed to the gate……..

Incidentally, we have adopted a protective system for posts against rotting, whereby a bituthene sleeve is wrapped around the post at its most vulnerable rotting zone (100 mm above, and 250 mm below ground level), melted and rolled onto the wood………

A waymarker post was placed midway………..and the bridgeside finger post was refurbished……..

Soon after, a site visit was made to attach the plaque to the new finger post……

My thanks go to Janet Allan, Roger Fielding, Adrian Flinn, Ken Hobbs, Roger Jubb, Ian Wasson and Nick Wild. They contributed to a team total of more than 39 hours of work, excluding breaks.


Signs old and new

 By Steve Hull

As one sign acknowledging our work appears, another disappears. The photographs show the pre-ECR sign on Tewkesbury Drive in Tytherington which has now disappeared, along with the stile and the associated footpath, which is buried under the new housing estate. The pleasant field path has been replaced by a longer and uglier Tarmac path round the edge of the estate leading directly onto the Middlewood Way.

                                                              Grey sign to the right of the stile erected in 1977

Details of sign at Tytherington.
New sign at Harrop Brook Footbridge.
Close up of sign at Harrop Brook Footbridge.

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.

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.


Can you buy ambien online legally despite the restrictions associated with coronavirus and how safe it is?
The Ramblers have produced this advice on their website. Please take time to read it which is fairly well explanatory. click on link below.

Coronavirus – advice for members and volunteers

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.