Distance: 10km/6.5 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
Start: Trentabank car park, Macclesfield Forest. This is a pay and display car park. Three parking spaces reserved for disabled people close to toilets.
Map: OS Explorer 268 & Outdoor Leisure 24 (White Peak Area)
Terrain: Mainly public rights of way with some country lanes. A steady, fairly steep climb up to Shutlingsloe followed by a steep descent, then mostly level. There is a short, stone-surfaced track suitable for wheelchair users opposite the car park entrance which provides a good viewpoint of the reservoir and its birdlife, including the heronry.
Barriers: 8 stiles, 2 kissing gates, 5 wicket gates
Toilets: Trentabank car park; includes accessible toilet with RADAR key access.
Starting at Trentabank car park in Macclesfield Forest, follow a circular route over Shutlingsloe, Wildboarclough and Oaken Clough back to Trentabank car park.
Stone walls, old barns and upland meadows dotted with harebells set the scene for this taste of Cheshire’s hill country. Rising sharply above the plain, this is a wild, upland landscape, carved from gritstone and grazed by sturdy sheep.
The walk begins in the heart of Macclesfield Forest which was once part of a royal hunting ground. Today it is home to a herd of red deer, as well as badgers, foxes and smaller mammals. Conifer seeds provide a welcome feast for many small birds including tits, siskins and crossbills.
Leaving the shelter of the trees, the well paved route climbs steadily to the summit of Shutlingsloe which at 506 metres is the second highest peak in the county. Known locally as the Matterhorn of Cheshire, it is a distinctive landmark throughout much of the east of the county. Views from the top are spectacular, with Cheshire to the west and the rolling hills of the Peak District National Park to the east.
The walk drops down from the windy summit into the shelter of Wildboarclough. From here, the path hugs the side of the hill, offering easy walking and a chance to enjoy the walled landscape across the valley. A gentle climb through Oaken Clough is rewarded with views over Macclesfield, before dropping down to the Hanging Gate Inn and following the road back to the forest.
Full Address: Trentabank Car Park , Macclefield Forest , Macclesfield , Cheshire , SK11 0NE