Dis­cover an­cient Saxon crosses

Macclesfield Express - - EC RAMBLERS -

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.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to ram­blerseastcheshire.org. uk.

New mem­bers are al­ways wel­come.

●● The re­mains of two an­cient Saxon crosses stand not far from the aptly-named Bow­stones Cottage on the ridge above Lyme Park

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