A pleasant ramble on the Middlewood Way, across fields and along the towpath of the Macclesfield Canal. Part of the walk, crossing from the Middlewood Way to the Canal can be muddy.
The route soon joins the Middlewood Way, which was formerly a railway line. Called the Macclesfield-Bollington-Marple Railway it opened in 1869 and closed in 1970. The bridges along the line were strengthened using box like frames of old rails. After closure the line was derelict until the early 1980’s when the route was landscaped and became the Middlewood Way which is nearly 11 miles long.
Both the former railway, and the Macclesfield Canal were built by gangs of navvies. Each navvy had a daily allowance of one gallon of beer and 2lbs of meat. Working on a ‘piece rate’ system (payment by results), they were each expected to shovel 20 tons per day. That is about 200 barrow loads daily!
The Canal forms part of the 97 mile Cheshire Ring reaching Kidsgrove in the south, Preston Brook near Warrington in the west and Manchester City Centre in the north. The whole Ring has a towpath and is open to walkers. Bridge number 14 was designed as an ‘adjustable bridge’, the parapet can be taken off and the stone lifted in the event of subsidence.
Full Address: Nelson Pit Visitor Centre , Higher Poynton , Cheshire , SK12 1TH