The village of Mellor, originally lay in Cheshire but is now in the borough of Stockport, Greater Manchester; it maybe on the fringe of The Peak District, but it is not far from its highest summit at Kinder Scout, about six miles to the East, as the crow flies. Mellor Moor, to the South of the parish, rises to 1074 feet above sea level, while St Thomas’ Church stands on a promontory at 728ft. It occupies a commanding position, with fine views across the Cheshire Plain and is the major landmark for miles around. The late Saxon or, more accurately, viking period baptismal font still in use inside the church is worth seeking out. It is on this summit where the church now stands that the remains of an iron age hillfort have been discovered – part of a remarkable community archaeology project, with expertise from the University of Manchester. And all of this quite recently. Evidence for early settlement of the area came to light during the drought of 1995, when photographs taken by local historians, John and Ann Hearle, in the gardens and fields surrounding their home, the Old Vicarage, showed cropmarks on their lawn. These cropmarks, it was later ascertained, marked the defensive banks and ditches of the fort.
The countryside all around Mellor is hilly, dry-stone-walled green pasture, interspersed with wooded valleys; the rivers Goyt and Etherow are to the South and North, with accessible country parks and nature reserves, making this great walking country, within sight, if not sound of the Greater Manchester conurbation. Besides Mellor Moor, other nearby hills are Cown Edge and Lantern Pike, both of which offer great views of Kinder Scout to the East.
Mellor is served by two stops on the Sheffield to Manchester railway line, at either Strines, or Marple Bridge, both no more than two mile distant. Marple Bridge has some great local shops, cafes and pubs, while the small town of New Mills, a short distance to the South East, is a place of great interest, especially to anyone keen on industrial archaeology; it too has a wonderful range of local shops.
Mellor’s public house is The Odd Fellows Arms on Moor End Road – a 16th Century, stone-built coaching inn, offering excellent food, a fine selection of cask ales and one of the best wine offerings in the area. The pub and restaurant has undergone a complete refurbishment in 2009 and is under new ownership.
Tarden Farm Stables has riding lessons on offer, while golfers can head to Mellor and Townscliffe Golf Club; the course founded in 1894, is an interesting mixture of moorland and parkland on undulating fairways – with, of course, wonderful views across the Cheshire Plain.