Bucolic Bowdon a leafy village near Altrincham
PUBLISHED: 10:11 20 March 2012 | UPDATED: 12:09 28 February 2013
'Leafy' is the epithet most commonly applied to Bowdon, near Altrincham, and certainly, the first impressions are bucolic WORDS BY POLLY BERKELEY PAINTINGS BY GORDON WILKINSON
The central focal points of Bowdon are the parish church of St Mary, the areas picturesque black and white village houses and a sense of calm in the air.
It is those large handsome properties set back from tree-lined avenues that make a striking impression to those who visit.
The area has always been an attractive place to live and during the 1840s it became a commuter route to Manchester when the railway station opened and local landowners began selling off parcels of land.
Its clean air and tranquillity- which is still very much part of the attraction for the 8,806 people who live here - drew the Merchant Princes of the big city who built the large houses on Green Walk, which still characterise the area today. By 1878, Bowdon had been described as studded with handsome villas and mansions and 60% of the residents were affluent business owners.
Named along with Dunham Massey in the Domesday Book, Bowdon, whose name is taken from the Anglo Saxon Boga-dn meaning bow hill or curved hill, was cited as having a church and a mill. The current place of worship St Marys the Virgin celebrated its 150th anniversary.
It has another church in the parish, St Lukes which offers locals a more intimate style of worship and congregational activity. Other notable places in Bowdon are the Altrincham Dunham boundary stone of 1840 in the garden wall of number one The Downs, which indicates the boundary of the ancient borough of Altrincham with Dunham Massey.
The area from the Devisdale across to The Downs was known as Bowdon Downs until about 1750 and was used as a common. Around 10,000 of Prince Ruperts troops camped here and on Knutsford Heath in May 1644 on their way from Shrewsbury to Marston Moor during the Civil War.
In December 1688 Lord Delamere, later the Earl of Warrington, rallied forces here from his tenants in support of the Prince of Orange, afterwards William III, who had arrived in England.
Where is it?
Bowdon is to be found at the southwest edge of Greater Manchester and is located on a ridge rising above the Cheshire Plain. It is the largest ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, comprising several small rural villages surrounded by open countryside, including Dunham Massey Country Park and more densely populated residential areas.
The National Trust owns most of the area, as part of the Dunham Massey Estate, which of course includes the beautiful Dunham Massey Hall and a deer park, built in 1616 and remodelled between 1732 and 1740.
Bowdon has four distinct neighbourhoods: Dunham Massey, Warburton, Bowdon and Bowdon Vale. Bowdon Parish is part of the Archdeaconry of Macclesfield within the Anglican Diocese of Chester.