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Walk 6 – Nether Alderley Mill

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Nether Alderley Mill, The Edge and Finlow Hill A linear walk, 6 miles, moderate, 3 hours, with an alternative 5 mile circular walk.

From The Mill cross the road. Go left for 50m then right along lane to St Mary's Church. Enter the grounds, passing the Old School House,and walk straight on past the left of the church to a gate into a field.

The Old School House was built in 1628. St Mary's Church is 14th century. Note the unusual feature of an internal pew with access up stone steps from the outside, built by the Stanley family to avoid being overlooked by the congregation. The Stanleys were Lords of the manor for 500 years: their estate was sold off in 1938.

Go forward to a gate and bridge over brook Turn right and across field to a stile by gate. This brings you out to where Sand Lane meets the A 34. Go up the main road for 250m and turn right up Bradford Lane. In 200m turn left over a stile, opposite a curious oval shaped enclosure, with steps leading down to a small stream, once used for watering horses.

In 70m go over the stile on right and immediately left, the stream and hedge now on your left, to come out via a stile into Artists Lane. Turn right up the lane for 500m before forking off left along a broad track just before S-bend sign. Follow this gradually up for 400m. At a distinct cross track go straight on up a narrow path through gorse bushes. When this reaches trees, curl left along a wide grassy path towards a gate. Immediately in front of the gate turn right up the path with fence on left and follow this gradually up to the main road (B 5087). Go straight across and follow the path into the Alderley Edge National Trust property.

The Edge is latticed with tunnels used for mining copper, cobalt and lead, in use from at least the Bronze Age. A bronze age wooden shovel, and a cache of Roman coins have been discovered at this site.

After 90m a right fork brings you to Castle Rock Erosion Control measures encourage you to take a broad path along the edge of the field; at a wall you join the old path. At the next corner of the wall The Beacon is up on your right.

The Beacon is shown on the Camden Map of Cheshire in 1586, and is believed to have been used to signal the approach of the Armada. There used to be a small tower on the site, and a pot of pitch used for igniting the beacon.

Erosion Control seems to be persuading us not to go up over this feature, but if you imagine you have gone straight over the top of The Beacon, the path to Stormy Point is the one straight ahead and on the level. The path on the right will take you to the Beacon Lodge; the path dropping down left will also take you to Stormy Point but will miss out the miniature "Stone Circle" which is up on the right and spilling down onto the path.

The Stone Circle is a folly, claimed by a famous local author, Alan Garner, to have been set up by one of his family for Lord Stanley in the 19th century.

After enjoying the wonderful View from Stormy Point, turn right along the broad stony path until you reach a gate. Turn right along access track and take the path off left opposite the Rangers Cottage. Cross the field to the Car Park. Go to the left of the Toilet Block to a path going half left out to the main road. Cross road, go left then right along Bradford Lane. In 200m go left then in 400m, where the road bends left, go straight ahead through a kissing-gate and on to a stile. Keep the hedge/fence on your right and so out via a gate to Slade Lane. Go right and drop down in 500m to Hocker Lane. Go left. (Or if you are making this a circular walk, go right.) You now return to Henbury following the directions for Walk 1 given in the last few lines of page 4.

The alternative circular walk (5 miles long) starts at the car park on The Edge and follows the directions from there to where Slade Lane meets Hocker Lane. It then follows Hocker Lane to join Bradford Lane, turning left back to the main road. The Mill is 300m along on the left.

(Alternatively, you could go straight across Hocker Lane and down the track to reach Birtles Church. Then go left up the hill on the road for 400m and turn right along the access track to Highlees Farm.)

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