If travelling by car, take the Bollington Road (B5090) exit from the roundabout on the A523 where the Silk Road becomes London Road, by Tytherington Business Park. Bollington Road (B5090) continues onto Henshall Road, then Wellington Road, then Palmerston Street. After passing under two viaducts, Palmerston Street rises uphill. At a mini roundabout, go straight on (B5090 towards Pott Shrigley), then turn immediately right up Ingersley Road. After a right hand bend, the Poachers Inn is on the right. The pub has a small car park. The Poachers is a pleasant and very friendly pub with a reputation for good quality, fresh home-made food. Formerly known as the Masonic Arms it has been 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. By the door, the comfortable lounge chairs and open fire provide a warm, relaxing and surprisingly quiet niche where you can stare into the fire while enjoying a pint of real ale. To the rear can be found a large secluded beer garden.
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|Distance:||4.2 miles (6.7 km)|
|Terrain:||Lanes, footpaths and bridleways.
Two steep, but short, climbs.
|Access:||Not suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs|
|Time:||1½ to 2 hours|
|Maps:||OS Explorer Map 268|
|Start:||The Poachers Inn, Ingersley Road, Bollington.|
|Grid Ref:||SJ 942 778|
Bollington is known locally as the Happy Valley. The walk is a circular route around Bollington, beginning and ending at the Poachers Inn. To the north of Bollington, 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.
From the Poachers, the walk initially heads away from Bollington, along roads to meet with the Gritstone Trail, which passes to the east and south of Bollington. 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. On the Gritstone Trail, the walk passes behind Savio House, a retreat centre. After walking around the edge of the grounds of Savio House, the walk continues along the Gritstone Trail. After emerging onto a lane, the Gritstone Trail leads you up the side of Kerridge Hill. Before walking up Kerridge Hill, a short and worthwhile diversion leads to Waulkmill Farm, and this picturesque waterfall on the River Dean. The River Dean flows from Rainow, and over this waterfall before passing through Bollington.
The Gritstone Trail then leads you past the base of Kerridge Hill, where a short diversion up to the White Nancy is recommended. 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, the walk descends to and follows the main road for a short distance.
From the main road, the walk leads up the hill to the north of Bollington. There is quite a steep climb up the lane here, 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). A short walk across a field leads to Ingersley Road and back to the Poachers.