Cheshire Walk - Romiley
PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 September 2014
Keith Carter leaves the pavements behind as he explores the countryside around Romiley
When you look for a walk in a heavily built-up area like Stockport, it is natural to avoid main roads and shopping precincts and seek out the green bits on the map. This requires some ingenuity but you can include canal towpaths and riverside paths to steer away from housing and industrial estates.
The valley of the River Goyt gives some scope for those of us who prefer open country to city streets. Several long-distance trails traverse the area including the Etherow-Goyt Valley Way or EGV as the map marks it with the Ordnance Survey green diamond-shaped dots. This gives us something to work with but you would do well to walk here without having to tread on tarmac at some point.
1. We parked at Chadkirk Nature Reserve just off the A627 south of Romiley, a few hundred yards short of the right-angle bridge across the river. Leaving the car park, take the main road to the left but don’t go over the bridge, instead cross the road to the bridleway opposite where a sign advertises a boarding kennels.
The weir below the bridge has had an interesting enterprise installed, a hydro-electric energy scheme which works with two Archimedes screws dubbed Thunder and Lightning and can now generate electricity for 60 homes saving 100 tonnes of CO2 per year. What a brilliant community initiative using the power of the water in a simple but effective way.
Take the narrow lane beside a recently cleared area destined I suspect for building, and where the tarmac ends we enter an enclosed path under trees and bushes soon emerging at the ancient buildings of Goyt Hall dating from 1570. The farm was once the property of Sir Fulke Lucy, a kinsman of Sir Thomas Lucy who history remembers as the nobleman who brought a case against William Shakespeare for stealing deer in Charlecote Park. Shakespeare is said to have based his character Justice Shallow on him in Henry IV Part II.
2. Continue past the farm on a clear track passing a second farm where it turns sharp right to join the road end where an access lane leads to Bredbury Hall Hotel and Country Club. Turn right here on an overgrown path that runs behind housing and this leads to a road called The Broadway and the start of a built-up area.
Turn right and follow the pavement to a T-junction beside licensed premises called The Queens. Turn right past shops and at the next traffic lights bear left, the road rising to a further set of lights at a crossroads where we find the Cow and Calf pub, a decent hostelry with an outside seating area at the back. This would have been nice if the brewery lorry had not been making a delivery at the time we were there, with much rolling of kegs and clanging of trapdoors.
3. Leaving the pub, head downhill towards Romiley to where a bridge crosses the canal and go down steps to the towpath, going under the bridge keeping the water on your left. This is the Peak Forest Canal, the one that runs through Marple with its magnificent flight of locks. Remain on the towpath until we reach the Hyde Bank Tunnel, passing Oakwood Mill, currently under restoration, and the oddly-named hamlet of Burymewick.
Leave the canal before it enters the tunnel at a footpath to the right, entering mature woodland with some magnificent beech trees which opens out where timber has been felled and left to lie where it was cut.
4. After descending some steps we meet a junction where a signpost points left to the picnic area and right to ‘The Chapel’. This is Chadkirk Chapel, well worth the short detour, the present building dating from the 16th century although the site is a lot older. Stockport Council have made a good job of preserving the chapel and gardens, the paths well-maintained and some carvings done on the trees surrounding the walled lawn. After having a look at this interesting building return along the path and at a gate join a metalled lane that brings us back to the car park.
Area of walk: Romiley
Distance: 5 miles
Time to allow: 3-4 hours
Mao: OS Explorer 277 Manchester and Salford
Refreshments: Pub at Hatherow (Cow and Calf) Toilets at Chadkirk Nature Reserve Car Park
Disabled access: Chadkirk Chapel is accessible for wheelchair users but not the entire walk described. There is a restaurant and miniature railway at Marple Garden centre, Otterspool.