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Rainow to Bollington

The walk starts and ends in the village of Rainow, on the B5470. As you leave Macclesfield town centre on the B5470 (signposted to Whaley Bridge), you will soon pass through Higher Hurdsfield, and then Rainow. Drive down the hill then up again (Holy Trinity church is on the right). Turn left down Round Meadow into the housing estate. There is a small car park on the left.

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FACT FILE
Distance: 4.9 miles (8.0 km)
Terrain: Medium, along lanes,
bridleways, and other footpaths.
Can be muddy after rain.
Access: Not suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs
Grade: Moderate
Time: 2 to 2½ hours
Ascent: 195 metres
Maps: OS Explorer Map 268, OL24
Start: Rainow village, on the B5470.
Grid Ref: SJ 947 757

The walk follows the valley of the River Dean from Rainow to Bollington and back. The circular route follows the path to the west of the river (along the side of Kerridge ridge), then along the towpath of the Macclesfield canal where it passes through Bollington, and then back to Rainow along a path to the east of the river. For refreshments there is the Bulls Head in Kerridge. Strong shoes or walking boots are essential.

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.
 
A short stretch of this route is along the towpath of Macclesfield Canal, which passes Adelphi Mill. The Swindells family made their lasting contribution to the town’s architecture when, with partners the Brooke family, they built Adelphi Mill in 1856, taking full advantage of Macclesfield Canal (newly opened in 1831). The canal’s stone bridges, aqueducts and wharves were engineered by William Crosley. This magnificent industrial building has now been converted into flats and business units. The Swindells family was a major force in transforming Bollington from an agricultural village of 1,200 people in 1801 to an industrial town of 4,600 people by 1851. There are many attractive back gardens on the other side of the canal. Many houses in Bollington back onto the canal, and some have their own moorings.

  Where Round Meadow meets the main road, turn right and walk down the main road with Holy Trinity church on your left. Follow the main road up hill.
Take the Gritstone Trail, which is on the right part way up the hill. The Gritstone Trail is clearly marked and follows a bridleway which heads down hill between fields. After the path crosses a small stream, bear right and head uphill. Ignore a bridleway off to the left. After a gate bear left and follow the Gritstone Trail uphill.
  After another gate the Gritstone trail heads up the side of Kerridge Ridge. Instead continue straight on along a path that stays on the same contour. Follow the path as it skirts around the top of a small wooded area.
  After passing through a wall, the path forks. Take the left fork, and follow the path that goes slightly uphill. Eventually this path passes through a gate. 
  Bear right to follow the path between a house on the left and an animal enclosure on the right. Keep following the path as it passes through a gate, and then a stile.
  Cross the stile and turn left up the lane. Follow the lane as it goes uphill and bears to the left around the base of Kerridge ridge, and then goes downhill again.
  Eventually the lane emerges onto a road (Redway). Turn right along the road. Walk down the road until it meets Oak Lane. The Bulls Head pub is on this corner.
  Turn left along Oak Lane for a short distance. Turn right at the first footpath on the right, which is signposted as a Private Road (to Beehive Cottage amongst others). Follow the lane downhill, which bears left at Beehive Cottage.
Cross the canal over a bridge and turn right straight after the bridge, down some steps and along the canal towpath. Continue along the canal towpath, passing Adelphi Mill on the left.
  Eventually a bridge over the canal is reached. Just after the bridge, turn left through a gate onto a road (Hurst Lane). Turn left up Hurst Lane, crossing the canal, and up past houses.
  After a few houses, on the left, is a footpath (see photo). Follow this short path which emerges onto a residential street (Gleave Avenue). Now the White Nancy is seen on the hill straight ahead. Carry straight on past houses. Ignore the road to the right. Continue to the end of Gleave Avenue.
  Take the footpath (to the right of the house number 19), which goes downhill to emerge onto Chancery Lane. Turn left along Chancery Lane.
  A little further on, bear right up Cow Lane. At the end of Cow Lane pass through a gate. There are two footpaths across a farm field (see photo). Take the left fork, which goes slightly down hill, and eventually down to a lane.
  Bear right along the lane, which eventually passes some buildings. A short distance past the buildings, follow the Gritstone Trail sign which directs you over a stile to the left. Follow the Gritstone Trail downhill. The path soon passes over the River Dean. Continue uphill (see photo), through several gates. 
  Then the Gritstone Trail follows a paved path, with a small estate on the left (Savio House). At the end of the grounds of Savio House is a ‘cross roads’ of footpaths. Turn right, away from the Gritstone Trail, along a path which is not signposted, keeping the wall on your left hand side. Follow the path across fields and over three stone stiles.
  Eventually the path heads slightly downhill to meet another path which leads uphill from the right. Pass through a gap in the wall (see photo) and bear left, following a hedge which is on the left.
  Pass through a metal kissing gate. The path is now enclosed, with a landscaped garden to the right (see photo). Go up some stone steps, before passing close to some houses. Where the footpath meets a road, bear left along the road. Follow the road to the right (Round Meadow) which takes you back up to the main road.

Print the route card and map to take on the walk with you. The numbered steps on the map correspond to the numbered steps in the route card.