Saturday, 6 July 2019
Friday, 7 June 2019
|As usual, click on any image for a better resolution version and slideshow|
John was there in plenty of time to grab a pre walk drink at the Ship Inn (pictured above), whilst the rest of us accumulated outside the nearby Book Exchange.
There’s an excellent Community Café – Earlam’s - which we visited on . If you are passing here during the opening hours, it’s a good watering hole.
We departed promptly (as always) at 7.30, with Chris well camouflaged in a pretence that he wasn’t actually the leader of this walk. We made our way along the broad path to Quarry Bank and the River Bollin.
A lovely walk along the tree lined valley was interspersed with a few ups and downs, the last of which occurred after crossing Giants Castle Bridge, from where the next picture was taken.
On the way to the main A538 road, we passed this relatively recently fallen tree. It wasn’t clear exactly where it had fallen from, as a well worn path crossed the area where we would have expected to find a hole from the uprooted monster.
It’s always good to cover what should be familiar ground using someone else’s route. Whilst I normally walk alongside the A538 for a few metres and take field paths through Morley, Chris took a path directly across the main road, soon after which there’s a good footpath through the field shown below.
Chris’s route then re-joins the main road after walking up a quiet lane before Morley. Then its an easy stroll past the now defunct and dilapidated Bank House Farm, to Quarry Bank Mill.
Next to the mill is Quarry Bank House, where the owner, Samuel Greg, and his family lived in the early 19th century.
There’s lots more information and elsewhere.
A few minutes beyond the mill, the village of Styal was reached, where most of the walkers offered the Ship Inn a good burst of custom.
Here’s the route – 7 km with about 100 metres ascent, taking us an hour and three quarters.
Friday, 22 June 2018
Mid summer. Historically the time for an ambitious evening walk to the summit of Coniston Old Man or some similar spot before returning to work the following day. But that’s in the distant past, before the days of this blog, though it would have been great tonight. Perhaps we should aim to do that next year.
Anyway, Andrew had rushed back from holiday to a mountain of emails and a promise to lead us on an evening walk from The Ship in Styal.
A lovely sunny evening, with no clouds - so no spectacular sunset, starting through pleasant fields. There were no unforeseen obstacles on tonight’s route.
We skirted the runway for a while. Quite a noisy place. There are some houses here, on a gated road. They must have triple glazing! It didn’t bother the goldfinches though.
Progressing towards Morley, we found a field in which we’ve previously encountered head high crops. The farmer has kindly provided a path through the present crop, but it’ll be very wet after rain, and interesting if it grows to head height!
In normal conditions the path through Bank House Farm can be diabolically muddy, with lots of sad looking livestock in evidence. Today the farm is boarded up and the livestock has gone. The ground is solid – not surprising given the recent lack of rain. The path beyond the farm leading down to Styal Mill was delightful.
The walk drew to a close after we passed Styal Mill, Quarry Bank House where the owners lived, and the Apprentice House.
Styal village had been heaving with people earlier, due to a cricket match, a beer festival, and hordes of scouts. Only the scouts remained in evidence when we returned, though the place was still full of cars.
Here’s our route – 7.6 km, with minimal ascent. It took us a couple of hours, after which we adjourned to The Ship for some midsummer Prosecco etc.
Thanks go to Andrew for organising this pleasant stroll, during which England thrashed Australia at one-day cricket, and Croatia thrashed Argentina at football in the World Cup.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Today’s victims were JJ, Graham B, and Sue and John B who had returned for another outing after enjoying the last one from Irlam. We started from the small car park at Lindow Common (SJ 833 814) and took a country line past Morley Green towards Oak Farm. Some dampish conditions were encountered. Sue’s olfactory sensors correctly informed her that this was not exactly ‘mud’. Ankle deep in slurry, John B was heard to mutter “the wife’ll kill me!”.
Once past the above obstacle I managed to take the next photo before JJ snatched it for his next ‘road kill pie’.
