Mag­i­cal his­tory tour at Ward­low Mires

Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON -

COLIN PARK, WALK LEADER

ASH­FORD in the Wa­ter was the start­ing point for a re­cent 12-mile walk, when 16 East Cheshire Ram­blers set out across fields and headed north via Church­dale Hall to reach the at­trac­tive vil­lage of Great Long­stone.

A steep as­cent fol­lowed to reach Long­stone Moor, with a cof­fee stop on the way.

With views stretch­ing away in all di­rec­tions, the group con­tin­ued across pas­tures to reach Ward­low Mires.

The peace­ful sur­round­ings we saw there hide a sin­is­ter past. The area around Ward­low Mires was once no­to­ri­ous for high­way­men.

The most fa­mous was Black Harry, who op­er­ated in the area early in the 18th cen­tury, and was Der­byshire’s equiv­a­lent of Dick Turpin.

Nearly a cen­tury later, on New Year’s Day 1815, Han­nah Oliver, the toll-keeper in the ham­let, was murdered by Anthony Lin­gard, a Tideswell man who stole from her a pair of red shoes and some money.

Found guilty, he was hung at Derby jail.

As a de­ter­rent to oth­ers, his body was then hung from the gib­bet at a nearby lime­stone tower, known as Peter’s Stone.

His skele­ton re­mained there for 11 years and be­came a grue­some cu­rio to pass­ing visi­tors.

Head­ing down Cress­brook Dale, we soon came to Peter’s Stone.

A scram­ble to the sum­mit was a side at­trac­tion for a few of the more ad­ven­tur­ous ram­blers.

We found a shel­tered spot out of the cool breeze for lunch in Cress­brook Dale.

Then the af­ter­noon leg of our walk started with an as­cent to Ward­low Hey Cop, a lo­cal high point, be­fore de­scent through tran­quil Hay Dale.

We fol­lowed a short sec­tion of the Mon­sal Trail in­clud­ing through the Head­stone Tun­nel on the re­turn to Ash­ford in the Wa­ter, where we fin­ished with af­ter­noon tea in a lo­cal cafe.

For more de­tails of East Cheshire Ram­blers’ week­end and mid­week walks go to ram­blers eastcheshire.org.uk.

●» Some of the more ad­ven­tur­ous of the group scram­bled up to the sum­mit of Peter’s Stone to ad­mire the view from this lofty perch

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