The Middlewood Way

The Middlewood Way runs through Bollington between Macclesfield and Stockport. From Macclesfield to Middlewood Station, the Way is owned and managed by Cheshire East Council, from Middlewood to Marple by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. The Macclesfield Canal is managed by British Waterways.

In 1863, the towns of Marple, Bollington and Macclesfield were facing economic depression. Local dignitaries, in particular the cotton mill owners of Bollington, hoped that a new railway would improve their fortunes, and presented a scheme to Parliament. The Macclesfield, Bollington and Marple Railway opened in 1869. The line carried cotton, silk, coal and passengers, but always struggled to make a profit. It was closed in 1970 and redeveloped for recreation as the Middlewood Way in 1985. The Macclesfield Canal was completed in 1831, very late for a canal - so late that it was almost a railway!

Coal from Poynton, stone from Kerridge and hats from Stockport were some of the cargoes carried. The canal was threatened with closure in the 1950s. A campaign by pleasure boaters saved it and today the canal is a popular leisure destination.

Horseriders can use the Middlewood Way from Bollington viaduct (Adlington Road) all the way to Rose Hill in Marple, a 7-mile ride. Recommended horsebox parking is at Jacksons’ Brickworks in Higher Poynton and Rose Hill in Marple. Riders can expect to meet pedestrians and cyclists: please do not bring your horse if it is easily startled and do not ride faster than a trot. To find out about stables and riding schools, telephone Tourist Information.

The Middlewood Way is mostly level and wheelchair-accessible. To help you plan your visit, we have attempted to show on the map (see map and guide for more info) easy access points and areas of the Middlewood Way that may be difficult for wheelchairs. If you would like more detailed information, please telephone the Ranger Service. (To enquire about the canal towpath, telephone British Waterways.)

From Macclesfield to Bollington, the Way is hard-surfaced. North of Bollington, visitors will find various firm, compacted surfaces, the accessibility of which can be affected by weather. At road bridges, access is via steps unless otherwise indicated. At car parks and crossings, our standard entrance is a kissing gate, or other arrangement, designed to admit conventional wheelchairs. If you use a larger mobility aid, you may wish to telephone for advice.

Click on the Map above to download the Middlewood Way Guide

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