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Walk from Macclesfield to Alderley Edge via Hare Hill

NOTE that the Permissive Path across the Hare Hill estate, through to Alder Wood, is closed during the winter months (usually November to March). During the summer months it is closed on Mondays, and open from 10am to 5pm on each of the other days. A notice is displayed at the vehicle entrance to the Hare Hill estate indicating exactly when it is closed. An alternative route to Daniel Hill is to walk past the entrance to Hare Hill, and continue along Prestbury Road to Over Alderley. In Over Alderley, take the second path (drive way) on the right, to walk past Adders Moss Farm, which rejoins the original route at step 16.

It was a Saturday when I had left my car at the garage for a service, so I had no car for most of the day. So I thought, where could I go for a circular walk, from the outskirts of Macclesfield, where there's a decent pub half way, and which is mostly off road. Prestbury Road (B5087) is the main road that heads out of Macclesfield to Alderley Edge, and I knew of a footpath route from Fallibroome Farm to Hare Hill and a route across the Hare Hill estate to Alderley Edge. So I started up my GPS app to track my route, and headed up the road to Fallibroome Farm. For a return route there are plenty of quiet lanes that I had discovered while out cycling.

Get directions to Prestbury Road by public transport or car with Redplanet.

If travelling by car, Prestbury Road is reached by following the signs for Alderley Edge (B5087) out of Macclesfield town centre. Look out for where there is a large farm field (with a large pylon in it) adjacent to Prestbury Road. There are plenty of side streets in the vicinity to park a car. Walk up Prestbury Road. Carry straight on through an 'offset' crossroads, where Macclesfield Road goes down to Prestbury village, and Priory Lane takes you to the Leisure Centre. After the crossroads, Prestbury Road becomes Alderley Road.

Distance: 9.4 miles (15.2 km)
Terrain: Lanes, footpaths and bridleways.
Access: Not suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs
Grade: Moderate
Time: 3 to 3½ hours
Ascent: 233 metres
Maps: OS Explorer Map 268, OL24
Start: Prestbury Road (B5087) SK10 4AA.
Grid Ref: SJ 898 749


Route Guide

This circular walk is relatively easy, but is quite a distance. I spread it out, on a sunny day in June, by stopping for a leisurely lunch at the Wizard pub, which is about half way. Note that there are toilets (in the NT car park) and a cafe adjacent to the Wizard. There are slight inclines here and there, but nothing too strenuous. Strong shoes or walking boots are essential, as parts of the walk can get quite muddy after rain. The permissive path across the Hare Hill estate often has cows roaming loose - there is some excellent advice from the National Trust about walking with a dog past cows.

It is worth taking a short detour, at step 20 in the route, to walk the short distance off the route to the 'edge', where there are wonderful views across Cheshire. After seeing the view, retrace your steps back to the route, to walk down to the Wizard.

The walk starts by following the footpath from Fallibroome Farm, across fields to the golf course. The footpath then takes you through woods, across more fields, and up to Chelford Road. A short distance up Chelford Road is the entrance to the Hare Hill estate. The gardens at Hare Hill are owned and run by the National Trust. (Note that dogs are not allowed into the gardens). As you enter the estate beyond the car park, there is a wonderful view down across the wide open green field to the picturesque lake, and in the distance you can see the buildings of Manchester, most notably the Hilton tower. Hare Hill Hall, which may be seen over to the left as you walk down through the estate, is a country house and a garden in the parish of Over Alderley, Cheshire. The house was built in about 1800 for William Hibbert of Birtles Hall. It was extended and remodelled in the middle of the 19th century for the Brocklehurst family.

A Permissive Path has been established across the Hare Hill estate, and onto Daniel Hill. This path leads you past the lake and on through a wooded area (Alder Wood). When I walked through it was a sunny day in early June, and the bluebells formed a blue carpet throughout the woods. There are several tree sculptures of hares in and around Alder Wood - see if you can spot them. After these woods, the path leads up to an open field, and then dives into another wooded area (Daniel Hill Wood). After emerging from the woods, there are two ways to get to Alderley Edge. One to the right, which takes you through Clock House wood to the north. The other choice, to the left, is the one that this route takes, as it is shorter, and more out in the open.

The Wizard pub is soon reached. Built in the 1780s as the Miners` Arms, this premises changed its name to the Wizard Inn in 1843. Lady Stanley, viewing the new sign, hoped that people would not `mistake it for My Lord in his dressing gown`. When the third Lord Stanley inherited his title in 1869, being a Muslim, he closed all the public houses on his land. However, he allowed the Wizard to reopen as a teetotal tearoom for the many visitors who came to walk on the Edge. After the Wizard, the route returns to Macclesfield along relatively quiet lanes.

Route Details

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The route is also available as a plain page.