Whilst not strictly in the Peak District, Macclesfield lies just below on the Western edges of its moorland which rises up beyond on the infamous A537 “Cat & Fiddle” road – labelled the most dangerous road in England!
It is a town well-equipped with amenities and although it sprawls outwards to large retail parks and superstores on its perimeters, the centre is small and attractive, with an excellent selection of local shops and small versions of national stores. Many of the streets are pedestrianised and some are cobbled, retaining their historic character. There is an imposing Georgian Town Hall and in the market place stands the impressive St Michael’s Church – worth a look as it contains fine medieval monuments and other interesting architectural features.
However, Macclesfield’s industrial heritage offers alternative diversions from the hillside town; down below flows the Macclesfield Canal where you can wander along the towpath. Take a look at the magnificent Hovis Mill – it was here that, until 1904, the flour was milled in a certain way that made Hovis loaves a reality. The canal also served the silk mills for which Macclesfield was famous. The Silk Heritage Centre in the middle of town gives you the opportunity to buy silk items which are still manufactured in Macclesfield and there is also more to discover at Paradise Mill, a short walk away, or at West Park Museum, a ten minute walk from the Heritage Centre.
Away from the town, Macclesfield is surrounded by some impressive countryside. The moorland peaks of Cats Tor and Shining Tor are accessible after a ten minute drive; the beautiful Macclesfield Forest, Teggs Nose Country Park and Trentabank reservoir are all a similar distance away and access to walks up “Cheshire’s Matterhorn” – Shuttlingsloe – is around a twenty minute drive. Just to the North is Kerridge Hill with the distinctive white tower known as White Nancy and impressive views of the town; to the East is Alderley Edge, where you can take woodland strolls in mythical countryside. A short drive to the South-West will take you to Gawsworth, where you will find the beautifully maintained Gawsworth Hall, a Tudor mansion dating back to 1480; various events are held here throughout the year, including an arts festival in the summer months, with open-air theatre played against the backdrop of the half-timbered hall and surrounding hills.
So, whether you take the twenty-five minute train journey from Manchester or drive the short distance from the Peak District, there is much to discover in an around the historic town of Macclesfield