Bollin Valley Way - Eastern section
The source of the river is most likely to be a boggy area in a field near to Forest Chapel, high above Macclesfield Forest. However, there are other streams that begin in the area including a stream source on Toot Hill, and another near the Standing Stone car park in Macclesfield Forest. From this area the river flows for 49km / 30 miles until it runs into the Manchester Ship Canal near Warburton.
The Bollin Valley Way walk starts in the town of Macclesfield which was once a world leader in silk production. The walk starts at the car park for Macclesfield Riverside Park, a 70 acre park in the valley between Macclesfield and Prestbury. The path follows the right bank of the river across meadows which are grazed by the Bollin Valley Partnerships herd of Old English Longhorn cattle during the summer.
The next village is Prestbury, a very attractive Cheshire village with many old buildings with fascinating histories. St Peter’s Church is a grade 1 listed building. The church registers date back to the reign of Elizabeth 1st, when a curfew bell rang daily at 8 pm and a pudden bell rang at noon. The churchyard contains many interesting features and gravestones including a beautiful Norman Chapel. Construction of St Peter’s Church began in 1220 and the church was finally completed in 1741 using stone from Kerridge quarries near Bollington. The village once held cattle fairs and wakes along the main street and it was a centre for silk weaving. If you walk along the main street in Prestbury you might notice some of the cottages are quite tall, these were silk weavers cottages. There were once many working mills along the river that used water wheels to power machinery. The river bed is paved near Bollin Grove, to reduce turbulence as the water approached Butley corn mill which started life as a corn mill, but changed to a cotton factory and then to a silk weaving mill. The mill doesn’t exist today.
The walk passes by Prestbury Water Treatment works which dates from 1907. A rare stiletto-fly was first discovered in Britain on the River Bollin and has been found in the vicinity of the Prestbury Water Treatment Works., as well as other sand banks on Cheshire rivers. The fly requires fluvial sand deposits for its larval stage as they live in loose vegetated sand.
The golf course at Mottram Hall is soon reached. The hotel is in what was the new hall, built in 1752 by Sir William Wright, whose family was very religious and expected the entire estate tenant to attend services at the chapel at the hall. In 1939 a Manchester Electrical Engineering Company called Ferguson Palin Limited refurbished the hall for it to become a country guest house for its 2000 employees. Sports, arts and other activity programmes were provided. Today it is part of the De Vere Hotels group.
Nearby Mottram Old Hall has a very long history. Roger de Mottram fought for the Black Prince in the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.
The walk into Wilmslow is very pleasant across fields and then through the lush green meadows of Wilmslow Park. Plants such as yellow rattle can be seen in the meadows here, this striking wildflower is hemi-parasitic on grass which makes the grass in the meadow less vigorous giving wild flowers a better chance of becoming established.
Wilmslow Parish Church is called St Bartholomew’s. The present day church dates from the 16th century and there are interesting carvings in the stone work including a “green man” on the wall of the church tower.