Cheshire Walk - Tegg's Nose Country Park and Trentabank Woods

Keith Carter hits the heights on a walk through Tegg's Nose Country Park

Compass points

Area of walk: Mow Cop, South Cheshire

Distance: 6 miles

Time to allow: 3 hours

Map: OS Explorer 268

Refreshments: The Rising Sun at Scholar Green, caf� at Little Moreton Hall 20 mins off route.

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Suitable for wheelchairs/pushchairs: No.

Does anybody know which is the highest point in Cheshire? Those who think its Tegg’s Nose are off the mark and it’s not Shutlingsloe either. That distinction is reserved for Shining Tor (559m, 1834ft) although I would have thought that it’s in the Peak. In any case it is not our objective for this month’s walk which is a circular from Trentabank taking in the climb over Tegg’s Nose (380m,1246ft).

I had never been to this part of East Cheshire before, so on a showery day I coaxed my two cohorts away from their decorating to join me for the walk. We headed for Macclesfield Forest where the flat lands of the Cheshire Plain give way to the hills and valleys of the Peak District. The area is managed rather well by United Utilities whose interest comes from the presence of several reservoirs including Trentabank, Ridgegate and a number of minor satellites originally intended to supply water to the silk mills in the village of Langley.

Tegg’s Nose Country Park is now a Mecca for walkers and mountain bikers but once consisted of a vast quarry producing gritstone for building and later for roadstone, the quality of the stone ideally suited due to its hardness. The story of the hard men whose job it was to hack the stone out of the ground is told in a number of panels set on posts in the old quarry along with some items of the machinery they used, a stone saw frame, a rock crusher and the beam of a huge crane now neatly painted blue. An old photo of a group of quarrymen shows their young faces, none older than their early 20s, grinning at the camera. Breathing in the silica dust day after day shortened their lives dramatically.

We park at the Trentabank Ranger Station where there are toilets and in the summer a snack caravan. �2.50 is enough for the three hours to allow for this walk although I am tending to linger longer these days over lunch and stopping to admire the view or take photos, all part of the pleasure of walking as for as I am concerned.

Leave the car park and go left on a well-made path inside the wall with metal squeezers at intervals to deter bikers. The path crosses a lane and continues around the edge of Ridgegate Reservoir. The lane alongside the reservoir is often lined with parked cars avoiding paying the small charge at the designated car park. This always irritates me. A perfectly good car park is provided only for people to park on the road. All right, that’s enough moaning.

At the far end of Ridgegate Reservoir stands the Leather’s Smithy, a delightful pub. Make a mental note for later on. Turn left at the junction and follow the road downhill to Bottoms Reservoir where we leave the road at a gate on the right with a signpost to Tegg’s Nose.

Follow the path that crosses the dam and on the far side a footbridge takes us over the outfall to lead up steps to a gate and a junction of paths. At this point we join the Gritstone Trail, the 56-mile trail that links Disley near Stockport with Kidsgrove, an excellent longer walk well worth considering.

You could do it in four days. A track crosses the dam of Tegg’s Nose Reservoir and enters the Country Park to the left and climbing up on steps to start the steep climb to the lesser peak of Wat’s Knot. This started one of those pointless exchanges reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy films, something like:

‘What’s this?’‘Wat’s Knot.’‘Not what?’‘Wat’s Knot.’‘Is it not?’‘Yes, it is.’‘Is what?’‘Wat’s Knot.’‘Why I oughta…’

And so on. As we bickered our way up this knoll it came on to hail and we zipped up our waterproofs, the temperature dropping sharply. Reaching a gate, we turn right on a surfaced path, the heather and bilberry-clad slopes of the summit mound to our left.

If we stay on this path it curves round to the left and a gate leads to the cliff edge. You can climb to the top of the mound to an observationpoint facing west, a fabulous view.

The main path heads for the boom of the blue painted crane and passes the top of a climbing wall with tubular bars fixed in the ground for tying off top ropes for the climbers. The path comes down off the mountain and at a gate we turn right on the Tegg’s Nose Trail, a broad track that joins the road at the visitor centre where there are toilets but no refreshments.

We sheltered from the rain here, the only table occupied by a boisterous group from Stockport. On leaving, the rain had begun to clear and we enjoyed the wide view to Shutlingsloe, the famed Cheshire Matterhorn.

A signpost indicates Saddler’s Way, an excellent paved downhill path that meets a lane where we turn right. Where three ways meet take the right hand option, signs reminding us we’re still on the Tegg’s Nose Trail. We cross Walker Barn Stream by stepping stones and continue alongside a wooded ravine that opens out to Tegg’s Nose Reservoir which we passedearlier in the walk.

We meet our outward route here and return by the way we came. From this point it is a mile from the car. We sampled the fare at the Leather’s Smithy. You note I don’t say we called in for a pint. This is because of a comment I received that not everyone shares my fondness for the amber liquid and would I kindly refer not to ‘a pint’ but to ‘a drink’, so drink it is, whether soft, hard or hot, you takes your choice.

I was greatly taken by this area, what they aptly call Cheshire’s Hill Country. The name Tegg’s Nose by the way derives from a country word‘teg’ meaning a sheep in its second year. It must have once had the profile of a sheep before they started digging out the hillside, altering its shape. I don’t mind what it looks like, it goes on my list of really good walks.