6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Derbyshire Life today click here

Peak District walk - Macclesfield Forest

PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 April 2018

View of Shutlingsloe

View of Shutlingsloe

as supplied Sally Mosley

With dense pine forestation overlooked by a miniature Matterhorn mountain, on this walk you can imagine yourself to be hiking in Switzerland rather than the Peak District, writes Sally Mosley

Fingerpost sign Fingerpost sign

1. From the car park descend the steep path indicated by a concessionary bridlepath sign marked Saddlers Way. Look across to Macclesfield Forest which is the last remnant of the Royal Forest of Macclesfield. It is a working forest managed by United Utilities and contains mainly pine with some broad leaf trees. A herd of elusive red deer is said to roam these hills and you might also see rare breed sheep in the fields along the way and longhorn cattle grazing the slopes of Tegg’s Nose in the summer months. Look across the valley to see little homesteads tucked into the landscape. There’s often a long string of buildings following the contours of the land or a tight cluster snuggled into a sheltered hollow. Notice also the summit of Shuttlingsloe which, reaching 1,660 feet, is affectionately known as the Cheshire Matterhorn because of its distinctive shape and height in a county more commonly known for being flat.

2. At the bottom of the path turn right onto a narrow lane and walk for 225 yards then turn left and follow the sign for Macclesfield Forest and Shuttlingsloe, ascending an old track past Clough House.

St Stephen's Church. Macclesfield Forest St Stephen's Church. Macclesfield Forest

3. After hopping over a narrow stream trickling down off the hills, continue uphill where the track now becomes rough with loose stones. At a sharp left-hand bend stop for a while to admire the views to the west. Between Croker Hill, topped with its distinctive mast, and the promontory outcrop of Tegg’s Nose you can see through a gap to the Cheshire plain stretching away into the distance. Now follow the track around to the left and continue to ascend.

4. Follow Hacked Way Lane beyond Hardingland farmhouse for 150 yards and then go through a gate on the right to enter woodland. Follow the sign for Forest Chapel which will initially lead you to a ruined farmhouse hidden in the woods. This was the childhood home of Walter Whiston Bullock (1882-1917). His father James Bullock had built the house – his initials and the date of 1880 can be seen on the far side. The memorial to Walter states that in 1892 he emigrated with his family to Auckland and became a tinsmith. In June 1915 he enlisted in the Wellington Regiment and fought at Gallipoli and the Somme. On 4th October 1917 when leading a party of men in a successful campaign to capture a German concrete shelter, Walter was sadly killed in action. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for showing ‘splendid courage and determination’.

The dark woodland path at stage xx The dark woodland path at stage xx

5. Walk a short distance to a crossing of paths and then go over a low wooden stile following the sign for Forest Chapel. Shortly afterwards you enter a dark band of woodland, your boots scrunching on a carpet of needles as you pass through a regiment of stalwart pines. 4

6. On reaching Charity Lane – an old route over the moors that has become an eroded track hollowed away by time, travel and water to bedrock slabs of gritstone – turn right and walk down what is now part of a forest bridleway to St Stephen’s Church of Macclesfield Forest. In the distance ahead are views across to Shining Tor and the Cat & Fiddle pub, like a silhouette landmark on the horizon. The church dates from 1673 and still holds services once a month. Close by is an old school house and teacher’s cottage. In mid-August this little house of worship is packed with a very large congregation who are here to attend the annual Rushbearing Service. Before churches had solid or stone-paved floors, rushes were strewn to keep the earth surface clean and their renewal each year was a special event. In most churches this has long since ceased but St Stephen’s still commemorates this old tradition dating back centuries. On the day of the service the church is decorated with rushes.

Bottoms Reservoir Bottoms Reservoir

7. Turn sharp right at Toot Hill House and follow the road around Toot Hill, said to be the site of an ancient settlement.

8. At a dip in the road take a footpath on the left by going through a kissing gate and follow a path downhill. Arriving at a T-junction of paths follow the sign for Trentabank. At the bottom of the hill by a pool of water turn right at the sign to cross a little plank bridge, continuing on the Trentabank path.

9. Arriving at a road, you can either cross over to follow a new stretch of concessionary footpath or turn right and follow the road to Trentabank car park and picnic site. On reaching the reservoir be sure to look across for signs of nesting by a siege of grey herons located in a plantation of larch trees. This is said to be the largest heronry in the Peak District, generally having more than 20 breeding pairs. Cormorants can also be seen nesting here.

