In November 2016, Rob and Helen Ellwood (owners of the Poachers Inn in Bollington) invited me to write a guide book containing walks starting from and finishing at the Poachers. I had already written the Vale Walks guide, so Rob and Helen thought I was the right person for the job! I wanted to come up with 18 walks, as similar walking guides I have bought before have at least this number. My wife (Linda) and I have walked many of the footpaths, bridleways and lanes in and around Bollington over the last few years, so I had plenty of material. I completed the book in December, had it printed professionally, and Rob and Helen had it on sale at the Poachers in time for Christmas. The book is only available to buy at the Poachers. All proceeds are in aid of two charities that are close to our hearts, Cancer Research and Alzheimers Research.
The walks in the book are all circular walks, starting from and finishing at the Poachers. The walks are steeped in the local history of Bollington, taking in the Macclesfield Canal, the Middlewood Way, White Nancy, the Rally Road and more. The walks are varied, and hopefully there is something for all abilities: there are short strolls around Bollington, medium distance walks out to White Nancy, Nab Head, Styperson, Harrop Valley and Rainowlow, and longer more strenuous walks out to Lyme Park, Lamaload Reservoir and Teggs Nose. Full details of the distances, times and levels of difficulty are included at the beginning of each walk in the book.
The Poachers Inn has an interesting history. It is right on the boundary of Bollington and Rainow. The Boundary stone is in a wall opposite the pub. Formerly known as The Masonic Arms, it was created by merging half a dozen terraced cottages. Occupying a corner site it is solidly built from local stone and blends well with its surroundings. Well known for its window boxes and hanging baskets, The Poachers has won the “Bollington in Bloom” awards three times. It is situated at the very edge of the village, at the foot of Blaze Hill, a hundred yards from the Peak District National Park. Now owned by Rob and Helen Ellwood since 2000, it is renowned for its friendly staff, superb meals and cosy welcoming atmosphere, not to mention the huge choice of beers and extensive Gin collection, and it’s dog friendly!
Since writing the first edition of the book, I have found a few areas where some additional directions help:
In walk 8 (Billinge Hill and Rainowlow), step 4 is clarified as: At the end of the lane, go through a gate and continue straight on along the footpath which heads downhill into Harrop Wood. Cross a stone slab bridge over a stream. Don’t cross the second bridge, but head along the footpath which is adjacent to the stream, with the stream to your left. In spring there are beautiful bluebells alongside the path. Further on, ignore footpaths on the left. Eventually the footpath turns right (across a stile), and then left, before arriving at Harrop Fold Farm.
In walk 12 (Whiteley Green and Lowerhouse), step 9 is clarified as: After passing Whiteley Green Farm on the left, turn left up a footpath. The footpath crosses a small field. Cross straight over a driveway to follow a footpath across a field. Cross straight over another driveway, then bear right to follow the footpath, heading away from the farm. The footpath heads almost directly south, passing through a grassy field, over a slight hill.