To White Nancy above Bollington

A curious white monument atop a grand view

NEAREST LOCATION

Bollington

RECOMMENDED BY
DISTANCE

4.4 miles (7.1kms)

ASCENT
715ft (218m)
TIME
2hrs 30 min
GRADIENT
DIFFICULTY
Medium
STARTING POINT
SJ936779

About the walk

Bollington lies just outside the far western edge of the Peak District National Park, but it continues to attract walkers and sightseers due in part to the short but inviting ridge of Kerridge Hill that overlooks the small Cheshire town. However, it’s not just the superb views that will hold your attention, but also the curiously shaped monument that occupies the far northern tip of the hill.

White Nancy, standing at 920ft (280m) above sea level, is a round stone construction that was built by the local Gaskell family in 1820 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. It was originally an open shelter with a stone table and benches, and was presumably a popular spot for picnics, but gradual decay and occasional vandalism led to it being bricked up, and now the building has no discernible door or windows, nor does it bear any plaque or information panel. Most striking of all, it is painted bright white. In terms of shape it resembles a large bell, or perhaps a giant chess pawn, with a large base that tapers into an odd little point. As for its name, the most entertaining version suggests that Nancy was the name of one of the eight horses that pulled the heavy stone table to the summit when the tower was built. Beacons are still lit next to it to mark special occasions.

Stone quarries

For all its scenic qualities, the lower western slopes of Kerridge Hill are still quarried, although this isn’t visible on the walk until you reach the main summit ridge. The dressed stone is used for roofing slates and paving slabs and originally it was removed via narrow boats on the Macclesfield Canal which also served the mills and factories that once dotted the Bollington area. For a while shallow pits in the hill even yielded enough coal to supply the local engine houses, as steam power replaced water power during the Industrial Revolution’s relentless advance. But inevitably your eye will be drawn to sights further afield, and if the weather is clear there will be good views across Macclesfield and the Cheshire Plain to the Mersey Estuary and the urban sprawl of Manchester, as well as the outline of the Pennines away to the north.

Walk directions

From the car park, turn left up the main road, then right at a roundabout on to Church Street. Turn left outside The Crown pub into Ingersley Vale. Rise up past some industrial buildings and as the bank to the right becomes a low gritstone crag, look up above it for a tall chimney. This used to serve the Ingersley Vale Mill, the ruins of which become visible just over a slight crest in the road.

Rise gently up the lane to a fork by some terraced cottages on your right, go right here. The weir and pond soon below on your left would once have fed the Ingersley Vale Mill. The lane then becomes a cool and shady path through the Woodland Trust’s Waulkmill Wood.

Leave the wood via a kissing gate and take a slabbed path across two sloping fields. The path briefly detours right and uphill around some buildings, then on through hillside fields, eventually crossing under a power line.

In the next field, fork left on a grassy path. Pass through a gate to run along the bottom edge of a new, mixed plantation, then through a gate and a woodland path to a walled track to reach the main road at Tower Hill.

Detour briefly left to see the folly of Tower Hill; for the main route, turn right and walk along the pavement for half a mile (805m). Turn sharp right into Lidgetts Lane.

As it bends almost immediately left, go straight ahead through a metal gate. Then go on to a gated track past a row of hawthorn trees. After another gate, fork to the left and follow this path up to the ridge above. Ignore the lower route by the right-hand fence.

After admiring the views at the monument (White Nancy), with Bollington spread out below, drop sharply down the pitched path beyond, then turn left on to a sunken concrete farm lane, descending to a lane on a bend. Turn right, then almost immediately turn right again on to a footpath which soon becomes a gently descending slabbed path. Fork left with the slabbed path into fields at a path junction, descending more steeply to a road junction at the top of Lord Street. Head steeply down Lord Street then retrace your steps from The Crown to the start.

Additional information

Field paths and farm tracks, roadside pavement, one short, sharp descent

Mostly gentle rolling pasture and small pockets of woodland

Under close control, on lead through farmland

OS Explorer OL24 Peak District – White Peak Area

Pool Bank free car park, on Palmerston Road

Adlington Road car park, in car park

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WALKING IN SAFETY

Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.

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About the area

Discover Cheshire

Nestled between the Welsh hills and Derbyshire Peaks, the Cheshire plains make an ideal location to take things slow and mess around in boats. Cheshire has more than 200 miles (302 km) of man-made waterways, more than any other county in England. The Cheshire Ring is formed from the Rochdale, Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Trent and Mersey and Bridgewater canals. This route takes you through a lot of Cheshire, and bits of other counties as well.

While exploring the county’s waterways, covering ground on foot or admiring the typical white plaster and black timber-frame houses, make sure to have a taste of Cheshire’s most famous produce. Although Cheddar has become Britain’s most popular cheese (accounting for over half of the cheese sales in the UK), it was once Cheshire cheese that was in every workman’s pocket back in the 18th century. Its moist, crumbly texture and slightly salty taste mean it goes well with fruit, peppers or tomatoes. As well as the usual white, there are also red and blue veined varieties.

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