10. Using concessionary paths to avoid roadside walking where possible, continue from the car park past Trentabank Reservoir which was completed in 1929. Beyond this is Ridgegate Reservoir built in the latter part of the 1800s. At a junction of roads you will arrive at the Leather’s Smithy pub. An explanation for its unusual name can be found on a plaque by the door which advises that this 18th century building was originally a smithy and that in 1821 the farrier, called William Leather, obtained a licence to sell ale and porter from the premises.

11. Follow the roadside pavement towards Langley. At the end of a row of cottages go through a gap by a footpath sign for Tegg’s Nose and walk beside Bottoms Reservoir. Whilst checking out this walk I saw a kingfisher and a great-crested grebe here, as well as other more common species of birds and water fowl.

12. Walk along the dam wall and then ascend steps to pass Tegg’s Nose Reservoir and enter Tegg’s Nose Country Park. The way from here is uphill, climbing a long succession of steps and a steep path to Ward’s Knob, along a stretch of the Gritstone Trail. When you stop for a breather be sure to look to your left for distant landmarks and features such as Lovell’s radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, aeroplanes toing and froing at Manchester Airport and the Beetham Tower in the heart of the Manchester metropolis.

13. On reaching a gate near the summit turn right and follow a wide path around the top of Tegg’s Nose, passing an old quarry face on your left. Beyond this are a brightly painted old crane and a redundant hydraulic lift invented by John Smith of Keighley, as confirmed by his patent number.

14. After descending a twin flight of stone-flagged steps, go through a gate on your right to follow the path back to the car park.

DISTANCE 6.25 miles

PARKING Tegg’s Nose car park SK11 0AP (pay & display) Grid Ref: 733951

TERRAIN 10+ stiles and gates. Moderately strenuous walk with steep ascents and descents. Lots of steps. Close proximity to deep water. Woodland paths with trip hazards. Some roadway without pavement. Livestock grazing.

REFRESHMENTS Tegg’s Nose Tea Room;Leather’s Smithy pub

TOILETS Tegg’s Nose Car Park; Trentabank car park & picnic site

MAP OS Explorer OL24 White Peak

WALK HIGHLIGHT Panoramic and far reaching views

DESCRIPTION A rollercoaster walk on old tracks, woodland paths and quiet country lanes discovering remote homesteads and a run of reservoirs where herons rule the roost. Be prepared for a sting in the tail as the route ends with a steep uphill trek to Tegg’s Nose, but your reward is a breathtaking view over the Cheshire plains.

Click here to see more walks in the Cheshire Peak District

More from Out & About

For may people, Hathersage is the gateway to the Peak District. This selection of walks are all within a five mile radius of the popular village which is just ten miles south of Sheffield.

Read more

The designer of the Best Show Garden at last year’s inaugural RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Paul Hervey-Brookes, takes us behind the scenes with a look at his garden for this year’s show.

Read more

How has the town fared since winning Best Market Town and High Street awards in 2014? Ashley Franklin talks to the people behind its success

Read more

Mike Smith journeys to Holmesfield, an ancient manor on the hills south-west of Sheffield

Read more

75 years ago Derbyshire became a practice site for World War Two’s most daring flying raid. Viv Micklefield travels to the Upper Derwent Valley, for many the spiritual home of the legendary Dambusters

Read more

Without the hindrance of stiles or gates, this leisurely ramble is quite simply a walk in the park!

Read more

The South-Derbyshire village of Kings Newton is one of the county’s most charming small settlements. Nestled alongside its larger neighbour Melbourne, protected from mainstream traffic, it commands the epithet ‘backwater’ in the most positive sense – a quaint and peaceful haven replete with fine architecture and a timeless air rendering it almost a ‘best-kept secret’.

Read more

Better weather, badgers and bluebells combine to make this Paul Hobson’s favourite month of the year

Read more

As months of work come to fruition at this year’s Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials Derbyshire Life meets Event Director, the Hon Patricia Clifton

Read more

Robert Vernon (snr) of The Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery at Smisby writes about the Prunus x ‘Kanzan’ flourishing in Smisby churchyard and, no doubt, in many other sites around Derbyshire

Read more

With dense pine forestation overlooked by a miniature Matterhorn mountain, on this walk you can imagine yourself to be hiking in Switzerland rather than the Peak District, writes Sally Mosley

Read more
Peak District

6 walks near Castleton

Friday, April 20, 2018

A selection of walks close to one of the most popular walking spots in the UK.

Read more

Spending a day in Bakewell

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ashley Franklin discovers a day just isn’t long enough when you’re planning to visit the Ancient Capital of the Peak

Read more

Mike Smith visits an intriguing location on the White Peak plateau

Read more
White Peak
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Derbyshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search