5 miles (8km) of moderate to strenuous walking on well-defined footpaths and by-roads. 492-foot (150m) descent and ascent.
Recommended map: Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale, Outdoor Leisure Map Sheet 2, The White Peak.
Bus Services: High Peak number 58, hourly on weekdays and two-hourly on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Car Parking: Pay and Display Tegg’s Nose Country Park
Refreshments: Tegg’s Nose Car Park Café and also Leather’s Smithy on the road between Langley and Macclesfield Forest.
For this walk we are going over to the western edge of the Peak District, into the Cheshire Highlands. This region unexpectedly is one of the few places where a real peak can be found in the Peak District National Park. The district’s highest point is Shutlingsloe, the 1660 foot (506m) true peak whose graceful slopes can be seen over to the south west of the A537, Buxton to Macclesfield road.
The area is quite historical in its way, as discovered for example, when exploring the footpaths on either side of Wildboarclough, one of the many places where the last wild boar was supposed to have been killed. There are several friendly pubs along the way, many of them gaining high renown for the standard of their catering. In fact, Leather’s Smithy the pub half way round this walk has gained several awards and acclaim. Another feature is Forest Chapel just a little way off the route of the walk. This tiny stone moorland place of worship is one of the few places in the British Isles where the floor is spread with fresh rushes on the nearest Sunday to the 12th August each year.
The walk just touches a small part of an area better known by walkers and cyclists coming from east Cheshire and Greater Manchester. Having once lived in that area, we developed a love and knowledge of the moors and valleys surrounding Shutlingsloe, and are still tempted back every now and then to renew our memories of times past. This walk is just one of the many we know and have enjoyed. It starts and finishes at Tegg’s Nose Country Park; its car park is accessed from Buxton Old Road – leave the A537 at Walker Barn and turn left (if coming from Buxton) and drive down the old road; Tegg’s Nose Country Park car park is signposted about half a mile further along the narrow road.
Tegg was a mythical giant who inhabited these high moors. The name is possibly a corruption of Tegga, a pre-historic local chieftain who was buried on the Naze, or Nose, again a corruption, in time gone-by.
Early on in the walk allow time to explore the collection of restored old quarry machinery displayed in the hill-top sandstone quarry. From the quarry the walk follows part of the Gritstone Trail, a long distance footpath from Lyme Park near Stockport to Mow Cop on the outskirts of the Potteries. Dropping into the headwaters of the River Bollin, a left turn at the first of four reservoirs begins the climb back by way of Macclesfield Forest. The mature plantation of pine forest, along with the reservoirs has been claimed by wildlife, ranging from badgers and foxes, to semi-rare water fowl such as crested grebes.
1. Leave the car park by walking back towards the road, but do not join it. Turn left along a wide well-made path leading by way of two kissing gates, to the rear of heather-covered quarry spoil heaps.
2. At the second gate, go through it and turn left to climb the stone-flagged steps, uphill.
At the top of the climb, pause for breath in order to admire the view by way of Macclesfield Forest to Shutlingsloe and beyond. A nearby outdoor exhibition on the old quarry floor displays a collection of stone-cutting machinery, together with examples of stone walling and masonry techniques.
A yellow boot waymark superimposed by a brown letter ‘G’ indicates that the path is part of the Gritstone Trail.
3. Turn left away from the main path and following Gritstone Trail waymarks, go down a flight of stone steps and follow the path steeply through woodland, downhill to Tegg’s Nose Reservoir.
4. Go through a kissing gate and bear right to cross two adjacent dam walls. Turn left on reaching the valley bottom road.
5. Walk along the road as far as Leather’s Smithy pub and then take the left fork in the road. Follow this side road for about a quarter of a mile.
6. At a small car park, turn left through a narrow belt of trees and then bearing right, walk uphill along a forest access track.
7. Follow a set of waymark arrows uphill and into the forest.
8. Turn left at a four-way signpost and go past an old barn. Follow the forest path downhill.
9. Look out for a sign pointing to Walker Barn, low down by a gap in the wall. Turn right here and follow the path uphill until you reach a wall crossed by a stile in order to reach the access lane to Ashtree Top, an old farm now restored as a modern house.
10. Climb over the stile and go diagonally left across the road to another stile on your left of the large house. Cross this and walk down the field, then across the heads of two shallow side valleys. Climb with the path, half right away from the second and furthest valley.
Pause at the crest of the last valley and use it as an excuse to admire the view. Tegg’s Nose is in front and slightly to your right, with Langley Reservoirs in the valley bottom. Beyond and to your left is Sutton Common and its strangely adorned telecommunications tower. In the far distance you can probably make out Jodrell Bank telescope as well as Mow Cop further on into Staffordshire. The prominent little hill of Mow Cop is topped by a folly built in the shape of a ruined castle.
11. Keep to the left of the farmhouse at Warrilowhead Farm and walk away along its access drive until it reaches a sharp right-hand bend. Bear left here, going down towards a group of farm buildings.
12. Heading for Walker Barn Farm, go over a steep stile and turn right along the lane passing the farmhouse, then left through the farmyard.
13. Follow the path to the sharp bend in the main road, here marked by the one-time Setter Dog Inn, now a private house.
14. Turn left away from the A537, on to the Old Buxton Road, following it back to the car park,
N.B. Take great care on this narrow side road as it often becomes a race track with traffic using it as a rat-run in order to gain a few minutes on the drive between Buxton and Macclesfield.