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Vale walk (long)

If travelling by car, take the Bollington Road exit from the roundabout on the A523 where the Silk Road becomes London Road, by Tytherington Business Park. Bollington Road continues onto Henshall Road, then Wellington Road. Follow this road for approximately 1.4 miles (2.2km). Shortly after the Co Op on the left, the Middlewood Way footpath bridge passes overhead approximately 500 feet (50m) before the turning for Adlington Road. Turn left onto Adlington Road. Follow this road, past Bollington Insurance, and the National Trust Middlewood Way car park. Car parking is available in the Middlewood Way car park, which is on the left just before the Vale Inn. The Vale Inn is on the right, just before a sharp left-hand bend in the road. Inside offers an open, friendly feeling – a touch of the original 1980s refurbishment remains with the original slate bar and a taste of the new with a redesigned back bar. A real fire completes the homely feel. The fresh food menu combines a mixture of dishes which are changed regularly rather than just having a set menu with a specials board. The Vale serves real ale brewed in the Bollington Brewery. The brewery was launched in 2008, almost 80 years after ale production ceased in the town at the Heavers Brothers’ site on Dyers Close. With just 150ft between the Bollington Brewery Company’s base and the Vale Inn, landlord and chief brewer Lee Wainwright says his new business venture is working a treat. A wide range of ales are brewed at the brewery (10 at the last count, but still growing), at least 3 of which are always on offer at the Vale.
Get directions to the Vale Inn by public transport or car with Redplanet.

Distance: 7.4 miles (11.9 km)
Terrain: Lanes, footpaths and bridleways.
One steep, but short, climb.
Access: Not suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs
Grade: Moderate / Hard
Time: 2½ to 3 hours
Ascent: 356 metres
Maps: OS Explorer Map 268
Start: The Vale Inn, Adlington Road, Bollington.
Grid Ref: SJ 931 781

The walk is a circular route, beginning and ending at the Vale Inn. In Bollington, near to the start of the walk, there is a short climb up a steep lane. There is also a short climb up Kerridge Hill. Apart from this, the walk is fairly easy. Strong shoes or walking boots are essential – there are some potentially muddy footpaths.
Firstly, the walk leads to the north side of the Happy Valley (as Bollington is known locally). There is quite a steep climb up the lane out of Bollington, but this is quite short, and is worth it! From the lane (Long Lane), a footpath leads across fields (from where this photo was taken). This view is from the highest point of the north side of this walk, over to Kerridge Hill, to the south (the White Nancy monument may be seen on top of Kerridge Hill). The higher hill up to the left of the path is Nab Head, but this is not accessible from our route. The walk then descends back down to, and crosses, the main road out of Bollington to Pott Shrigley (Shrigley Road).
The walk then leads you away from Bollington, up the side of Billinge Hill, and on to Rainow. 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.
After Rainow, the walk takes you up onto the ridge of Kerridge Hill, to the White Nancy. The White Nancy is an 18 foot high Grade II listed landmark standing on the top of Kerridge Hill overlooking Bollington, and is visible for miles around. White Nancy was actually built as a summer house by the Gaskell family, who lived below the hill at Ingersley Hall, in about 1815. It is stone built with external rendering and regularly painted white in order to maintain its visibility. It is thought that it may have been built to commemorate the battle of Waterloo. Internally there was a seat all round the wall with a large table in the centre. The table was circular, cut from a single piece of stone. Before White Nancy was built the site was occupied by a beacon which was a small rotunda of brick. Such beacons were erected on high points across the land in which fires could be lit to warn of invasion. It was white-washed from the beginning, but painted green during World War II so as not to provide a landmark for enemy aircraft. The boundary line dividing Rainow and Bollington passes through the middle of the building, placing White Nancy in both parishes. There is no settled reason for the name Nancy, it has been suggested that it was the name of the horse that lead the team dragging the building materials up the hill.
After descending into the village of Kerridge, the walk leads down to the towpath of the Macclesfield Canal. This takes you past both of the majestic mill buildings: Adelphi Mill and then Clarence Mill. 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, then Adelphi Mill in 1856, taking full advantage of Macclesfield Canal (newly opened in 1831). These magnificent industrial buildings have 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. Once you have reached the canal towpath opposite Clarence Mill, a path takes you back down to Bollington recreation ground, and then back to the Vale Inn.