A walk out in Styal, Cheshire

by Veronica

Styal is one of the first places I recall. An old textile mill village in the heart of Cheshire has been taken over and preserved. It's the perfect place for an afternoon walk.

I am doing the Manchester Midnight 10km in June in aid of the local cancer hospice and I am busy exercising and getting myself ready, fast walking, exercise biking, aqua aerobics. What better place then for a brisk up and down walk than the beautiful former mill hamlet of Styal in Cheshire, England. I went there this afternoon and did about an hour's brisk waking in crisp Spring Cheshire air.

I consider myself very blessed to live where I do. I am within a few miles of several beautiful locations and some bustling cities too.

Styal is a hamlet/ village on the River Bollin in Cheshire, England. The history of Styal was determined by Quarry Bank Mill . The mill, village and woods are owned by The National Trust. Mill owner Samuel Greg had the village built for his workers.

It was remarkable in its day; a mill out in the countryside clean air and care for the workers at a time when nearby Manchester and Macclesfield mills had workers living and working in desperate conditions. Life was still harsh but easier than in other mills. Samuel Greg had a school, dentist and doctor for his workers and also mill cottages. Plus, there was clean air.

I love it here!

Styal

A Walk in Styal by the River Bollin
A Walk in Styal by the River Bollin

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal

Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill
all photos are my own

The mill is on the bank of the River Bollin  which Samuel Greg realised could power water wheels and so make cheaper cloth as the water was freely available.

It  is one of the best preserved mills in England and is now a museum . The water wheel can still be seen today moving as the River Bollin passes through it.

water wheel at Styal Mill
water wheel at Styal Mill
water wheel
water wheel

Fish Pass/ Salmon Run

For many years fish stopped navigating the Bollin. The weir was seen to be largely responsible for this as the fish could not navigate it. Hence last year a Fish Pass / Salmon Run was built going round the weir . Fish are returning to the Bollin in Styal now.

The weir on the River Bollin
The weir on the River Bollin
weir and fish pass
weir and fish pass
Information Board re Fish Pass
Information Board re Fish Pass

Styal Walks

Woodland Walk

There are many woodland walks around Styal. After visiting the weir,  we started our walk.

 

Styal Cross
Styal Cross
Ponds
Ponds

Styal Cross used to stand on the road but was damaged one night by a driver. It was repositioned and rebuilt inside the village to keep it safe away from the road.

There are many ponds as the walk progresses and also beautiful countryside.

In the woods

Styal chapel
Styal chapel

The little chapel in the woods is very popular for weddings. What a lovely location for a wedding. The gate to the woods is close to the chapel. There are several bridges to make sure people can cross little gullies and streams.

Northern woods gateway.
Northern woods gateway.
Through Styal woods
Through Styal woods

The RIver Bollin

Sometimes swiftly flowing, sometimes calm the River Bollin wends its way through the woods before it reaches the weir. It meanders as below in the picture, glistens when the sun shines through the trees and has  fallen trees in it too!

a meander in the river
a meander in the river
trees like the Loch Ness Monster
trees like the Loch Ness Monster
Spring Sunlight on the Bollin
Spring Sunlight on the Bollin

There are many walks all over the woods but this walk is my favourite one.

Oxbow Bridge
Oxbow Bridge
Oxbow Bridge
Oxbow Bridge
Kingfisher bridge
Kingfisher bridge
Kingfisher Bridge
Kingfisher Bridge
The Mill Cottages
The Mill Cottages

The Mill Cottages were originally designed for the workers but now they are very expensive homes  and much to be desired.

I really enjoyed this today and will soon return. It is one of our regular walks.

Updated: 04/13/2016, Veronica
 
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frankbeswick on 03/31/2016

I have not, but you have given me an idea for an article. However, it will be some time yet, as I would need to gather photographs, and this is the wrong time of year for most fungi, especially woodland ones, that tend to come up in Autumn [Fall.] There is another problem that more than one woodland is needed, as different sorts of fungi are found in relation to different tree species. At Styal there is birch and oak, sycamore and pine, along with the ubiquitous hawthorn near the edges, but I have not made a comprehensive note of the variety of tree species present there, I am doing this from memory. I have collected elderberries from the wood for wine making.

I am unsure of the future of any ash trees there because of the fungal disease ash die back, which is ravaging Britain's ash trees and is almost impossible to stop. There are some resistant strains of ash, and the seed banks are making preparation for the worst case scenario.

Veronica on 03/31/2016

Have you done a wizzley post on types of woodland fungus. That would be a fascinating read for ,many I am sure.

frankbeswick on 03/31/2016

You mention fungi in Styal woods. There are many examples of birch polypore, and I have also seen beefsteak fungus [Fistulina hepatica.] I can recall some examples of Hypholoma fasiculare [Sulfur Tuft] and also some examples of oyster fungus [Pleurotes ostreatus.] There are beyond Giant's Castle Bridge fields of cattle, where you might in Autumn find agarics, which are common in fields of that type, though after the cattle have gone. There are woodland sections near there that I have yet to explore fully, so there could be other species that I have yet to see.

Veronica on 03/31/2016

We were surprised once to meet my brother, his wife and family out for a walk there at the same time as we were. He was looking at the various fungus around the woods.

There has been a lot of work done to the river and footpaths recently.

frankbeswick on 03/30/2016

Styal manages to combine a beautiful woodland, a lovely river, a nineteenth century village and mill with real character and the Ship Inn, whose oldest part was erected in the sixteenth century. I can remember when Styal Cross was still on the road, before the lorry hit it. I was in my mid teens at the time, whizzing round the roads on my cheap bike.

I first saw nuthatches in Styal Woods. These birds, which resemble kingfishers, are the only birds that have the ability to walk down a tree.

The soil in the woods is rich and deep with generations of leaf mold. It makes for soft walking underfoot, but there is much mud in wet weather, so it can be soggy. The southern woods which go towards Wilmslow run through a stretch in which the river has not been contained but allowed to run naturally. It makes for a walk that differs from the more popular walk that many people take to Giant's Castle Bridge.

Veronica on 03/30/2016

Cheshire, England is a very green county. I hope I have shown that in my Cheshire pages on Wizzley. You can google image Cheshire England and see more if you want to.

Veronica on 03/30/2016

It is a place to which one has to return . There is a special atmosphere about Styal and the air is clear. I love having the Styal breeze blowing my hair.

Veronica on 03/30/2016

TY. You are right; it is the combination of nature with those buildings that makes it what it is. It is very soothing.

frankbeswick on 03/30/2016

I grew up on an estate a couple of miles from Styal, and as boys we used to go there on our bikes to explore the woods.

blackspanielgallery on 03/30/2016

Both the natural scenery and the older buildings make a wonderful set of images. It appears to be a quiet place.


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