The Middlewood Way offers a 10-mile (16-km) traffic-free route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. It follows the line of the former Macclesfield, Bollington and Marple Railway through picturesque Cheshire countryside and between historic mill towns. For much of its length, the Middlewood Way runs close to the Macclesfield Canal, and there are many options for easy circular walks. For the more adventurous, the extensive public footpath network reaches into the Peak District Foothills to the east and the Cheshire Plain to the west.
A Brief History
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!
A typical wide selection of woodland and farmland birds can been seen at any time of year.
Some of the ponds are excellent for dragonflies and damselflies.