Tranquil vale that conceals industrial past
WALK LEADER HELEN RICHARDSON
TUCKED away in a quiet corner of the Goyt Valley near Marple, Chadkirk Country Park was once a busy industrial area which for more than 200 years from the 1750s grew up on the bleaching of textiles and printing.
Today there is little trace of its grimy history – just peaceful fields and woodland that have become a haven for wildlife and walkers, including a party from East Cheshire Ramblers who recently visited the area on a 10-mile walk led by Helen Richardson.
After joining the towpath of the nearby Peak Forest Canal, they arrived at an aqueduct that used to carry the canal over the River Etherow more than 100ft below.
Passing under the aqueduct and a railway bridge, they then followed the river to Etherow Country Park for refreshments beside a sun-dappled lake as patchy cloud gave way to sunshine that lasted for the rest of the day.
Climbing gradually from the lakeside the route continued through Martin Clough and past Werneth Low golf club to the radio masts on top of Idle Hill and on to a memorial offering sweeping, panoramic views of surrounding landmarks which could be readily identified thanks to a convenientlyplaced orientation table.
Lunch was eaten in a picnic area at Highams Visitor Centre, which has some interesting study resources much used by local schools.
There were more attractive views as the ramblers then made their way downhill along quiet lanes and across fields ablaze with dazzling yellow gorse to eventually cross a busy main road before skirting along the northern edge of Redbrow Wood and through a residential neighbourhood back to Chadkirk.
For further details of East Cheshire Ramblers’ summer programme of weekend and midweek walks, coach outings and other activities go to ramblerseastcheshire. org.uk.