Cheshire walk - Over Alderley
- Credit: Archant
This month’s walk takes Howard Bradbury to Alderley Edge, but by a route which avoids the madding crowds
Who doesn’t love the Edge? Those panoramic views, that ruddy sandstone, weathered by the elements and the feet of a million visitors, the enticing spookiness lent to this spot by centuries-old myths of wizards.
It’s such a special place that, unfortunately, you will seldom have it all to yourself. But you can at least approach that honeypot viewing point by a path less travelled than that from the National Trust car park. So that’s the challenge in this month’s walk: enjoy the Edge, but with a side order of solitude.
We start to the south east of the Edge in Over Alderley, going through farmland and woodland before climbing up to the Edge (it’s not too strenuous a climb, don’t worry).
After enjoying those views over the Cheshire Plain in the company of our fellow man, woman, child and dog, we head south, into more woodland before zig-zagging back to Over Alderley with barely a foot on Tarmac, apart from a stretch of the very pretty Artists Lane.
You may want to combine this walk with a visit to Hare Hill in Over Alderley. It’s a National Trust property with a walled garden and a woodland garden which is particularly rich in rhododendrons.
1. Our walk begins in Prestbury Road, Over Alderley, postcode SK10 4SG. If you are driving from Alderley Edge to Macclesfield on the B5087, you pass the Wizard Inn, you soon see a Reduce Speed Now sign, after which the road bends to the right. Just before the bend, take the left turn downhill which is Prestbury Road. Just before a right hand bend in the road, you will see a lane to the left, marked as a private road, with a noticeboard saying Parish Paths Partnerhip and signs for Adders Moss Farm and Hill Top Farm. Parking is going to be informal here.
Set off walking down that private road. You will go through a wooden gate beside an automatic gate across the lane. At a right hand bend, resist the temptation of a footpath to the left and stick with the lane until you reach Hill Top Farm.
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2. Just after the lane turns to grass, bear left and then quickly right through a slim wooden gate, downhill a few yards then climbing steps to the left. You are now on a path with expansive views to right. At a junction, bear right, downhill on a bridle path which, at the bottom of the hill was extremely muddy on my visit. Keep ahead and the path rises, weaves through woods and down steps to a small stream with rocky outcrops. Cross the stream at the stepping stones then head uphill until you come across a very well-defined path which, if you follow it to your right, brings you to a viewing point with a bench. Take the path which goes off to the left of the viewpoint, downhill, and and keep on this path until you come, soon after, to Alderley Edge’s most popular viewing point, with all that exposed sandstone.
3. After enjoying the view, bear left from the path on which you arrived, heading back towards the main road (just follow the sound of the traffic) and you will emerge onto the B5087 at a lay-by often used by walkers (The Wizard is not far away, to your left). Cross over the road and into woods signalled by a large National Trust sign. There was a distinct lack of yellow footpath markers on my visit, but keep going downhill by the best-defined paths and you should come after several minutes’ walk to a large sandy clearing. Skirt the left hand edge of this and you reach a wide track where you head left, downhill until you reach Artists Lane. Turn left and head up the lane.
4. Just as you catch sight of a white cottage on the B5087, take the bridle path to the right. This emerges at the main road just opposite the national Trust car park. Cross the road, go across the car park and through a gate onto a footpath crossing a field. Through the gate at the other end of the field, urn right onto a bridle path, then two or three minutes later go right into a footpath between two fences, signposted to Hare Hill Garden. You reach a lane to a farm; turn right down the lane then a few yards later go right along a footpath. This emerges at a driveway. Bear right then immediately left along a grassy path beside a wooden fence.
5. Just before you reach the main road yet again, bear left through a gate marked Adders Moss. You pass the house and stables and, just when you are wondering if you may have strayed onto private property, there is a stile and a footpath sign to the left. Follow this path, and when you come to a house on the left, go towards a stile onto the driveway. Cross over and follow the footpath straight across the next field. Over the next stile and you are back on the private road where you began the walk. Bear right to reach the starting point.
Area of Walk: Over Alderley and Alderley Edge
Distance: 4½ miles
Time to allow: Two hours
Map: OS Explorer 268
Refreshments: The Wizard, Macclesfield Road, Nether Alderley SK10 4UB; endless choice of other eateries down the hill in Alderley Edge.