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Three Peaks Challenge

Walk 11 starts and ends at the Middlewood Way Car Park on Adlington Road in Bollington. If travelling by car, take the main road out of Macclesfield towards Stockport (A523). Turn right to follow the sign to Bollington (B5090). Continue to follow the main road (B5090, Wellington Road) through Bollington, until you pass under the first viaduct. Take the next left, which is Adlington Road. Car parking is available in the Middlewood Way car park, which is on the left.

The Vale Inn is almost opposite the car park, a little way down Adlington Road, and is well worth a drink and a bite to eat after the walk!

View the starting point

Distance: 7.6 miles (12.2 km)  
Terrain: Lanes, footpaths and bridleways.
Access: Not suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs
Grade: Strenuous
Time: 3 to 3½ hours
Ascent: 400 metres
Maps: OS Explorer Map 268, OL24
Start: Adlington Road Car Park, SK10 5JT
Grid Ref: SJ 930 780  

Walk Description and Directions

This walk is based on the route of the annual Three Peaks Fell Race in Bollington, which is an annual race from Bollington Brewery taking in the three local ‘peaks’ around Bollington and returning to the brewery. The three peaks are the trig point on Kerridge Ridge, the White Nancy obelisk, and Nab Head. Officially this is the only fell race in the country to start and finish at a brewery, the race sees seasoned fell runners compete alongside relative novices. The best runners complete this course in about 40 minutes! However, the route may be taken at a much more sedate pace. Walking route 11 takes you along the course of the fell race (apart from two exceptions so that only public footpaths are followed). It also takes in part of the Gritstone Trail, as it passes through Bollington. Note that this is a ‘strenuous’ course, involving 400m of climbing!

From the car park on Adlington Road, the route starts off along the Middlewood Way trail (over the old viaduct). Leaving the Middlewood Way, the route follows the canal towpath, and then the first ascent begins, up the old Rally Road. After walking past Endon Hall, the route heads directly up the side of Kerridge Ridge, and up to the trig point. The route then descends towards Rainow and joins the Gritstone Trail (signposted with a black boot inside a yellow arrow, see picture). The Gritstone Trail is followed up the other side of the ridge to White Nancy. Descending from White Nancy, the route heads down to Ingersley. Now leaving the Gritstone Trail, the route heads up to the Poachers Inn, then down to Sowcar meadow. Now the ascent to the Nab begins. After crossing the main Shrigley Road, the route heads up Beeston Mount and Cocksheadhey (pronounced “cocks-a-day”) Road and on up to the Nab, pausing to admire the wonderful views (well worth the climb!). Unfortunately there is only one public footpath up to the Nab, so we must retrace our steps for a short while. Back down to Beeston Mount, the walk passes a historic old building Rock Cottage. After walking up to Green Lane, the walk crosses a field over to Long Lane (with wonderful views across to White Nancy). From Long Lane, the walk returns to the starting point down a footpath to Sugar Lane and along the canal towpath past the majestic Clarence Mill.

1. Walk over to the back of the car park, and turn right to walk up the inclined path up the side of the viaduct. Then turn left to walk along the viaduct – this is the Middlewood Way path.
2. The first bridge that the Middlewood Way passes under is Hawthorn Road. Just before the bridge, bear right up a path to leave the Middlewood Way and walk up to Hawthorn Road. When you meet the road, turn left and walk across the bridge to reach the canal towpath.
3. Turn right along the canal towpath.
4. After passing the majestic Adelphi Mill, leave the canal towpath up some stone steps and turn left to walk over the bridge, passing Beehive Cottage on your left. Follow the driveway which passes a house to your right, and then heads slightly uphill.
5. Part way up the driveway, pass through a gate on your right and take the footpath across the middle of a field. Walk across a small bridge. The footpath emerges onto a driveway.
6. Turn left up the driveway. This is the old Rally Road.
7. Cross straight across a road (Oak Lane), and continue to follow the driveway (Rally Road) uphill.
8. Eventually the driveway bends around to the right, followed by a fork. 
Take the left hand fork uphill.
9. The driveway emerges onto a road (Windmill Lane). Cross straight over to the driveway opposite. A short distance up the driveway, turn right up a footpath. Follow the footpath past a house and uphill.
10. At the top of the hill the footpath meets other footpaths. Pass through a gate and bear right to follow the footpath that goes slightly uphill.
11. When you reach the trig point, continue along the footpath, as it now goes downhill.
12. At the bottom of the hill, at a junction of footpaths, turn sharp left.
13. Pass through a gate. Shortly after, at a fork in the path, bear right (sign posted “Permissive Bridleway”. Shortly after, pass through a further gate.
14. At a junction of paths, turn left – you are now on the Gritstone Trail. Shortly after, pass through a kissing gate and bear left.
15. After passing through a further gate, bear left up a wide grassy path, which heads diagonally uphill.
16. At the top of the hill, you will be back at the point where you were in step 10. Pass through the gate and turn right, to walk along the top of the ridge.
17. At the end of the ridge you will meet the imposing obelisk White Nancy. Passing White Nancy, continue in roughly the same direction and walk down the stone steps.
18. At the bottom of the steps, turn right along the concreted driveway.
19. At the bottom of the hill, turn left along a driveway.
20. After passing factory units to your right, bear right past cottages (also to your right). After the cottages, walk up the footpath ahead. The footpath soon becomes a lane (Mill Lane).
21. Turn left where the lane meets a road (Ingersley Road). The Poachers Inn is on the corner here.
22. Take the footpath to the right, which crosses a field then heads up between houses.
23. Cross straight over the main road and walk up Beeston Mount.
24. Turn right along Cocksheadhey Road. 
Go through a gate to the right of a large gate across Cocksheadhey Road.
25. After passing Cockshead Hey Farm (on your left), cross two stiles, and bear left uphill. Half way up the hill, pass through a kissing gate and bear right uphill, to the summit of Nab Head.  There is a stone pillar that marks the high point of the hill, surrounded by a damaged “barrow”.
26. Retrace your steps and head back down to Cocksheadhey Road.

27. At the end of Cocksheadhey Road, turn right along Beeston Mount.

28. After passing houses on the right, the road becomes a footpath, which heads up stone steps. These steps can be slippery, so make use of the wooden handrail on the left.
29. At the top of the steps, turn right onto a lane, then turn immediately left, through a gate, and along a footpath.
30. The footpath emerges onto a road (Long Lane). Turn right along the road for a short distance.
31. Turn left down a footpath.
32. The footpath emerges onto a road (Sugar Lane). Turn left along the road for a short distance.
33. Where the road passes over the canal, descend down to the canal towpath. Walk along the towpath, with the canal on your left, back towards Bollington.
34. Opposite the majestic Clarance Mill, bear right down a driveway.
35. At the bottom of the hill you will meet the main road. Turn right then immediately right into the recreation ground. Descend down steps to your left, to walk alongside the river (on your right).
36. Cross a bridge over the river, and turn left (with the river now on your left). Cross over the road (Adlington Road) to return to the car park.


Print the route card and map to take on the walk with you. The step numbers above correspond to the step numbers in the route card and on the map.