Cheshire walk - Sutton, Macclesfield

Sutton Reservoir.

Sutton Reservoir. - Credit: Archant

We’re off to Sutton, Macclesfield, for a walk which combines lovely countryside with history, culture and a good meal

Sutton Hall

Sutton Hall - Credit: Archant

It’s the custom of this monthly feature to recommend not just a walk but also a place for weary walkers to slake their thirst. I’d urge you to follow that recommendation this month, because Sutton Hall is not just a fine, characterful pub restaurant, it’s also a place reeking of history.

Sutton Hall itself dates back to the 16th century, though there was a medieval manor house on the same spot before that. The hall’s first claim to fame is as the birthplace of Raphael Holinshed, the 16th century scholar whose historical chronicles were used as source material by Shakespeare in several of his plays. Holinshead moved from sleepy Sutton Lane Ends to London to work for Reginald Wolfe, who was attempting to write a history of the world. After Wolfe’s death in 1573, Holinshed continued the work, publishing, with the help of others, his Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1577, when the Bard was a callow youth of 13.

Sutton Hall’s other claim to fame is that it later became part of the estate of the Earls of Lucan, a family which included not only the 3rd Earl - whose dubious place in military history was as the man who ordered the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade - but also the 7th Earl, who disappeared in 1974, suspected of murdering his family’s nanny in London’s Belgravia.

These days, Sutton Hall is part of a happier dynasty: the Brunning & Price restaurant group.

Memorial to wildlife artist Charles Tunnicliffe near his childhood home

Memorial to wildlife artist Charles Tunnicliffe near his childhood home - Credit: Archant

Another point of interest on this walk: you will pass by the childhood home of wildlife artist Charles Tunnicliffe, whose lifelong passion for nature was fostered hereabouts. Tunnicliffe spent the last 32 years of his life living at Malltraeth, Anglesey, and his work is on permanent display at the island’s gallery, Oriel Ynys Mon.


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1. If you are combining this walk with a meal at Sutton Hall, then start from the pub car park off Bullocks Lane, postcode SK11 0HE. If not, then there is some parking in a small lay by just before the canal bridge on Bullocks Lane, within just a few yards of the pub’s drive.

From Sutton Hall, head back up the entrance drive to Bullocks Lane and turn left along the lane, taking the first turn on the left just a few yards later down a tarmac lane. After passing a white house on your right you will see a footpath ahead of you into a field. Head right, across the field, which may have cattle in, but after passing a large tree stump in the centre, bear left, so that the tall metal fence is on your right. When you reach the top corner of the field, cross the stile and bear right beside a stream on a path which soon emerges on Hall Lane.

Bridge on the path to Leek Old Road

Bridge on the path to Leek Old Road - Credit: Archant

2. Go right up the lane, passing through the village of Sutton, with its war memorial and plaque to Charles Tunnicliffe on the right. After passing the Sutton Gamekeeper pub on your left, bear right up Symondley Road, and follow it to the top. There you find a wooden gate, through which you follow the path across the field, running beside a fence. Through a metal kissing gate, go across the next field. Reaching a stream, go right through a metal kissing gate and straight ahead with the stream on your left. At the stone bridge, cross over the stream and take the path immediately on your right, putting you along the left bank of the same stream. The path goes into a little wooded area, across a footbridge and brings you to Leek Old Road.

3. Cross the road and take the path just a few yards up on the left, keeping ahead with Sutton Reservoir to your right. Reaching the gate at the end of the reservoir, don’t head along the dam to the right, but instead follow the direction of the footpath sign down the steep embankment ahead of you to a footbridge over a little stream. Cross here and the path beside the stream soon brings you to London Road. Cross over and just a few yards on the left is the footbridge over the canal. On the other side of the canal, turn left.

Old milestrone beside the canal

Old milestrone beside the canal - Credit: Archant

4It’s impossible to lose your way now. Keep going along the towpath, with the canal on your right, for quite some time, enjoying views of the Peak District which open up along the way. Keep an eye on the bridge numbers and just after passing beneath bridge 44, take the path off the canal. This brings you on to Bullocks Lane near the small lay-by on your right and the drive to Sutton Hall on your left.

Compass Points

Area of Walk: Sutton, Macclesfield

The view from bridge 44

The view from bridge 44 - Credit: Archant

Distance: 4 miles

Time to allow: under 2 hours

Map: OS Explorer 268

Refreshments: Sutton Hall, Bullocks Lane, Sutton, Macclesfield SK11 0HE; The Sutton Gamekeeper, 13 Hollin Lane, Sutton Lane Ends, Macclesfield SK11 0HL

War memorial for the men of Sutton

War memorial for the men of Sutton - Credit: not Archant

View along the canal walk way

View along the canal walk way - Credit: not Archant