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Rainow and Kerridge

Walk 4 starts and ends on the B5470 Rainow Road at Higher Hurdsfield. As you leave Macclesfield town centre on the B5470 (signposted to Whaley Bridge), you will soon pass over the canal, and the road then rises uphill to Higher Hurdsfield. The walk actually starts up Cliff Lane on the right hand side, which is just before the George and Dragon pub (also on the right hand side of the road). NOTE: the George and Dragon pub suffered a catastrophic fire, and in 2017/2018 is a burnt out shell. For those arriving by car, the Rainow Road is wide enough here to allow safe parking.
This walk is a circular walk, and may be commenced at any stage, for instance as it passes through Kerridge at step 20 (see below).

Distance: 5.6 miles (9.0 km)

Did you try walk 4, and if so how did you get on?

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Terrain: Lanes, footpaths and bridleways. Two moderate climbs.
Access: Not suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs
Grade: Moderate
Time: 2 to 2½ hours
Ascent: 303 metres
Maps: OS Explorer Map 268, OL24
Start: Higher Hurdsfield.
Grid Ref: SJ 933 746 Thank you for taking part in the survey!

Walk Description and Directions

The walk is a circular route, which is intersected by the B5470. As with any circular route, this walk can be started and finished from any point – for instance in Kerridge. This circular walk involves a moderate uphill climb to the Buxton Road at the start of the walk, and a moderate uphill climb up to Kerridge ridge after passing through Rainow on the Gritstone Trail. Apart from these two uphill stretches, the walk is fairly easy. Refreshments are available at the Bulls Head in Kerridge. Strong shoes or walking boots are essential.

In order that a stretch of the Gritstone Trail may be incorporated into this walk, the first part of the walk takes you up a lane to the A537 Buxton Road, and a short footpath beyond. The Gritstone Trail is then followed downhill, back across the Buxton Road, and across fields down into Rainow. The main B5470 road is crossed here, and the Gritstone trail is followed up to the top of Kerridge ridge and the White Nancy. After leaving the Gritstone Trail, a steep descent to Kerridge is followed by a pleasant stroll along bridleways and footpaths, to return you to the starting point at Higher Hurdsfield.

Rainow lies in the foothills of the Pennines straddling the Cheshire boundary of the Peak District National Park. The village gets its name from the Old English Hraefn Hoe meaning Ravens Hill, an indication that the area was once a wilderness. The western boundary runs along the crest of Kerridge (Key Ridge from the Old English Caeg Hrycg). The hill has an altitude of over 900 feet, but descends steeply into the River Dean valley. The heart of the village lies to the east of the river. A number of large menhirs (standing stones) can still be seen in the locality. Their original purpose was probably to signpost tracks through Rainow that once formed part of a ridge way to the Scottish borders.

On the northern end of Kerridge ridge is a white building, circular in cross-section in the shape of a sugar loaf. This landmark is known as White Nancy

  (1) From the main Rainow Road (B5470), walk up Cliff Lane. This is a moderate uphill lane. Further up the hill the road levels out. Pass Calrofold Lane on the left and another lane on the right.
  (2) At the top of Cliff Lane, walk directly across the Buxton Road (A537) to the clearing opposite. Take great care here as the traffic on Buxton Road can be busy (and fast). Go through a gate to the right of a large gate and walk straight up the wide track. This is a newly created woodland walk.

(3) After a short distance, bear left uphill along a grassy path.

  (4) Go through a gate at the top of the wooded area and turn left. Cross over a stile and follow the Gritstone Trail (marked with the ‘G’ sign). Provided that it is a clear day, you should be able to see right to the White Nancy at the end of Kerridge Ridge from here, which is your destination.
  (5) After following the path down hill, the Gritstone Trail reaches the main Buxton Road again. Once again, taking great care, cross the road and turn left along the pavement for a short distance.

(6) The Gritstone Trail continues from the corner of Bull Hill Lane, down across a field, over two stiles to a stream.

  (7) Cross the stream, and walk up hill, bearing right to a kissing gate.

(8) After the kissing gate, head across the field and bear right to a stile.

(9) After the stile, turn left and follow a wall which is to your left.

  (10) At the end of the field, cross another stile onto a lane and turn sharp left.

(11) Cross a metal ladder over a wall, and follow the Gritstone Trail down to Rainow. The path follows a wall to the left, then passes between two walls, over a wall (stone steps), and follows another wall (on the left).

  (12) After crossing over a wall (stone steps), bear right downhill (with a wall to the left). Pass through two metal gates on the way down to Rainow.

(13) After passing through a kissing gate, you meet a lane. Bear left and follow the lane down to the main road.

(14) Turn left along the main road (B5470) for a short distance, until you reach a sign for the Gritstone Trail, between two houses on the right.
  (15) Turn right down the Gritstone Trail, and once again follow the ‘G’ signs. Cross a stream at the bottom of the hill and continue along the path. Ignore a bridleway to the left.

(16) Pass through a gate and bear left.

  (17) Pass through another gate and bear left to follow the Gritstone Trail uphill. This is a fairly steep, grassy path now. This will eventually take you up onto the ‘saddle’ of Kerridge Ridge.
  (18) At the top of the hill, pass through a gate and turn right. Keep following the ‘G’ signs along the top of Kerridge Ridge until you come across the White Nancy at the end of the ridge.
  (19) After admiring the view across Bollington, continue straight on to follow the paved path down hill to Kerridge. There are other paths down hill here, but our path is the only one that is paved with stones.
  (20) When the path reaches a concreted bridleway, turn left. This descends to meet a road at Redway House (which used to be the Redway Tavern pub).


(21) Turn right when you reach the road.
  (22) At the end of a raised pavement, take the footpath on the left (crossing a stone stile), which follows a paved path across a field. Pass through three gaps in walls (see photo).

(23) After passing the back of a house, bear right, down to a lane (Higher Lane).

(24) Turn left along the lane.
  (25) Where traffic is prohibited from driving further up Higher Lane, carry straight on through the small gate, and walk along the driveway that passes to the left of the house in front.
  (26) Where another lane merges from the right, continue straight on.

(27) Continue along the lane, passing more houses on the left. This lane turns into a bridleway.

  (28) Where the bridleway forks into two bridleways, take the right hand fork, eventually crossing a stile to the left of a gate.


  (29) The bridleway now becomes a footpath, between two walls. After the walls diverge away from the footpath, take the footpath down to the left.

(30) The footpath crosses a field, with farm buildings over to your right.

  (31) At the end of the path, pass through a kissing gate and turn left up a lane.
  (32) Go through the gate on the right, which leads down some steps to another gate.

(33) Turn left, to follow a wall (on the left), then bear right to follow the footpath signs (yellow arrows) to a lane.

  (34) Turn left along the lane, away from Lower Swanscoe Farm.


(35) Where the lane meets a road, bear right along the road.
  (36) At a road junction, bear right (Swanscoe Lane).
  (37) At another road junction, turn left along an unmarked lane (Well Lane). Do not take the no-through road (see photo).


(38) When Well Lane returns to the main road (B5470) again, turn right to return to the starting point.

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.