Dan Hobson

A panoramic ridge hike through Cheshire’s finest scenery — Gritstone Trail


A panoramic ridge hike through Cheshire’s finest scenery — Gritstone Trail

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson



3-5 h

/ day

37.4 mi

4,600 ft

4,725 ft

The Gritstone Trail is a ridge hike that explores beautiful landscapes, historic sites, and hill summits with awe-inspiring panoramic views.

Starting from Disley, the trail travels 35 miles (56 km) along a romantically-rugged gritstone ridge above the Peak District and Cheshire Plain to finish in Kidsgrove.

As much of the walking is above 1,000 feet (305 m), you are treated to magnificent views for much of the way, which stretch as far as the Welsh hills.

Along the way, you experience some of Cheshire’s finest walking and explore many wonderful places, including: White Nancy, a famous landmark on Kerridge Hill; Tegg's Nose, a hilltop with breathtaking views and Bronze Age history; Macclesfield Forest; the spellbinding and folklore-rich summit of the Cloud; and Mow Cop, a place renowned for perfect panoramas, castle ruins, and a quirky gritstone column shaped like an old man.

The Gritstone Trail might not tackle mountains, but there are some long climbs and plenty of short-and-sharp ascents and descents. The trail can be very rugged in places too — boggy, rocky, slippery, and steep — and you need a good level of ability, as well as a reasonable level of fitness to tackle the trail.

Similarly, whilst the trail does not head too far off the beaten track, it does lead through some very remote countryside. Carrying a map, compass, and mobile device is recommended, as well as a first aid kit, enough food and water, and clothing for the weather conditions.

The Trail is well waymarked throughout using a mixture of fingerposts and yellow discs with a ‘G’ in a footprint.

In this Collection, I split the route into three stages; 12.9 miles (20.8 km), 14.6 miles (23.5 km), and 9.9 miles (15.9 km), respectively. Of course, you can divide the Collection into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage.

Every stage ends close to some accommodation. However, places to stay can be limited so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.

Both Disley and Kidsgove have train stations and good public transport links, which makes accessing the trail easy.

For more information about the Gritstone Trail, visit: cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure,_culture_and_tourism/ranger_service/countryside_sites/the_gritstone_trail/gritstone-trail.aspx.
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    12.9 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,850 ft
    1,775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On this first stage, you experience Anglo Saxon remains, a beautiful cascading waterfall, and breathtaking views.With 12.9 miles (20.8 km) of distance and 1,850 feet (564 m) of uphill, this is a challenging hike which sets the tone of the trail right from the start. From Disley, you hike along Green Lane before rising onto the moors past Lyme Hall, a 16th-century manor house.

  • Difficult
    14.6 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,025 ft
    2,100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage explores the wildlife-rich Macclesfield Forest and its reservoirs before rising up onto the Cloud, where more enchanting views await. With 14.6 miles (23.5 km) of distance and 2,025 feet (617 m) of climbing, this is a challenging hike and you will need a good level of fitness and stamina. From Tegg’s Nose Reservoir, the trail passes Bottoms Reservoir and then makes a short loop into Macclesfield Forest to visit the stunning Trentabank Reservoir.

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  • Intermediate
    9.91 mi
    2.3 mph
    725 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The final stage is a leisurely hike that explores stunning countryside and the magnificent Mow Cop.With 9.9 miles (15.9 km) of distance and 725 feet (221 m) of uphill, this is a short-and-sweet route which makes for a perfect finish after two tough previous stages. The trail starts at Timbersbrook Picnic Area, once the site of a large silk mill, and crosses fields to the Biddulph Valley Way, which you follow for 1.5 miles (2.4 km).

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    37.4 mi
  • Duration
    17:13 h
  • Elevation
    4,600 ft4,725 ft

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Dan Hobson

A panoramic ridge hike through Cheshire’s finest scenery — Gritstone Trail