6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Cheshire Life today click here

Cheshire walk - North Rode and Gawsworth

PUBLISHED: 19:35 12 February 2017 | UPDATED: 19:35 12 February 2017

The overflow at the lake at North Rode Manor

The overflow at the lake at North Rode Manor

not Archant

We head for the much-hymned delights of Gawsworth on this month’s walk, writes Howard Bradbury, but we start with the less-feted charms of North Rode.

Statue of Robert PeelStatue of Robert Peel

I love the description of North Rode as a place where ‘nothing ever happens but there is always something going on’.

That phrase - which I found in a short history of North Rode written by Anne Lever, available in St Michael’s Church - could no doubt be applied to village life anywhere in Britain. North Rode may have done little to trouble the history books (a summary mention in the Domesday Book aside) but that does not make its centuries of quiet endeavour and community any less fascinating.

The name of North Rode means ‘clearing in the forest’ - the Macclesfield Forest which was a royal hunting ground, that is - and wolves would have roamed here until the 14th century.

The fate of villages so often turn on the involvement of one family, and in North Rode’s case, that family was the Daintrys. The banking family built the present manor house in 1838 (two previous manor houses had succumbed to fire), built St Michael’s Church in 1845 (its architects Charles and James Trubshaw also designed, respectively, the Midland Hotel in Manchester and the Grosvenor Bridge in Chester), and built a school.

View over ponds at Gawsworth towards St James the Great ChurchView over ponds at Gawsworth towards St James the Great Church

In the mid-19th century North Rode had its own shoemaker, wheelwright, blacksmith, undertaker, joiner, tailor, miller and clogger. It is not quite so self-sufficient these days, but Anne Lever’s history assures us that the village - with its combination of incomers and long-established farming families - is still very community-minded.

The Walk

1. There is parking in the lay-by on Bullgate Lane at Bosley Top Lock (postcode for your sat nav is SK11 0PP). From here, walk in a westerly direction along Bullgate Lane (the top lock and canalside facilities will be on your right as you walk down the lane). Cross the railway bridge and instead of following the road when it veers right, carry straight on along the drive to North Rode Manor. You pass by a lake with an intriguing ‘plug hole’ overflow which put me in mind of the famous Cup and Sauce waterfall at the Erddig stately home near Wrexham.

The canal near Bosley Top LockThe canal near Bosley Top Lock

2. Just before you get to a cattle grid, take the footpath to the left, heading for the top left corner of the field, near a farm. Cross the stile and go just a few yards along the lane before turning sharp right and crossing a cattle grid to follow a concrete road through a field. If you would like to take a detour to look at the village of North Rode, then, instead of taking that sharp right, carry straight on and you soon arrive at the church.

3. Continue on that concrete road until a fork where you keep left, cross a cattle grid beside the farm and go straight ahead, across a stile beside a metal gate and straight across a field towards trees where you join a field track, cross another stile and continue on the track until it reaches a lane. Go right up the lane and at a T junction go straight ahead through a metal kissing gate. You will be crossing several fields now and the footpath is clearly marked. Along the way, you will pass a large wind turbine in a field and the tower of St James the Great Church in Gawsworth will come into view.

St Michael's Church, North RodeSt Michael's Church, North Rode

4. When the path arrives at a series of fishing ponds, go left beside two of the ponds and then go right, following the footpath between the second and third ponds, heading up a grassy slope, over a stile and on along the left edge of a field towards the church. The path emerges at a road. A very short walk to the left is the Harrington Arms - highly recommended as a refreshment stop. But our walk continues by turning right up the lane. You will be passing through a scene which, to many, is the very quintessence of the county. As Pevsner’s The Buildings of England says: ‘There is nothing in Cheshire to compare with the loveliness of Gawsworth: three great houses and a distinguished church set around a descending string of pools, all within an enigmatic large-scale formal landscape.’

5. Keep on the lane, enjoying all that loveliness, past the church, the pools and the hall off to the right, and when the road turns to the left, go right towards the hall entrance. Continue on past the entrance, past the statue of Robert Peel, with Gawsworth Fisheries on your left and on to a metal kissing gate into a huge field. You head straight along the left hand edge of several fields now, and you are likely to encounter some very muddy bits along the way.

The Harrington Arms, GawsworthThe Harrington Arms, Gawsworth

6. Eventually the path emerges onto a lane. Bear right, past Mount Farm, over the railway bridge, and look for a footpath sign on the left. Head down this track to a farm yard where you go right, through a gate, left down the field for a few yards and then left through another metal gate and down a field, heading towards a house. There is an earth bridge over a stream and a metal gate which takes you up steps to the canal. Turn right along the towpath and it’s a couple of miles back to Bosley Top Lock.

Area of Walk: North Rode and Gawsworth

Distance: 6½ miles

Time to allow: 3 hours

Hazards: Muddy patches likely. You may encounter cattle, but, these days, no wolves.

Map: OS Explorer 268

Refreshments: Harrington Arms, Church Lane, Gawsworth SK11 9RJ.

More from Out & About

Wed, 00:00

Pretty waterways, breathtaking views and even some stately homes. Cheshire has plenty for the keen walker in spring.

Read more
Wed, 00:00

Geoff Garnett rounds up the golfing news in and around Cheshire.

Read more
Mon, 10:44

How well do you know the Cheshire? Test your knowledge in this picture based quiz

Read more
Friday, March 17, 2017

Manchester is one of the UK’s busiest tourist destinations. It’s just perfect for family outings, particularly if you’re looking for an exciting day out without spending a single penny. Lucy Matthews selects some free places to explore.

Read more
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tarporley is a picturesque Cheshire village that has so much to offer for your perfect day out so we’ve put together a short guide with some of our favourite places and top tips.

Read more
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

From a multi-million cultural development to a great day at the races, there is always something happening in Chester, as Rebekka O’Grady discovers.

Read more
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nantwich is ancient, and has historic buildings attracting visitors daily. But it never stops evolving, writes Martin Pilkington

Read more
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Get out and about in the city with our best picks.

Read more
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Take in the delights of Thornton Hough on this month’s easy rural ramble, writes Howard Bradbury.

Read more
Monday, March 6, 2017

Floods look set to become an increasingly frequent problem so what do we do when the water starts to rise beneath our feet? Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Katie Piercy has some suggestions.

Read more
Cheshire Wildlife
Monday, March 6, 2017

Sam Ecroyd has always been mad about horses and now this young three-day eventer is living his dream. Martin Pilkington went to meet him at his family’s farm.

Read more
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Geoff Garnett rounds up the golfing news in and around Cheshire.

Read more
Monday, February 27, 2017

Hoole scooped a major prize in the Great British High Street Awards. Janet Reeder finds out why

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Cheshire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Cheshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search