Start – Wildboarclough car park SJ987698, Distance – 12km, Ascent – 510m, Time – 3hr 45min plus stops.
For those of a more adventurous disposition, here’s a walk that does its best to avoid established paths. Starting with an ascent of Shutlingsloe (which is compulsory for walks in this area), the route then turns right off the path to Macclesfield Forest and follows the high ground across to Buxtors Hill and descends on a concession path to the edge of the Forest. The next section is easy enough, until you get to Torgate Farm. From the right of way just before the farm, a concession path turns right and first crosses and then runs alongside the stream in Chest Hollow. This path ultimately turns left and north-east towards the Cat and Fiddle, but just before this turn is a gate on the right that lets you cross the stream and head south-east instead. (Are you following this? Good!) After crossing the stream, follow a faint path heading slightly left straight up the steep hill. At the top, turn right towards the dry stone wall. Follow this wall along the top of the edge, across the start of the Cumberland Brook, and continue to follow the old wall along the ridge. You then head down the hill and across the moorland to the flat top of the un-named hill east of Wood Moss, which is a good place to see Lapwings and Curlews in the spring. The descent from here follows an old wall north to a stream and then re-joins the main path alongside Cumberland Brook. Phew! Although it all sounds a bit complicated, you can’t really get lost as you’re never far from a path or road and the terrain, though rough in places, is not impassable. Don’t forget to take a map and compass though!
Looking across to Shining Tor from the moorland around Buxtors Hill
More cloud-topped moorland, this time looking across towards the Cat and Fiddle area
Charity Lane on the edge of Macclesfield Forest, as seen from Buxtors Hill
Despite my best efforts, for some reason I couldn’t open the gate! This is the gate giving access to the Buxtors Hill moor from Macclesfield Forest
Looking across to Shining Tor from the minor road leading from Macclesfield Forest down to Bottom-of-the-Oven.
The Dane Bower ridge across the head of the Cumberland Brook. The ridge is best crossed on faint paths running just below the old stone wall, seen here just to the left of the snow fields.