This route was walked by Manchester Weekend Walkers (a branch of the Ramblers) on Saturday 28th September 2019.
As well as being a walking route in its own right, it is the final Stage of 13 on the Round Manchester Hiking Trail, a long distance walk that completely encircles the city of Manchester. The Trail is designed to be accessible by public transport, and to take in a varied selection of the best scenery in the Manchester area. It is 157 miles long in total and has about 6,000m of ascent.
The Trail starts in Macclesfied, and then proceeds in a clockwise direction via the other twelve staging points (Wilmslow, Knutsford, Lymm, Leigh, Blackrod, Entwistle, Rawtenstall, Todmorden, Marsden, Hadfield, Edale, and Buxton) before the last stage takes it back to Macclesfield again to complete the loop.
Since 2019, Manchester Weekend Walkers (a branch of the Ramblers) have been walking each of the stages in order roughly once every four weeks (pandemic permitting), which results in the full loop being completed once every year. The first five stages cover mostly lowland territory, and so are walked in the winter months, leaving the sunnier parts of the year in which to tackle the hills that otherwise nearly surround Manchester on three sides.
As of the summer of 2021, it is intended that the Trail will at some point be registered with the Long Distance Walkers Association as an “official” long distance path, although this hasn’t yet happened at the time of writing. However, all 13 stages are available on the Outdoor Active website and can be downloaded as GPX files.
Safety informationTake care crossing the A537 at bothe points near Grove Wood, as traffic may not be expecting pedestrians at this point.
Tips and hints
There is plenty of space immediately outside the Station entrance at Buxton, and toilets are also available on the platform.
10, mostly in good condition.
Free toilets at Buxton station. After this, none till the end. We do go through plenty of remote areas and wooded areas, so there are opportunities on the way.
None known as of October 2020.
1:00 - Boundary of the open country near Burbage
2:45 - Shining Tor (trig point)
3:30 - Hooleyhey Lane (near Lamaload Reservoir)
4:45 - The Gritstone Trail
5:45 - Higher Hurdsfield (the B5470)
6:30 - Macclesield Railway Station
From Stake Farm on the approach to Shining Tor it is possible to turn left and reach the Cat & Fiddle Inn after about ¾ mile. The no. 58 bus calls here hourly (on a Saturday) in each direction on its way between Buxton and Macclesfield.
Later on, 7 miles into the walk, we pass a car park on Hooleyhey Lane, near Lamaload Reservoir. This could serve as a convenient pick-up point for a taxi or private car.
Near the 9-mile mark the route takes a sharp turn to the left and starts climbing again. As there about 150m ascent to follow, anyone really tired might consider carrying straight on instead and continuing on the road downhill towards Rainow. After about ½ mile you will reach the B5470, from which the no. 60 bus (hourly in either direction on Saturday’s) will take you to either Macclesfield or else Whalley Bridge/New Mills.
I can’t really think of any good alternatives that don’t significantly lengthen the route. I suppose if you really wanted to call in at the Cat & Fiddle, you could detour across the Buxton Old Coach Road (instead of taking the footpath across Goyt’s Moss) and re-join the main route after the pub near Stake Farm. However this does result in a lot of exposure to the A537, and would be at the expense of the really great scenery around Berry Clough and Stake Clough.
The woods at Stake Side on the approach to Shinig Tor offer some shelter if needed. The Shining Tor summit offers some benches, and (on the Cheshire side of the trig point) grass verges to sit down on. There are more dry stone walls to sit on at the path crossroads near Longclough.
Pub Stops En-Route:
Not really any on the route, except for the Cat & Fiddle, ¾ mile away (see above).
We do pass the Three Crowns – a Robinson’s pub in Higher Hurdsfield, but this is just 1½ miles from the end of the walk, which I tend to think is too close.
There is a large selection of places to go near the railway station in Macclesfield.
I can recommend the Queen’s Hotel (right opposite to station entrance) as having great staff and a friendly atmosphere. The local Wetherspoon’s (called the Society Rooms) is available about 250 yards away if you need plenty of indoor space. Within a similar radius is a large selection of other bars and restaurants.