Yesterday I was out for a walk with friends from my local gym. Our destination was Mow Cop which straggles the Cheshire/Staffordshire border.
We started our walk from Little Moreton Hall, a National Trust property. It is a moated, half timbered Manor House built for William Moreton, a wealthy Cheshire landowner in the early part of the 16th century and enlarged by successive generations of the family until about 1610.
The weight of the third storey glazed gallery has caused the lower floors to warp and bow giving the building its distinctive shape.
Leaving the hall we crossed the busy A34 and then followed field paths to Rode Mill. A short section of road walking led us through Scholar Green to reach the Macclesfield Canal where we followed the towpath heading south to bridge 89. There were many signs of Spring with snowdrops alongside our path.
Leaving the canal we passed under the railway line to walk through Mount Pleasant and climb up to Mow Cop at 1099 ft. The summit is crowned by a castle, actually it is a folly, built by a local landowner, Randle Wilbraham in 1754 to enhance the view.
There are extensive views from the summit looking west over the Cheshire plain and in the opposite direction towards the Peak District and the Pennines. But, not today. Although we were in sunshine the plains were full of mist.
Mow Cop is also famous as the birthplace of the Primitive Methodist movement when in 1800, Hugh Bourne and William Clowes began holding open air prayer meetings. On 31st May 1807, a camp meeting was held which lasted for 14 hours and led to the development of the Primitive Methodist Church in 1810. These meetings at Mow Cop became a regular event and camps were also held to celebrate the 100th, 150th and 200th anniversaries of the first camp. A large stone was erected to mark the event.
The area around the summit was once quarried to produce querns, used for milling corn. A 65 ft rock structure called ‘The Old Man O’Mow’ sits in one of the quarry areas and is believed to be on the site of an ancient cairn.
Mow Cop lies at the junction of the Gritstone Trail and the South Cheshire Way which we followed towards Ackers crossing. The SCW links the Sandstone Trail with the Staffordshire Way and is well way marked with SCW signs. From Ackers crossing we strolled along the Macclesfield Canal to bridge No 86 and then followed field paths back to Little Moreton Hall.
We had done an easy 8 miles and were ready for a pot of tea. A local tea room produced the goods. Proper tea in a pot with china cups and a tea strainer. I had a huge chocolate brownie which probably contained more calories than I had burned off during the walk, but it was worth it!