Activities and information about Middlewood Way
Horse riding on the Middlewood Way
Horse riders can use the Middlewood Way from Bollington viaduct (Adlington Road) all the way to Rose Hill in Marple, a 11km (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.
Cycling on the Middlewood Way
The Middlewood Way offers easy and scenic cycling and is popular for leisure cycling year-round, especially on Sundays. It forms part of Route 55 of the National Cycle Network: visit the Sustran website for more information.
We ask cyclists to respect the rights of other users. Be aware that pedestrians may not hear you: use your bell and approach slowly. Where the Way is separated into two paths, we recommend using the wider path, which is shared with horse riders. Please give way to horses, to avoid startling them.
If you plan to cycle along the canal towpath, please take a look at some of the most frequently asked canal cycling questions on the Canal and River Trust website.
Wheelchair accessibility on the Middlewood Way
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 Middlewood Way (PDF, 4.8MB) 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 please contact the Canal and River Trust.
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.
A brief history of Middlewood Way
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.
Who manages Middlewood Way
The Middlewood Way runs 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 Canal and Rivers Trust.
Some additional information on the Middlewood Way can be found on The Marple Website.