Alderley Edge in Cheshire on a sunny afternoon makes a really lovely day out, as we discovered. It was quite busy around the entrance (and the ice-cream van), but once we walked further into the woods, the crowds thinned, it was peaceful and quiet with just the sound of birdsong.
This place has a mysterious reputation with tales of witches and wizards. Son was intrigued and it made him keen to explore. Just as we set out we found the Wizard tearooms, aptly named and great for refreshments. It is an old white barn, you can still see one of the old stable doors and the door to the loft where the hay was kept.
The path through the woods is lovely, trees galore to clamber over and investigate – kid heaven.
The rocky fault line is Engine Vein Mine. The whole area was once mined for copper, but not any longer. The mines are all sealed now. We did spot some dusty potholers around, apparently you can take guided tours of the (man-made) caves.
The Armada Beacon sits on top of a hill, fires were lit here to warn when the country was being invaded. A fire was lit here in 1588 to warn of a Spanish invasion. The light of the fire and those on the hilltops around the country were seen for miles. The warning spread and the Spanish were defeated at sea.
Our walk took us along muddy tracks, we saw squirrels, rabbits, beech trees and the sandstone edge itself. It is red, but lots of it is covered in moss. The different layers of stone all stacked on top of each other look pretty spectacular, just a shame people feel the need to carve their inititals.
Son was most interested in Wizard’s Well – it has the “face” of an old wizard if you look carefully at the stone. Also carved on the rock are the words “Drink of this and take thy fill, for the water falls by the wizard’s will.” The legend of the Wizard has been told round here apparently for centuries. They say that Merlin the wizard appeared to a farmer, hit his stick on the ground and the rock of the edge split open to reveal iron gates. In a cavern deep in the earth were sleeping warriors and white horses (King Arthur and his knights). The wizard said they were ready to awake and fight should England be in danger. After this, the farmer was shown back through the gates, they slammed shut and the rock face returned to normal.
We walked through deserted woods, climbed up steep and swampy ground up to Stormy Point. No trees grow here because the earth is too rich in minerals. We took a well earned rest, sat for a while and enjoyed the views.
Son added to his rock collection when he found this beauty. You can see the green traces of copper in the rock, it came home with us. He also walked inside a big crack in the stone, once part of a mine, now called The Devil’s Grave.
We walked through Waterfall Woods, clambered over lots of fallen trees and got incredibly muddy. A relatively challenging walk, but with the Legend of the Wizard to keep Son going and the wonderful views for us, it was a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.