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What is The Golden Triangle in the county of Cheshire?

Golden Triangle illustration . Cathy Mulhern
Golden Triangle illustration . Cathy Mulhern

While the golden triangle tag may add an extra shimmer to the towns and villages of North East Cheshire, there’s much more to Wilmslow, Prestbury and Alderley Edge for both residents and visitors to enjoy.

It’s a popular area to live, work and enjoy exceptional leisure facilities, and local people emphasise the community feel behind the glamorous façade.

Terry Lumb, manager of the Legh Arms pub and restaurant in Prestbury, says: 'From the outside, people may think it's all about Premier League footballers and their families, and they do live a good, quiet life here, but that’s just one small part of the mix that makes this a fantastic village.'

Long-standing Wilmslow resident Lisa Wood agrees: 'There’s a strong sense of community. One example is the Wilmslow United Reformed Church, which offers a wide range of activities for everyone, a community café, and a safe space for young people to meet after school, providing free to access mental health support and well-being services.'

Great British Life: Martin Lowe and Cal Gregg-Williams of Suburban Green. (c) Nigel HowleMartin Lowe and Cal Gregg-Williams of Suburban Green. (c) Nigel Howle

Wilmslow has a vibrant town centre and Cal Gregg-Williams, co-owner of Suburban Green on Hawthorn Lane, says the variety of places to enjoy a coffee, lunch, or an evening meal, has grown in recent times.

Cal opened Suburban Green with business partner Martin Lowe in 2017, spotting a gap in the market for a place to eat or drink in relaxed, high-quality surroundings.

He says there’s now much more on offer, name-checking venues including Wood Fire Smoke, the independent pizzeria in Water Lane, and the Grove, on Grove Street.

Cal also credits a major revamp of the iconic Rex Cinema as a significant factor in the creation of a booming night-time economy.

Great British Life: The family-owned Rex cinema in Wilmslow. (c) Nigel HowleThe family-owned Rex cinema in Wilmslow. (c) Nigel Howle

Wilmslow has many notable bars and restaurants, including Smoke on Water Lane, Sotto, on Wareham Street, and Hickory’s Smoke House, a short distance from the town centre on Racecourse Road. While those who prefer a more traditional pub can find many well-established hostelries, such as the King William, the Carters Arms, and the Farmers Arms.

Unsurprisingly, the retail experience also excels centred on Hoopers, the famous department store that's home to many leading fashion brands.

And you don't have to go far from the shopping and hospitality to find a good Cheshire country walk. Lisa says: 'Wilmslow had much to offer for anyone who wants to get out and see the most beautiful countryside, with the Carrs parkland extending almost into the town centre. Then there’s Lindow Common, Quarry Bank Mill, the circular trail around Styal and Manchester Airport and Newgate Nature Reserve.'

The Carrs, a 71-acre open space with the River Bollin running through it, feeds into Styal Country Park and the village of Styal. Now a National Trust property, Quarry Bank Mill attracts thousands of visitors each year and is one of the country’s best remaining examples of an 18th-century textile mill.

Great British Life: The chimney at Quarry Bank Mill, one of the earliest cotton mills of the industrial revolution, built in the late 18th century, expanded in subsequent years and in production until the middle of the 20th century. GettyThe chimney at Quarry Bank Mill, one of the earliest cotton mills of the industrial revolution, built in the late 18th century, expanded in subsequent years and in production until the middle of the 20th century. Getty

Lindow Common, on the western edge of Wilmslow, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and neighbours a peat bog known as Lindow Moss. In 1984, the discovery of parts of a human leg, preserved in the Moss, at first led to a police investigation. What had actually been found was part of a 'bog body', preserved by the peat. Archaeologists eventually unearthed a well-preserved body dating from the First Century AD and Lindow Man, sometimes affectionately known as Pete Marsh, became an unlikely celebrity with thousands queueing to see him during an exhibition at Manchester Museum.

Wilmslow is also home to some of the most highly-rated schools in Cheshire, including Wilmslow High School. Well known for its academic and sporting successes, the school was also the meeting place for popular pop-rock band The 1975. The area has excellent football, Rugby Union, cricket and golf clubs and stages a popular half marathon each year.

Of course, the influx of wealth and spending power from rich and famous residents does bring major benefits, and that’s most evident in Alderley Edge with its vibrant London Road main street.

Continental-style café culture means London Road is always alive with activity as residents and visitors flock to a diverse range of bars and restaurants rarely seen outside major city centres.

Popular London Road venues include the Botanist, the Bubble Room, La Cucina, Gusto and Giggling Squid.

The recent addition of San Carlo to the street scene was much anticipated by diners. Housed in premises previously run by celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo, San Carlo offers a contemporary take on traditional Italian dining.

