Cheshire walk - Poynton and the Middlewood Way
PUBLISHED: 11:20 12 October 2020
Strolling through Poynton’s rich vein of mining history
Today one thinks of Poynton in terms of café culture and pukka postcodes. But for centuries, the villagers’ lot was filth and back-breaking toil. From 1589 to 1935, Poynton was a centre of coal-mining, with more than 70 pits at the height of it. In the 1880s and 1890s, Lord Vernon’s estate yielded 250,000 tons of coal per year, and by the turn of the century, 550 men were working underground here.
The industry, and the wealth it created, shaped not only the landscape but the social history of Poynton. And this walk – suggested by Poynton Town Council – takes in some of the landmarks of that mining history. You will stroll along Prince’s Incline and Lady’s Incline – long, straight paths, which were once part of the railway system serving the collieries. You will pass over Middlewood Way, once the Macclesfield, Bollington and Marple railway taking coal from those collieries. Likewise, the Macclesfield Canal played its part in servicing that industry.
Look out for the picturesque Petre Bank cottages, built to house miners. And the colliery history is further brought to life by displays at the Nelson Pit Visitor Centre and Anson Engine Museum (the latter, sadly, likely to remain closed for the rest of this year as a Covid-19 precautionary measure).
1. There is free parking at the Civic Centre car park off Park Lane, Poynton, postcode SK12 1RB (turn in beside Waitrose). Walk back to Park Lane and turn right, passing the Farmers Arms on your left, and continue to the roundabout in front of St George’s Church. Go right along London Road, passing Poynton Sports Club, then turn right into Woodside Lane. Just after passing the sign for the Kingswood development, go left into a path. This long straight stretch is Prince’s Incline. At the next gate, cross over a road and continue up the incline, passing a long building on the left, which was once colliery offices.
2. At another kissing gate, continue ahead, with fields opening up on your left, and, soon, Davenport Golf Club on your right. Reaching a track, cross over and continue up the incline, looking out for an information plaque on the left about colliery railways.
3. Eventually, the path emerges onto Middlewood Road. Cross and go left along the pavement, then 200m later, bear right onto a footpath opposite a house called German Lodge. A wooden stile brings you to the unmade Prince Road. Go left and soon after cross Hilton Road, continuing ahead over Middlewood Way and through a wooden gate onto a tree-lined gravel path, which eventually brings you to the canal.
4. Go right along the towpath and keep going until Victoria Pit Moorings. Just beyond Bailey’s Trading Post, cross a bridge and turn right off the canal and go right down Lyme Road, passing Nelson Pit Visitor Centre on the right.
5. Cross over into Anson Road, passing the Boar’s Head on your left, and follow this road for some time, passing the entrance to the Anson Engine Museum. Reaching Middlewood Road, cross over and go left, looking out for the pretty white Petre Bank cottages on your right, built in 1815 as homes for miners, with a stream running the front gardens. At the next junction, go right along Park Lane, then immediately right up Towers Road.
6. As the road curves round to the left, take the gate onto the path on the left which is Lady’s Incline. At the end, turn left into Woodside Lane and retrace your steps to London Road, left towards the roundabout, and then left again up Park Lane to the start point.
Join our Facebook page for more walks: facebook.com/groups/walkingincheshire
Area of walk: Poynton
Time to allow: 2 hours
Map: OS Explorer 268
Refreshments (see next page): The Farmers Arms, 90 Park Lane, Poynton, Stockport, SK12 1RE,