Route: Norcliffe Chapel – Styal Country Park – Oversley Bridge – Burleyhurst Lane – Ross Mere – Lindow Common – The Carrs – Twinnies Bridge – Quarry Bank Mill.

Distance: Nine miles.

Turn left out of the Ship Inn car park, then go right down Hollin Lane, walking past the simple stone war memorial.

Turn right again down Holts Lane and you soon enter Styal Country Park, owned since 1934 by the National Trust who succeeded four generations of the Greg family.

The factory village was founded in 1784 by Samuel Greg, master cotton spinner.

At the crossroads adjacent to the Apprentice House you can go ahead to visit the Mill but, for this walk, turn right towards the village.

You soon reach Styal Cross, medieval in origin.

From here keep ahead again to the Northern Woods.

You can take either fork into the woods, but the left path probably takes you more directly down to the River Bollin.

Continue right, following its tortuous course to a bridge, which you cross before turning left to climb high above the river.

You then follow paths which all lead to a second bridge at the rock face known as the Giant’s Castle.

At its foot can be found the outlet of the tailrace tunnel from Styal Mill’s water-wheel.

Cross the bridge and climb up steps, before dropping back down to the river, the slipping, sandy banks often reinforced by fencing.

Continue through Arthur’s Wood and walk high above the river before turning left to cross Oversley bridge and approach the Holiday Inn.

Turn right down the side of the hotel car park and cut through a rough, overgrown area to a gap between the hedge and bridge railings.

Take care as you cross the A538.

Walk a few yards to the left, then go through a metal kissing gate.

Bear left to a second gate and climb steeply to a third gate.

From here, cross a field then go over a stream and bear right at a signpost pointing to Castle Mill.

Be sure to cross this field to the diagonally opposite corner, from where the path then drops through a wooded area to a bridge over a stream – a tributary of the Bollin.

Cross the bridge and continue through the wood with the Bollin below.

After a few minutes, pass a three-pointer signpost with no names on its arms and continue through a muddy section and uphill to two stiles.

Cross these then bear right (waymark) across a field to pass a small yellow marker post.

Bear slightly right from here to a signpost pointing to Castle Mill & Morley Green and cross the stile and turn left onto the lane.

The lane soon turns left and you eventually reach Blakeley Lane and Oak Farm, where you turn left alongside farm buildings to a stile into a field.

Walk along the side of this to a further stile and some ponds, and continue in the same direction to more stiles separated by a log bridge.

Bear immediately right here, then continue in the same direction as before until you spot a stile in the hedge beside you.

Cross this and turn right to Burleyhurst Lane, where you turn left.

At Burleyhurst Farm turn right, dropping down to a gate.

Cross the stile, and keep ahead on a raised grassy track.

Shortly before reaching Rossmere you turn right by an oak tree and walk up a cart-track.

Before entering the next field, turn left at another oak and keep down the right side of a field.

A stile, tucked behind a holly bush in the corner, brings you onto a stony track where you turn left, still skirting the water.

Keep ahead at a bridle-path junction which goes right to Moor Lane and left to Morley, and look out for the stone statue of a gardener which stands in the grounds of Newgate Kennels.

Then continue down Newgate to a road, where you cross onto Lindow Common.

Black Lake provides seats and a pleasant picnic spot, and you finally exit onto Racecourse Road, turning left to the A538.

From here you turn right for a short distance, crossing this busy road as soon as you safely can.

You then go through a gateway into a sports ground.

As you cross the grass, make for the far right-hand corner (behind the facing goalpost) where you will see a snicket.

Go down this, passing the end of Park Road which is lined by pretty, terraced cottages.

Cross a road (Broad Walk) and continue forward between two houses before bearing left down the hillside into The Carrs – a pretty area of parkland, through which the Bollin meanders between grassy banks and the occasional sandstone cliff.

Then bear left where there are both toilets (open weekends only!) and a car park.

At Twinnies Bridge bear right at the information board, then climb over a stile on your left and walk across the field.

Keep ahead to pass the transmitting station on Worms Hill, then go through an iron kissing gate.

Cross the track to walk through the car park after passing the reservoir, where the water-wheel shaft may tempt you to visit Quarry Bank Mill below, with all its delights.

Otherwise, to return to The Ship, continue along the path back to the village, and go ahead again at the next track to turn right past Oak Cottages.