A stroll through Macclesfied Forest

On a perfect day for a walk, with not a ripple on Ridgegate Reservoir, we met in the lay by at the far end from the Leather Smithy.

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We set off up the path, that I know as my favourite sledging place – it’s just perfect when covered with snow.

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We were priveliged to be led by an exranger who knew all the paths and points of interest, which he gladly shared. We headed up through the trees

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and reemerged at the point where my sledge run starts.

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As we walked along one of our party told us of how they planted these trees when he was a youngster at school – the older boys were plucked out of school for two weeks to help plant the forest – nothing’s changed, someone is always looking for a cheap/free source of labour.

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Soon we reached the top of Nessit Hill with its breath taking view. Many say the best in Cheshire – made better by the removal of trees on the downward slope. Harvested 80 years after being planted – perhaps by our friends older school friends!

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Here we took an early break

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and posed for photographs

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who could blame us with such spectacular views in every direction

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A patch of thistles played host to some Gate Keeper butterflies (You can tell it is a Gate Keeper as it has two small white dots on the black blob).

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Off across the moorland we treked

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with open views

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and its path towards Shuttlingsloe.

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We gathered to wait for stragglers.

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and here I learnt that the path now goes both directions round Shuttlingsloe and you can gain entrance to Shuttlingsloe by a wicker gate – made by our walk leader!

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With one last look towards the reservoirs

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we again set off across the moor

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enjoying the expansive views all around us.

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We reached yet another thicket of thistles, here Small Tortoise Shell butterflies enjoyed the nectar.

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Having lingered at the thistles, I hurried down to catch up.

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At the bottom, on a grassy bank a Gate Keeper butterfly posed clearly wanting to be photographed.

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Then back amongst the trees

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with its shaded path

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and little stream

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which disappeared into the little valley

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as we took the wooden path

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before heading down again

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and passing the interesting shape of the roots of a fallen tree

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Finally we reached the stream that led us back to the cars.

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After such a perfect walk we could not resist having a swift half and trying the food in the Leather Smithy.

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The sandwiches were great – or is it just the afterglow of such an enjoyable walk and such good company!

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