Discover ancient Saxon crosses
THE stumps of two ancient Saxon crosses set high on a ridge above Lyme Park were the high point of a recent six-mile walk by East Cheshire Ramblers.
Led by Willie Lees, the walk began from the car park near the Boar’s Head, Higher Poynton, with a stroll along the towpath of Macclesfield Canal.
Opened in 1831, it was the last major project undertaken by the famous civil engineer Thomas Telford.
Leaving the canal, the party of 27 ramblers traversed several fields before climbing steadily towards Birchencliffe Farm to begin the steep ascent on to the ridge via Dale Top. All agreed the effort was well-rewarded by the panorama awaiting them at the top which extends across Stockport and Manchester and out over the Cheshire Plain to the Clwydian Hills and the Welsh border.
Located at 1,270ft/385m, the remains of the crosses date from the ninth or 10th centuries and are known as the Bowstones.
They were re-erected after the Reformation not far from the summit of nearby Sponds Hill by the Leghs of Lyme Hall to mark the boundary of their estate.
It is thought that two cross heads which were subsequently ploughed up in a field near Disley Church may have once belonged to them.
How the Bowstones got their name is uncertain but according to local folklore, young gallants would aim to win the hearts of local maidens by seeing who could shoot an arrow the furthest from the spot into the valley below.
The return journey descended into Lyme Park and through a woodland behind the Hall and past a deer pound before exiting the estate to arrive back at the car park in time for lunch at the Boar’s Head.
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●● The remains of two ancient Saxon crosses stand not far from the aptly-named Bowstones Cottage on the ridge above Lyme Park