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Bollington isn't big but it's bubbling with life and activity

PUBLISHED: 13:56 05 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:50 20 February 2013

Bollington Cross

Bollington Cross

Bollington isn't big but it's bubbling with life and activity, thanks to a strong community spirit. Words by Polly Berkeley PAINTINGS BY GORDON WILKINSON

Bollington hasnt a cheese. Bollington hasnt a wine. Its not as big as Macclesfield. Its smaller than Ashton-under-Lyne, is how one old folk song described this small Cheshire town with a big history.

For this sought-after location was once a powerhouse of the cotton industry and the legacy of the past is everywhere in its waterways and warehouses.

It is also home to the curious landmark White Nancy an 18ft high Grade II dome-type construction on the top of Kerridge Hill overlooking the town. White Nancy was actually built as a summer house by the Gaskell family, who lived below the hill at Ingersley Hall, in about 1815 but it is also said to commemorate the Napoleonic Wars.

Bollington is affectionately known by the locals as Happy Valley and it is situated on the very edge of the Peak District. Its a traditional stone-built mill town and apparently the only stone-built community in Cheshire.

The towns narrow streets and glimpses of the surrounding hills make this a very attractive place to live, although it has an important historical past as a centre for cotton weaving and there are still the relics of old mills around to remind the latter-day Bollingtonians that its existence owes much to the hard work of their ancestors.

Clarence Mill, which with the now demolished Waterhouse Mill spun cotton so fine that it was sought after by lace-makers from Nottingham to Brussels, is now a luxury apartment complex. Another smaller mill on Queen Street is also restored for residential use and the waterways via which cotton was transported are now dotted with colourful barges. Its a lovely place for an autumnal stroll.

Bollington even has something in common with the Olympics, albeit on a much smaller scale! The Bollington festival is held every four years the next will be in 2014 and is an expression of the real community spirit in
the town.

For visitors who come to Bollington there are the pleasures of hiking, cycling and riding through the hills and along the canal. And boats can be hired for day-trips and holidays at Grimshaw Lane canal wharf.

Gordon Wilkinsons original watercolour paintings on this feature are for sale. Contact Gordon on 01244 531785 or email him at watercolours@gordonwilkinson.com. More of his work - including other paintings he created for Cheshire Life - can be viewed at www.gordonwilkinson.com.

Pool Bank car park has 71 parking spaces, Civic Hall car park has 20 spaces, Adlington Road car park has 20 spaces.

Where is it?
Bollington lies to the east of Prestbury and is situated on the River Dean and the Macclesfield Canal on the south-western edge of the Peak District.

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