Saturday, 21 May 2011

Macclesfield Forest

Distance: 6km; Ascent: 240m; with Lynsey & Isabel

As the forecast was significantly better for today than tomorrow, we opted to go walking with Isabel today.  Lynsey had never been to Macclesfield Forest before and there was a route there in our Peak District ATP guidebook so we headed there for the day.

At the Trentabank Reservoir car park we enjoyed cake from the snack van before setting off walking at around 11:30am.  The guidebook handily informed us that we should follow signs for "Forest Walk 2", but this didn't seem to exist; there was however a "Blue" route that seemed to be the correct route so we followed that instead.  The ascent soon began as we climbed up the forest tracks towards Shutlingsloe.  After a while we reached a locked gate with a kissing gate next to it, which was unfortunately too small to fit the pushchair through.  Therefore we had to remove Isabel from the pushchair whilst I lifted it over the gate.

Eventually we reached the end of the ascent and continued along a reasonably level section of forest track with occasional views across to Tegg's Nose.  Soon we were on the edge of the forest and had excellent views across to Shining Tor and neighbouring hills.  Upon reaching the road, we turned left and followed it as our book advised that the next section of path was tricky with a pushchair (and there was also a further narrow kissing gate).

After a few hundred metres of road walking we rejoined the waymarked route where it crossed the road; however the gate here was too narrow for a pushchair so we had to lift the pushchair over a low fence to gain access to the path.  After a short distance we turned left over a small stream and continued downhill on a rough track, which was the roughest section of path all day.  Upon reaching the road again we were faced with a narrow gap stile in the low wall, which once again required the pushchair to be lifted over.

There was then a short section of road walking before we were able to rejoin the forest walk at a gate.  We then followed the waymarked path back to the car park.  It had been an enjoyable walk, although it was somewhat trickier than we had expected from reading the description in the Peak District ATP book, although this could have been due to changes to the forest walk since the book was written.  However after the walk I read the description for the essentially the same walk in the Cheshire ATP guidebook and discovered that is was graded 5 rather than 2 in the Peak District book and it handily mentioned the various obstacles too.

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