Activities and Information for Rode Heath Rise
History of Rode Heath Rise
As with other areas of mid Cheshire valuable salt deposits lie beneath the surface in and around Rode Heath. It is believed that salt was first extracted in this area in the late 17th Century. In 1775 the Trent and Mersey canal was constructed through the Lawton Valley with a canal basin constructed to offload coal from the nearby Kidsgrove collieries and to export salt north to the Mersey and south to the Potteries and beyond.
By 1838 the site was a hive of industrial brine pumping activity and the site hosted a carpenter’s workshop, blacksmiths, a corn mill, coal yard, dockyard, lime kilns and offices. There were also eleven dwellings on site, a shop and a pub! However by the 20th century the industry had started to wane and the site eventually fell into disuse. The whole area was reclaimed in the 1980s and now very little remains of this once thriving industry. Management of the site commenced in 1984 and a number of small copses were planted and the path network was created that can still be enjoyed today.
Management of Rode Heath Rise
The main meadow on the Rise is managed as a traditional hay crop. This means that (apart from the footpaths which are cut separately) the grass is cut just once a year, usually in late summer. This allows time for the flowers to set seed and for the bulk of the vegetation to be removed from site. Doing this continually, year on year leads to an overall drop in soil fertility which is generally beneficial to flowering species which otherwise wouldn’t be able to out-compete the more vigorous grass species.
The woodland is naturally wet and was planted up by a previous owner with poplars (probably with a view to meeting the demand at that time for wood to make matches). Nowadays the wood is left to regenerate naturally and contains a mix of species including willow, alder, ash and elder.
Management of the site is supported by Odd Rode Parish Council
Beyond Rode Heath Rise
Close to the Rise there are village amenities; pubs, shops and takeaway, with Rode Hall and Gardens a popular tourist destination just one mile away.
From the Rise there are plenty of pleasant country walks. The canal towpath can be followed north towards Wheelock and Middlewich or South towards Kidsgrove and the Harecastle tunnel or to link on to the Macclesfield canal. Also nearby is the Salt Line discussed railway and the adjacent Borrowpit Meadows with lakeside walk and an extensive path network.
For a couple of short suggested walks from the Rise, please visit the Visit Cheshire website.