Various wanderings around Hare Hill3rd October 2017
Casting my mind back to a time when I often walked home through the fields from my workplace, which then was out in the countryside, at the end of a working day reminds me that I often passed between the National Trust properties of Alderley Edge (the sandstone escarpment, not the village of the same name that once might have been called Chorley) and of Hare Hill. Even so, I hardly stepped inside its boundaries until a visit made by bicycle in October 2011. Until then, the closest to doing so had been an after work incursion during an extended cycle home and I have passed the place on many a commute to work too.
Until I found the relevant entry on here, I would not have realised that I undertook three trots around both Alderley Edge and Hare Hill in twelve months. The first of these was spoilt by a nip from a terrier on a leg that resulted in a trip to the local A&E department for sake of safety. For some reason, the original account played down the story of my phoning the NHS helpline and the need to spend several hours awaiting the consultation that resulted in a tetanus booster injection and the prescription of a course of antibiotics as a precaution. Nothing more came of the altercation though it did nothing to reduce my wariness of unleashed dogs.
All that happened on the first Sunday of May 2014 and it was to take until September of the same year before I embarked on a hike from the village of Alderley Edge back home in an effort to exorcise memories of the previous encounter. That was not nearly as sunny as I would have liked and there was a reprise the following April when I found both sunshine and signs warning of the need to control dogs. Since then, the affected concessionary path now is out of use during the winter when Hare Hill is not open to the public.
Unlike the ill-fated first circular stroll, the September 2014 was a linear affair. It also replaced other aborted plans for what I had in mind for Wales needed to be postponed. Instead, I headed to Alderley Edge in the middle of that Saturday and spent the afternoon walking from there back home.
Starting from Alderley Edge village, I went up Macclesfield Road before making using of a tempting public footpath and wend my way towards the National Trust land where the escarpment was to be found after a road crossing. If my memory serves me correctly, that took me along an indirect course for some reason lost to me, unless it was my own curiosity that was the cause. From the escarpment, the route taken was more focussed albeit with twists and turns as it took me through Dickens Wood, Waterfall Wood, Clock House Wood, Danielhill Wood and Alder Wood. It comes as a surprise to see every single piece of woodland named on the Ordnance Survey 1:25000 map of the area. After the last of these, it was time to cross fields to get to Hare Hill before continuing to the road along its entrance drive. After that, it was onto Prestbury by a route that I can neither recall nor retrace, but photos help with working out my route from Prestbury to home and that followed the course of the River Bollin as far as Riverside Park. From there, home was just a short stroll away.
April 2015 was to see its share of sunshine and the combination of a sunny Saturday and the need for a stroll was enough motivation for a partial reprise of its autumn predecessor. Another benefit of the pleasant weather is that I have more photos from the day, so reconstructing the full route with most of its deviations becomes an easier exercise. One of those was seen in the route that I took from Alderley Edge village to the escarpment after which it has been called. That saw me cross a field with some ponds in its centre before going through what, I think, is Windmill Wood. After that, it was a repeat of the route followed the previous time.
From Hare Hill, the route to Prestbury differed and it may have zigzagged around the countryside too. From Chelford Road, it headed north and crossed a minor road before reaching the A538. After following that thoroughfare for a while, I was glad to leave it near Legh Hall to rejoin the North Cheshire Way for a short stretch for the road was not as friendly for walkers as I might have liked. At this point, I started to retrace steps taken on those hikes home from work as I passed both Woodend Farm and Spittle House to reach the River Bollin and the Bollin Valley Way. Both would be followed much of the way home.
My reaching Prestbury saw me potter away from the Bollin to visit its pleasant parish church and pass through its churchyard to reach another public footpath that would take me back towards the Bollin again. Macclesfield was not far away and I was well within surroundings where I have walked so often that there was no need to consult any map.
Longhorn cattle are kept in the fields by the Bollin between Prestbury and Macclesfield every summer to keep the grass down in a more natural way. Cheshire East Council rangers might rather that dog walkers kept their pets on a leash during this time, but there never is any sign of that.
Currently, there is a consultation on the use of Public Spaces Protection Orders to deal with those who do not control their dogs as well as they should or clean up after them. For the latter, something is badly needed but nothing takes any effect unless there is actual enforcement. Also, one wonders what effect it might have on those who leave their dogs to run loose in Riverside Park for exercise. For one thing, it hardly seems appropriate for fields with cattle regardless of how docile they appear to be.
The final stretch of my way home took me somewhere that I have visited countless times and seeing flowers in West Park on a sunny evening like this possibly was the lure as it has been all those times and more have followed since then. Places like this are cathartic when life needs them and it is good to string a number of them together to make longer walks.
Bus travel using service 130 between Macclesfield and Alderley Edge.
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