Distance: should have been 6 miles but was over 7 by the time we found our way back to the route…
Route: from Alderley Edge National Trust car park on the Macclesfield Road we trudged up over the fields towards Croker Hill with woodland and views of Jodrell Bank to the right. We continued past Serpentine Lake across a prairie and corn fields to cut through the Astra Zeneca sports field onto the A34. Then through woodlands to St Mary’s Church (famous for its misprinted bible but, for us it was a beautiful spot to stop for lunch) past Nether Alderley Mill and up a long cobbled track to Bradford Lane and back to the car park.
We followed the route in East Cheshire Walks by Graham Beech which is usually very good for directions. Unfortunately the route between Serpentine Lake and the A34 appears to have changed somewhat since the book was written so it is a very good idea to take map and compass (and smartphone!) with you.
Facilities: clean, functional (and free) toilets at the car park.
About a third of the way through the walk I was stopped in my tracks.
‘What is that noise?’ There was nothing I could really compare it to. It boomed out from behind a nearby hill and began with a bellowing, followed by a mechanical scraping and ending in a roar. It was the type of sound that usually telegraphs the arrival of the beasts in a dystopian movie.
We had just walked past two or three bull calves in a field. Obviously not quite mature or else they wouldn’t be in a field together, would they? It clearly wasn’t them making this dreadful sound but, as I watched, one of them stalked to the centre of the field, lifted his heavy head and roared in answer. Before he had even finished, back came the reply. You could feel the ground vibrate with it.
We carried on walking, not wanting to be caught up in the middle of that fight.
This was a pleasant walk through grasslands (sometimes as high as about 3ft), woodlands and across farmland. There was some roadside walking and some difficult-on-the-feet cobbles. Although there was very little ascent or descent there were one or two points where the gradient was rather deceptive and this walk proved a good workout for the legs. Good practice for Hadrian’s Wall!
If you peer really hard at this picture you can see the Jodrell Bank telescope…#justcallmeBrooklyn.
NB: Can I apologise for the technical problems on this blogpost. I found it impossible to save my earlier drafts so you may have been hassled with three previous copies of this. Hopefully this is the last one!