We came upon this useful sign directing us along the Bollin Valley Way footpath.
We marched off, in accordance with the sign, along Dooley’s Lane, which becomes a narrow track, to the right of JJ and Graham in the following picture. An irate couple harangued us, demanding that we walk on the ‘footpath’, rather than the track, which they claimed was their garden. JJ had encountered them before. An unpleasant pair who spend their days shouting at walkers who deign to use the (public?) track that leads to Shadygrove Cottage. We obliged by not walking on ‘their’ track, though I suspect we had every right to walk along it, and we will next time.
The field paths led inexorably to the magnificent tunnel that guides the River Bollin under Manchester Airport’s second runway. A self-timed photo was attempted, but the lighting unfortunately left us as a silhouette. We forgot to take another picture, so this adjusted version is the best I can manage of today’s motley crew.
It was drizzling outside so we enjoyed a cake break admiring stalactites in the shelter of the tunnel.
We then headed across Altrincham Road and into Styal Woods. Prior to Hurricane Ophelia this Giant Redwood tree stood 300 metres high, towering over the woods. Despite its 50 foot girth, it may not have survived the storm, so this photo may be a collector’s item. (Offers on a postcard, please.)
After a while, steps led down to Giant’s Castle Bridge (perhaps named after the giant tree above??!)
The River Bollin meanders quietly over a weir just here. This view from the bridge before the hurricane may now have completely changed…
Soon, Sue snatched the camera and ran ahead to take the following two photos before JJ could bag the subject matter for his pie.
“Hang on JJ, you missed these beauties".
Sadly there has been an outbreak of an infectious plant disease, Phytophthora ramorum, in the woods, leading to the need to fell all the larch trees rather than leave them to the mercies of Phytophthora and Ophelia. The area of devastation, not fully reflected in the picture below, will be allowed to regenerate naturally. Expect willowherbs to dominate the scene for a while.
The gardens at Quarry Bank Mill were closed, so we took the high path to join the entrance drive near the new entrance building that wasn’t there last time we visited in March.
A quick coffee all round in the café at the mill provided a short break before the walk beside the Bollin to Twinnies Bridge, then up the hill to the car park at Lindow Common.
An enjoyable and very jolly outing despite a bit of drizzle and slurry – here’s the route – 10.8 km, 120 metres ascent, taking 3 hours including breaks.
Friday, 31 March 2017
Helen’s treat for the day was a visit to Styal Mill, the history of which – dating from the late 18th Century, can be found here.
We first visited the Apprentice House, where a well informed lady called Jenny gave us a conducted tour of the building in which about 90 children at any one time (60 girls and 30 boys) spent up to ten years of their lives working as apprentices in the mill – 12 hours a day for 6 days a week. The much worse alternative was the workhouse.
It was unusual in those times for a doctor to be available, but Samuel Greg’s mill employed one. His medicine chest may have included some of the items displayed below.
Fresh vegetables were available from the garden, but porridge featured heavily in the children’s diets. The spoon is standing up for a reason – the porridge is solid and could be cut into chunks for the apprentices to eat on their way to work – it was more than poor form to be late for that.
The National Trust, aided by volunteers and charitable donations, are slowly making big improvements and extending the area available to visitors. We hadn’t been in the gardens before. They are very much ‘work-in-progress’, but at least the glass houses have been renovated and the gardens are open to the public.
Here, Sue and Helen explore the greenhouse on the left of the above picture.
The gardens are not all as bare as the top garden shown above!
From the bottom of the gardens the owner’s house provides a backdrop to the River Bollin. Following renovations, that house should soon be open to the public.
Here’s a view of the mill from the lower gardens.
And here’s the classic view of the mill, beside the River Bollin, whose waters provide the power. The waterwheel has been renovated and is now the most powerful working waterwheel in Europe. Its width and its diameter are both in the order of 7 metres. It’s massive!
After lunch we did the full tour of the mill, but I took no further pictures.
If you haven’t been recently, it’s a good day out.