Friendly Poynton in Cheshire
PUBLISHED: 11:19 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 February 2013
You're guaranteed a warm welcome on a visit to Poynton, as Jayne Boothroyd reports
If awards were handed out to towns and villages for friendliness Poynton would surely be in the running for a medal. The ancient village has become a popular base for commuters to the larger Cheshire towns but that has in no way diminished the warmth of the place.
Enter any shop or pub, pass anyone in the street or join one of the countless village groups and you're sure of a friendly smile.
Although it is close to Stockport and Macclesfield, the village nestles in the foothills of the Peak District National Park, surrounded by the green belt of the Pennines, the Macclesfield Canal and the elegance of Poynton Pool.
Meg Marsden a resident who has lived in Poynton for over 30 years said: 'It's such a friendly village. Many elderly people tell me how it has changed so much and I'm sure this is true but I nevertheless still believe with all its societies, interest groups, charities and churches that it is a village to be proud off and one with a very big heart.'
And it's true, no matter where you turn in Poynton there seems to be a society, group or organisation inviting you in and guaranteeing you a warm welcome.
Even if you don't join the groups, this is a village which can justifiably claim to offer something for everyone, with history buffs and lovers of nature particularly well catered for.
The Macclesfield canal, engineered by Sir Thomas Telford, was opened in 1831 and is now considered one of the most beautiful stretches of waterway in the country. It forms part of the Cheshire Ring and there is a large and popular marina at Higher Poynton.
East of the canal is the Middlewood Way nature reserve, a popular route for cyclists and walkers which follows the old track bed of the former Macclesfield and Marple railway line. The line closed in 1970 having operated for 101 years.
Agriculture was originally Poynton's main occupation, until coal was found near the surface. By 1789, technology had advanced with the invention of engines to pump water from the workings, allowing deeper pits to be sunk which can be observed through the development of Anson Colliery where the fascinating Anson Engine Museum is now based.
Mining was Poynton's main industry for 150 years but the last pits were closed in 1935. The pits were run by various individuals on leases but in 1832 the local landowner Lord Vernon decided to work the collieries himself with an agent running the day to day business. The Vernons were all known as caring employers and no women or very young children were employed in the pits.
There are still more than 60 mine shafts dotted around the village and there's a striking memorial to Lord Vernon at the beautiful St George's Church. The church was built in 1859 with the spire being added in his memory in 1885.