Distance: 3.2 km/2 miles
Time: 1hr 10mins
Start: Nelson Pit Visitor Centre
Map: OS Explorer 268
This is one of a series of walks from the Nelson Pit Visitor Centre. This is a flat walk along the Macclesfield Canal towpath and Middlewood Way.
Located at the beginning of the walk, Nelson Pit’s shaft was located at the top of the mound facing the Visitor Centre. Adjacent to the shaft was an engine house and chimney. The pit engine lifted a metal cage filled with tubs of coal. At the top it was sorted into coal and ‘slack’, then tipped into horse drawn barges at Mount Vernon Wharf.
The Poynton collieries had 14 horses to pull the barges. Coal from Nelson Pit was distributed locally to Bollington and Marple cotton mills; quarries at Kerridge; and silk mills at Macclesfield.
On the walk you will pass a large lake, called ‘Wide Hole’. This is the result a large subsidence in1888, due to the mining activities around Nelson Pit. Some of milestones along the way had their mileage obliterated or were removed and buried during World War 2 as a precaution against enemy soldiers using them to find their way.
During the 1980’s, the Macclesfield Canal Society restored the milestones along the whole course of the canal. Three were replaced with stone from Kerridge Hill. Towards the end of the route is Poynton Coppice which is classed as an ancient semi-natural wood. This is because, although it has a history of felling it has never been ploughed or used other than as woodland.
Nelson Pit Walks 3 and 5 include routes through the Coppice. It is a delightful wood and worth visiting at any time of the year. Shrigley Road bridge is a home for Pipistrelle bats. They are about 1½-4 inches (3.5-10cm) long. Erratic flyers, they appear in the early evening and sometimes fly about during the day.
Full Address: Nelson Pit Visitor Centre , Higher Poynton , Cheshire , SK12 1TH