Marple - Mellor Church - Brookbottom - Marple

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This walk takes in a wide variety of scenery from the canals around Marple and the Roman Lakes, climbing up to St Thomas' Church, part of which dates back to the 13th Century. The small hamlets of Moorend and Brookbottom are passed en route, with the opportunity of a drink at the Fox Inn in Brookbottom. There are fine views from the higher points over towards Stockport and Manchester. Also, more northerly over Hyde and further east, Kinder Scout stands proud. There are lots of interesting points to investigate on this walk, including the flight of locks that raise the Peak Forest Canal to its junction with the Macclesfield Canal at Toplock; the aqueduct itself, a fine feat of Victorian engineering and the highest in England, that carries the canal high over the River Goyt, well worth a detour if you have an extra hour, but be warned, it is uphill all the way back to Toplock. Don't spend too long as Mellor Church and churchyard deserve some time to explore, as do the nearby Roman excavations.

Posset Bridge: take time to explore the area around Posset Bridge, including the tunnel for the horses and the now defunct arm of the canal that used to go to the nearby limekilns formerly situated at the end of nearby Limekiln Lane.

Toplock Bridge is at the junction of the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals, designated number one on the Macclesfield Canal. At Toplock Bridge, you are at the summit of a flight of sixteen locks that has climbed 214 feet (67 metres) from Marple Aqueduct. The aqueduct itself is spectacular, taking the canal high over the River Goyt. When the Peak Forest Canal was originally constructed, they could not afford to build the set of locks that you see now. For the first six years, they used an inclined plane worked by horses and wagons to connect the higher and lower levels. The flight of locks was 200 years old on 3rd July 2004, having been officially opened in 1804. The Peak Forest Canal runs from Whaley Bridge to Portland Street Basin in Hyde. From Hyde, boats can travel east along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal or west on the Ashton Canal for the Cheshire Ring, going through Manchester to Castlefields. From there, boats can travel along the Trent and Mersey Canal to join the Macclesfield Canal at Kidsgrove and thereafter back to Marple.

Brickbridge: the house at Brickbridge is known locally as Rose Lea House. Over the stile opposite there is the concrete capping on an abandoned mineshaft. There used to be small-scale coalmining around the Marple area.

Mellor Church: St Thomas's Church, Mellor dates from the 12th Century; the pulpit was carved in 1320 from a single block of oak. The view from here from left to right (east to west) takes in Kinder Scout, Cobden Edge, Lyme Cage and Park Moor in the distance; then closer, Marple Ridge, Goyt Mill and Stockport.

Brookbottom: this village has the reputation of being Derbyshire's smallest, having nine houses, a chapel, inn, postbox and telephone box.

Strines Print Works: at Strines you pass the site of the now closed Strines Print Works, a textile printing works where much of the developments in modern textile printing and dyeing were perfected in the last century. Don't be put off by the mention of the works; it is very much in the countryside.

Bridge No 2, Macclesfield Canal: on the far side of the canal is a maintenance yard with a pumping-out facility for the boats. Where the canal narrows there used to be a stop lock; the water in the Macclesfield Canal used to be fifteen centimetres higher than the Peak Forest Canal and it is rumoured that they said they weren't going to let their precious water be wasted on the Peak Forest Canal! There are also the remains of a cantilevered roof covering the wharf.

England - North England - Cheshire - Peak District


Birds, Church, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Pub, Public Transport, River, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
3/3/2020 - Simon Worrall

Walked March 2020 after prolonged period of wet weather. As was the case back in March 2014 - see comment - and walk additional comments - we can confirm that quite a few sections remain very muddy! Nonetheless a very enjoyable walk with a good mix of industrial heritage and open countryside. (There is a bench in Mellor churchyard (WP14)with good views and sunny aspect that's ideal for opening the flask of coffee after the climb up from Knowle Farm!) INFO - the car park in Marple is quite small and pay and display (apart from Sundays). You could park (on road) and start the walk from other waypoints notably near the cross roads at WP18, Castle Edge Road close to the golf club at WP19 or near the village green at Strines just before arriving at WP 22. Many of the other roads en-route are very narrow and afford little opportunity for safe on road parking. We parked on Bogguard Road at WP 18 and walked the route from there to WP 30, direct to WP3 and onto WP4 avoiding the centre of Marple.

3/3/2014 - Norman Brannick

Completed this walk Monday 3rd March 2014. Really enjoyed this walk, directions were OK, but lost it at WM 26, didn't matter that much, soon got back on track. The varied scenic parts of the walk were in my opinion superb, met some really nice people on the way, spent too much time chatting but why not. Would certainly recommend this walk to be done in the summer when the ground is dry, it was really muddy underfoot but after the rain we've had recently I couldn't expect anything else.

3/2/2014 - Graham Moss

Walked 01/03/2014. Excellent walk and a good leg stretcher as the days are getting longer. Navigation as per the script no problem though unsure why instruction at Waypoint29 reads 'do not cross the bridge but turn right over a stile' etc. If you cross the bridge there are steps on the left leading down to the canal towpath. On the towpath turn 180 degrees and go under the bridge - the canal is on your right and can be followed back to Bridge No. 1 as per the instructions.

6/23/2009 - Rebecca Dillon

Does this walk take you back to the starting point? Yes it does, Chris WW Admin.

1/29/2009 - Peter Costello

Thank you to Frank Hollingworth for a very rewarding walk full of interest all the way round and thoroughly enjoyed by five lads from Lancashire Monday 26.01.09 We had some confusion at 6. This read as though we should not have turned right into Lakes Road but after wandering about and nearly returning to Marple we decided we did indeed have to turn into Lakes Road heading towards the Roman Lakes nature reserve. Perhaps this Lakes Road sign has recently been placed there. We then came to another Lakes Road sign and realised we were on the right route by bearing left past the gates of Bottoms Hall and up the stony path. Towards the end there seems to have been another change which cuts out going onto Windlehurst Road. Suggest 29 reads ....go over the style and go straight ahead to the tarmac road. Follow this over the canal bridge and turn right onto the towpath.   Follow the towpath with the canal on your right to bridge no 2 No need for 30 then 31 go under bridge etc etc. as previously 32.    The SWATS (Shadsworth Walking And Twitching Society)

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