Walk from Macclesfield, to Langley and Croker Hill
The walk starts and ends on Windmill Street in Macclesfield, where it crosses over the canal. Windmill Street is within easy walking distance from the centre of Macclesfield.
Get directions to Windmill Street by public transport or car with Redplanet.
If travelling by car, Windmill Street is reached as follows: Drive out of Macc town centre along the Leek road (A523). After a few sets of traffic lights, follow a sign on the left to Macclesfield Golf Course. This will take you up Windmill Street. Park on the road near to where Windmill Street crosses the canal, as you will return along the canal at the end of the walk.
This circular walk involves a walk across Macclesfield Golf Course along a footpath that eventually leads down into the village of Langley, then from Langley across fields to Croker Hill. Half way up Croker Hill, the route takes a right turn to walk down to the main Leek road, across the road to the canal, then a gentle stroll returns you to Macclesfield. The walk up Croker Hill is fairly strenuous, but offers wonderful views, especially on a clear day. Refreshments are available at the Fools Nook pub on the Leek Road, then at the Old Kings Head at Gurnett. Strong shoes or walking boots are essential.
During the stroll over the golf course to Langley, the village of Sutton may be seen down to the right. The footpath emerges in the village of Langley. Langley Mill, founded by William Smith in 1826, became the biggest silk printing, dyeing and finishing works in the world. This mill pond was constructed behind the mill. Langley Mill later went on to become Specialised Automobile Services, a specialist wire wheel manufacturer for classic and modern cars. The painter Charles Tunnicliffe was born in Langley and painted many birds at the four reservoirs behind the village in Macclesfield Forest. The village pub, "The St Dunstan", is located on Main Road (the main road through the village). Langley also has a Methodist church and a village hall. From Langley, our route takes us across fields, up to Ridge Hill, and then down to Hollin Lane.
The Gritstone Trail is now joined, as we climb up Croker Hill. The trail is waymarked with yellow discs with a footprint inscribed with a 'G'. The climb is a steady climb, not too steep. At the top of the hill we turn left, still on the Gritstone Trail, to begin the ascent of Croker Hill. The transmission tower is often seen ahead, but we don't walk all the way up to the tower. Sutton Common BT Tower is a radio tower built of reinforced concrete at Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. It is one of the few communication towers in the United Kingdom built of reinforced concrete. It is part of the 1960s 'backbone' network, relaying signals to Heaton Park in the north and Pye Green to the south. Popular with hill walkers, Croker Hill offers fine views of the Cheshire plain and on clear days, Manchester city centre and as far away as Snowdon can be seen.
After descending from Croker Hill, the main road to Leek is crossed. At the crossroads is the Fools Nook pub, where food is served. This 17th C. building dates from before the Leek road and the Macclesfield Canal were built in the early 19th C. Located only yards from the canal, this is a very popular overnight stop for boaters. The name is thought to originate from the last jester, or fool, in a stately home, namely nearby Gawsworth Hall. Samuel 'Maggoty' Johnson possibly took his ale in a corner, or nook, within this pub! Maggoty is a famed local character and he is buried up at Gawsworth. Across the road, is this swing bridge over the canal. When a boat wishes to pass through, the bridge swings out of the way.
The walk now returns to Macclesfield with a gentle stroll along the towpath of the canal. The canal passes Danes Moss, which, if you have any energy spare, is worth a stroll round. The canal veers away from the main road for a short while, before returning to the town centre. The canal passes fairly close to Sutton Hall, which is a pub worth a visit. Also on the way back, you will pass over the Aqueduct at Gurnett. Below the aqueduct is The Old Kings Head. Dating from 1695 it fits in well with the many old buildings that make up this small hamlet. It was a coaching house and smithy and was once visited by Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The route is also available as a plain page.