Distance: 12.8 km/8 miles
Time: About 3½ hours
Start: Nelson Pit Visitor Centre
Map: OS Explorer 268
Terrain: Easy – muddy in parts
Toilets: Available 364 days a year between 10.00am and 4.00pm at the Start and End of the route.
The first part of two walks making the Middlewood Challenge, a 20-mile walk in the figure of eight. The second section of the Challenge is Walk 10 which is about 12 miles long and takes around 5 hours to walk. Total walking time for both parts is around 8½ hours.
The route soon joins the Middlewood Way which is nearly 11 miles long and was originally the Macclesfield-Bollington-Marple railway line. It opened in 1869 and closed 101 years later in 1970.
It then passes Jackson’s Brickworks which opened in 1924. By 1974 the factory was producing 180,000 bricks per week. After closure in 1979 the site remained derelict until 1996 when the local council developed the brickworks into a conservation area. The site in noted for greater crested newts and its unimproved grassland habitat.
You will follow the Macclesfield canal which dates from 1831 and cost £320,000 to construct. The famous, self-taught architect Thomas Telford surveyed the route. It runs from Marple to Hall Green, a distance of 26¼ miles and is level at 518’ above sea level for 16 miles. The Macclesfield canal forms part of the 97 mile Cheshire Ring reaching Kidsgrove in the south to 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.
Other points of interest include the location of the old Middlewood Upper station. This closed in 1970 and the Lower station is on the Manchester to Buxton line. Neither the Upper nor Lower station has road access. The area was popular in the 1950s when there were teahouses in the local woods.
Full Address: Nelson Pit Visitor Centre , Higher Poynton , Cheshire , SK12 1TH