EAST CHESHIRE RAM­BLERS

Macclesfield Express - - CHARITY ROUND-UP - ROGER NOR­TON

A UNIQUE religious set­tle­ment, an in­ter­na­tional cy­cle rac­ing venue and one of the world’s first mu­nic­i­pal parks were among the sur­pris­ingly stun­ning land­marks await­ing 20 East Cheshire Ram­blers on a re­cent walk through east Manch­ester

For in­stead of the scenic hills and val­leys of their more usual haunts, the 9-mile route cho­sen by leader Ann Thomp­son took them from Daisy Nook Coun­try Park, Ash­ton-un­der-Lyne, along the Hollinwood Branch Canal to Droyles­den and the hid­den gem of Fair­field – a beau­ti­fully pre­served 18th cen­tury Mo­ra­vian vil­lage with quaint cob­bled streets and red­brick Ge­or­gian ar­chi­tec­ture.

North­ern Europe’s old­est free church, founded in 1457, the Mo­ra­vian Church be­came es­tab­lished in Bo­hemia and Mo­ravia be­fore the Ref­or­ma­tion but was nearly de­stroyed by religious en­mity in the Thirty Years War.

A num­ber of set­tle­ments were sub­se­quently es­tab­lished in Bri­tain, in­clud­ing Manch­ester where it be­came an ac­tive part of the evan­gel­i­cal re­vival as­so­ci­ated with John Wes­ley.

Af­ter vis­it­ing the vil­lage church the walk then headed down the nearby Ash­ton Canal to view the Eti­had Foot­ball Sta­dium and Manch­ester Velopark.

Now the Na­tional Cy­cling Cen­tre, the velo­drome was built in 1994 and is to­day recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally as one of the world’s fastest and finest in­door cy­cle tracks.

The walk­ers then moved on to Philips Park, Beswick, in the Med­lock val­ley, which pro­vided a wel­come oa­sis of green­ery amid the lin­ger­ing in­dus­trial de­cay and squalor that still sur­rounds the area.

Opened in 1846, it was one of the world’s first mu­nic­i­pal parks, pro­vid­ing Vic­to­rian work­ers with 31 ver­dant acres for leisure and re­lax­ation only two miles from the city cen­tre.

Af­ter lunch­ing be­side the river in Med­lock Vale the group re­turned to Daisy Nook along the tow­path through open coun­try over­look­ing Brook­dale golf course.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion ram­blerseascheshire. org.uk

●» Next stop along the Ash­ton Canal was the Manch­ester Velopark

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