Prestbury to Ashley/Hale.
Having braved the morning rush hour at Piccadilly I was back at Prestbury before 9am. Spent the first half hour adjacent to the largest sewerage plant I have ever seen. All was quiet, I really mean quiet after all that commuter bit, as I rejoined the ‘way’ – I saw nobody till Wilmslow. That was apart from the lady with a plum in her mouth who instructed me how to open a difficult gate in her garden obviously designed to deter walkers. Nice house by the way.
Recent floods have eroded the banks of the river and attempts to restore the channel have been made – why not let nature take its course. There was a perfect example of an oxbow lake further on today.
Arriving in Wilmslow I went up into town to find a coffee, the first place was a Waitrose store which I thought would host a cafe but only offered an expensive machine which sufficed. Refreshed I returned to the river and a popular walk along it. Dogs and elegant ladies. I fell into step with one of the latter with her equally elegant terrier Spikey – he mistook me initially for a postman and yapped loudly. Having made friends I was escorted through the grounds of Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate – fascinating and worthy of a return visit when the gardens are open. Thanks to my anonymous guide. Strangely the official Bollin Valley Way doesn’t use this section of river bank but the North Cheshire Way does.
I returned to the river and had a roller coaster trail – at one point alongside it and minutes later up steep steps high above. This continued for some time until I realised I was below one of Manchester Airport’s runways and had to disappear into a tunnel under it. Emerging the other side I climbed up to a view point to be told by an ‘observer’ that an A380 flight was taking off – it was dramatic when it appeared – Massive. Planes continued taking off every couple of minutes as I walked on through reclaimed wetlands and woodlands on the airport perimeter. I have to say they know how to make mud in Cheshire. Strangely I found walking in the vicinity of the M56 more noise polluted than the airport environment. Speeding up to catch a 4pm train I made some simple navigation errors around Hale golf club and the back tracking lost me valuable time so as I walked towards Ashley the train disappeared. Luckily the Greyhound pub provided a warm welcome for the hour wait for the next train and reflect on a hugely enjoyable 14miles.
I agree with you about letting nature take its course. On Arnside Knott I think it was the National Trust (again) who I found cutting down trees and laying waste to large areas. They told me they were creating habitat for a rare butterfly. Well, what about the habitat of perhaps a hundred other species of flora and fauna they were destroying?