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Bollington to Adlington

The walk starts and ends 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). As you come into Bollington, turn right along Grimshaw Lane, where there is a sign to “Hotels”. Take the second right into Clough Bank, where you will find a car park on the right. This car park is actually adjacent to the Middlewood Way trail.

Get directions to Clough Bank by public transport or car with Redplanet.

Distance: 9.0 miles (14.5km)
Terrain: Mainly footpaths and bridleways, gentle uphill for a few miles, can be muddy in places.
Access: Not suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs
Grade: Moderate
Time: 3½ to 4 hours
Ascent: 387 metres
Maps: OS Explorer Map 268
Start: Bollington.
Grid Ref: SJ 929 772

This walk is a mainly medium level of difficulty, with an uphill stretch shortly after the start. Starting in Bollington, the Gritstone Trail is followed, towards (but not all the way to) Lyme Park. After reaching the highest point of this walk, the route leaves the Gritstone Trail, and a series of downhill footpaths are followed back to Wood Lanes, near Adlington.
There are two cafes along the route, one just before Wood Lanes, and the other adjacent to the canal. The walk returns to Bollington along the towpath of the Macclesfield Canal.

The outward part of this walk is along the Gritstone Trail. The Gritstone Trail is a long-distance footpath running from Kidsgrove in Staffordshire to Disley in Cheshire. The trail is well marked using a mixture of finger posts and yellow waymark discs with a ‘G’ in a footprint. Waymarks indicate the way to go as you stand directly in front of them. Often there is a clear path on the ground, but some paths may not be quite so obvious. Look out for stiles in hedges, fences or walls or waymark posts to guide you. You will first meet the Gritstone Trail in Ingersley Vale. After passing Savio House, the trail crosses the top of Bollington (passing the cottage pictured here), before heading down into Harrop Valley. Now it’s a climb out of the valley and up onto Bakestonedale Moor. This is a steady climb, but well worth the views when you get to the top.

After leaving the Gritstone Trail, the route heads downhill to Adlington. The route follows the Macclesfield Canal from Adlington back to Bollington. Along the towpath, the majestic Clarence Mill is passed. The Swindells family made their lasting contribution to the town’s architecture when, with partners the Brooke family, they built Clarence Mill in 1834-38, taking full advantage of Macclesfield Canal (newly opened in 1831). The canal’s stone bridges, aqueducts and wharves were engineered by William Crosley. 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.

  From the car park on Clough Bank, walk back to Grimshaw Lane, and turn right. Walk under the canal and up the hill.
  Bear left along Chancery Lane.
  Bear right up Cow Lane. At the end of Cow Lane there are two footpaths across a farm field. Take the left path, which goes slightly down hill.
  The footpath goes downhill to meet a lane. Bear right along the lane, which soon passes some buildings (the old Ingersley Mill).
  A short distance past the buildings, follow the Gritstone Trail sign which directs you over a stile to the left. Follow the Gritstone Trail down hill, and over the River Dean. Continue uphill again (through a metal kissing gate). After passing through a wooden kissing gate then another gate, 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 left here, and follow the Gritstone Trail downhill, then up to a lane (Oakenbank Lane). Turn left along the lane.
  Eventually a cross roads is reached. Go straight across to follow Spuley Lane.
  The Gritstone Trail soon turns right up a lane (Hedge Row).
  After some houses, the Gritstone Trail turns left away from the lane to follow a footpath down across fields. At the bottom of the hill, pass over an old packhorse bridge over a stream. Then pass through a metal kissing gate and follow the path uphill.
  Pass through a gate in a stone wall, then pass two ponds on the right. After the ponds, turn right through a gate, eventually passing a farm which is up to the left. Continue up a grassy path diagonally uphill. Go straight across a farm track and continue up the grassy path.
  The Gritstone Trail now continues gently uphill, between a wall on the right, and some woods on the left. Look back for fine views over Bollington (see photo).
  At the top of the hill, cross a wall, and turn right. Continue now with a wall on your right. Keep following the Gritstone Trail now gently uphill.
  After crossing a tarmac driveway, the Gritstone Trail passes through a small wooded area. After a short distance, a sign indicates that there is a fork in the path. The Gritstone Trail follows the right fork, but we leave the Gritstone Trail to follow the left fork.
  Shortly after the fork, a small pond is reached – pass to the left of the pond. Follow the wide grassy path going slightly downhill (ignore the rough stone track off to the left). As you walk downhill, you can see Bakestonedale Farm in the valley down to the right. The wide grassy path descends to Bakestonedale Road.
  Turn left down the road.
  Soon you will come to a layby on the right. Go through the gate at the back of the layby, and bear left. Soon there is a fork in the path – take the right fork uphill, which is signposted as a bridlepath. Further uphill, go straight on at a crossroads of paths.
  After passing the quarry, the bridlepath bears left, downhill. Head straight down to the lane (Moorside Lane) below.
  Cross straight over the lane, and follow the wide path between two walls. Pass small ponds on each side of the path. Pass to the left of a large house (Birchencliff). Follow the tarmac lane down to a road (Shrigley Road).
  Turn right along the road. Here there is a cafe on the right. Shortly after the cafe, a narrow road leaves Shrigley Road on the left – ignore this.
  Take the next footpath on the left. Follow the footpath on the left hand side of a field. Eventually the footpath bears right towards a house.
  Pass to the right of the house, and climb over some stiles. Turn left just after the house, and follow the lane away from the house. This lane takes you down to the canal.
  Cross over the canal, and turn left along the canal towpath back towards Bollington. Follow the towpath along the right bank of the canal all the way back to Bollington. As you reach Bollington, Clarence Mill is on the other side of the canal (another cafe here). After this, the canal passes over a viaduct. Continue along the towpath a short distance more.
  Look out for a sign “Middlewood Way”, just before Adelphi Mill, which directs you down a flight of stone steps descending to Grimshaw Lane. Continue down Grimshaw Lane, to return to the car park.

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.