3.8 of 5 (21 votes)

The Gritstone Trail

A hard walk (countryside) starting and finishing in Cheshire, England, about 53.60km (33.31 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 18:15h (2 overnight stays). It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 863m (2831ft)
Descent 914m (2998ft)
Max. Elevation 400m (1312ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 1777m (5829ft)
Disley station
Car Free Walks TeamCreated by Timwoods on 26 Dec 2010
The Gritstone Trail is a fantastic three-day walk in the beautiful Cheshire countryside. The trail was recently extended so that it is easier to reach the start and finish using public transport, making it a perfect car-free walk! This route covers the full distance over three days. The route is well marked throughout, and has a few climbs but nothing more than 450 metres high. Much of the countryside is kept looking fine by the National Trust.

Walk Functions


Nearby Walks

Disley to Lyme Park circular walk

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A leisurely, circular walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) starting in Cheshire, England, about 8.70km (5.41 mi) long, duration: ~3:00h.

Gritstone Trail around Bollington and Rainow

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A strenuous, circular walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) starting in Derbyshire, England, about 21.20km (13.17 mi) long, duration: ~7:30h.

The northern edge of Kinder Scout

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A moderate, linear walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) starting in Derbyshire, England, about 12.90km (8.02 mi) long, duration: ~4:45h.

Walk Map

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OS Grid SJ971845
Start of the walk. From the station, head south Red Lane and then along Green Lane.
OS Grid SJ978831
Enter Lyme Park via East Lodge. Look out for The Cage, an old hunting tower dating back to the 18th Century.
About 1.57 km (~0.98 miles) from
OS Grid SJ979818
Sponds Hill is the first highpoint of the Trail - look out for views across to Kinder Scout in the east.
About 1.31 km (~0.81 miles) from
OS Grid SJ949788
The path heads southwest past Brink Farm and Berristall Hall, heading towards the town of Bollington.
About 4.28 km (~2.66 miles) from
OS Grid SJ941763
Follow the Trail heading south past Bollington, and start climbing Kerridge Hill by White Nancy. This landmark was built to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. Follow the ridge of Kerridge Hill and on to Tower Hill.
About 2.59 km (~1.61 miles) from
OS Grid SJ949724
The Trail heads past the hilly countryside near Macclesfield. The first day finishes at Tegg's Nose, a great place to see the gritstone that gives the Trail its name. From here, it is a short walk into Macclesfield for the first night's accomodation.
About 3.97 km (~2.47 miles) from
OS Grid SJ916735
Macclesfield has a few options for the night - find out more from: Macclesfield Tourist Information Centre, Town Hall, Macclesfield, SK10 1DX informationcentre@macclesfield.gov.uk Tel 01625 504114
About 3.42 km (~2.13 miles) from
OS Grid SJ945716
Start day two by hiking back to the Tegg's Nose Visitor Centre to pick up the Gritstone Trail. The route heads through the Country Park and past Tegg's Nose Reservoir and Bottoms Reservoir. These were built in 1850 and 1871 to power the mills in Macclesfield.
About 3.44 km (~2.14 miles) from
OS Grid SJ945696
From the reservoirs, the Trail runs past the edge of Macclesfield Forest and across the hilly ground near Sutton.
About 2.04 km (~1.27 miles) from
OS Grid SJ933675
Head up Croker Hill via Foxbanks. The telecommunications tower on the summit can be seen for miles around - you'll know where to go.
About 2.48 km (~1.54 miles) from
OS Grid SJ941665
After a short drop, it's up again to Wincle Minn. The Trail continues heading south, through Hawkslee and through the beautiful Shell Brook valley.
About 1.28 km (~0.8 miles) from
OS Grid SJ936626
The Gritstone Trail crosses the A523 near Rushton Spencer, where the Rushton Inn offers refreshment should you feel the need (why not, you're not driving!)
About 3.93 km (~2.44 miles) from
OS Grid SJ905637
One last climb for the day - The Cloud, where legend has it a giant left his shoe, which became the rocky summit.
About 3.28 km (~2.04 miles) from
OS Grid SJ861628
Continue past Timbersbrook and head off the Gritstone Trail into Congleton for the second night. Contact the Tourist Information Centre for options: Town Hall, High Street, Congleton, CW12 1BN, Tel: 01260 271095, tourism@congleton.gov.uk
About 4.45 km (~2.77 miles) from
OS Grid SJ896627
Final day, head out nice and early and pick up the Trail near Timbersbrook. The route starts heading south past Congleton towards Whitemoor.
About 3.46 km (~2.15 miles) from
OS Grid SJ879605
It's a walk along the tops today - once you have climbed up Congleton Edge, it's high ground all the way to Mow Cop. Look out for the white clay deposits near Pot Bank.
About 2.68 km (~1.67 miles) from
OS Grid SJ858577
At the southern end of Congleton Edge is this gritstone pillar, left standing when the surrounding stone was quarried away.
About 3.59 km (~2.23 miles) from
OS Grid SJ834568
The final leg follows the Macclesfield Canal, past Scholar Green and Red Bull and into Kidsgrove.
About 2.44 km (~1.52 miles) from
OS Grid SJ839543
The end of the walk! There is accomodation here if you want to spend a final night before heading home, or head into Stoke-on-Trent. If you have time, take a look at the nearby Harecastle Tunnel (just south of the town), where iron-rich spring water turns the canal bright orange!
About 2.61 km (~1.62 miles) from

1 comment... join the discussion!

Sarah Johnson
31 Aug 2018
Great Article

Am tackling the walk at the end of September

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