More than £3m was spent preparing the restaurant for its launch in August with interiors inspired by Grand Milanese villas and gardens, creating a space that has, say the owners, 'a captivating ambience and a timeless sophistication.'

Alderley Edge also boasts many traditional pubs and well-established hotels. The Alderley Edge Hotel, situated high above the village on Macclesfield Road, offers contemporary hotel rooms and the Grill on the Hill restaurant.

The village of Alderley lies under the Edge, the popular spot for walkers affording spectacular views and an area shrouded in myth and legend.

Great British Life: Setting off on the Wizard's Wander. (c) Nigel HowleSetting off on the Wizard's Wander. (c) Nigel Howle

Visitors to Alderley Edge can’t fail to notice the many references to Merlin and King Arthur. Since the 19th century, the Edge has been associated with the legend of an army of sleeping soldiers, guarded by Merlin, the Wizard of the Edge. Legend has it that the army would rise up if England was ever invaded.

Walkers can access the Edge from the National Trust car park off Macclesfield Road. There are several routes to follow, and you can see evidence of ancient iron works and visit the Druid circle of stones.

From high up on the Edge, it is easy to see recently developed mansions, many owned by familiar names from the English Premier League.

By the time of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it was said around a third of the England football squad lived in Cheshire, with many having homes in the Golden Triangle, alongside other famous names such as Kevin De Bruyne and Virgil van Dijk.

The charming village of Nether Alderley lies to the north of Alderley Edge. It is well worth visiting to see the Grade 1 Listed St Mary’s Church, parts of which date back to the 14th century, and 16th-century Nether Alderley Mill, now in the ownership of the Natural Trust.

Great British Life: Nether Alderley Mill. (c) Nigel HowleNether Alderley Mill. (c) Nigel Howle

Prestbury, the final point of the Golden Triangle is a world village packed with historic, characterful properties. Here you’ll find chic boutique shops, cafés and restaurants, of a kind normally not seen in a small, rural community.

The centre of the village is a conservation area with several historic buildings including English Heritage Grade 1 Listed St Peter’s, the parish church, which features a chapel dating from Norman times.

The popular Legh Arms pub and restaurant with hotel rooms, is celebrating its 700th anniversary this autumn. Manager Terry Lumb says: 'There’s a real togetherness in Prestbury, it’s a proper village and community where all the businesses help each other. Prestbury has many clubs and societies and, at the Legh Arms, we host several groups including a Probus club, the WI, and a book club.'

Within a short walk, you’ll find a fabulous selection of pubs, restaurants and bars, including The Coast restaurant offering authentic Italian cuisine, Ye Olde Admiral Rodney, the Bridge Hotel and Bacchus restaurant and champagne bar, Lilac Cottage tapas and wine bar, Base Pizzeria, Henry’s Café, and the Foxhole.

Did you know?

Alderley Edge only got its name because of its railway station.

The village was originally known as Chorlegh. Until the 19th century, it was an agricultural area.

Laying down rail tracks between Manchester and Birmingham led to the growth of the town. The railway owners encouraged new homes in the area by offering free season tickets to Manchester business owners who wanted to move from the city.

This led to the establishment of several large homes on the wooded hill known as the Edge, many owned by wealthy cotton mill owners, otherwise known as the Cottentots.

The houses on the Edge and the large expanse of woodland walks were designated as one of the first conservation areas in the North West.

A new name was needed because there was already a railway halt in the village of Chorley, Lancashire, and Alderley was chosen.

The Wizard’s Wander

The National Trust has a series of suggested walks in the area, including the Wizard’s Wander, up to the top of historic Alderley Edge.

Starting from the main car park, near the Wizard Tea Room, take the path into the woods.

It’s a relatively gentle uphill slope leading to an area called the Engine Vein where, around 4,000 years ago, Bronze Age man would have mined copper.

Continue up the hill to the Armada Beacon. Historic England states that the Alderley Edge beacon is a good surviving example of a stone-built beacon platform that formed one of a system of beacons erected throughout England as a response to the threat of invasion during the 16th century. The beacon building fell foul to stormy weather in 1931 but walkers can see a plaque marking the site.

Close by you will see the Druids’ stone circle, a decorative folly dating from the 18th century.

The path emerges from the trees onto the rock of Stormy Point. Close by, you’ll see the evocatively named Devil’s Grave, the mouth of a network of caves.

To return to the National Trust car park, go back down the hill, using a route known as Carriage Drive.

On the way downhill, you can take a detour to an old area of excavations, known as Canyon Mine, and look out for the Goldstone, a large sandstone rock, which features in the ancient legend of the Edge.

From Carriage Drive, you’ll find a farm track that takes you back to your starting point.



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