Hot spring and dog-friendly campsites in Macclesfield Forest

Birdwatch on woodsy trails to Cheshire’s high points or mountain bike on the Peak District’s edge.

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Hot spring and dog-friendly campsites in Macclesfield Forest guide

Overview

Mere miles from bustling Macclesfield town yet with a surprising level of wild serenity, Macclesfield Forest is a small area of conifer forest in an enviable location on the Peak District National Park’s western edge. It constitutes part of the loneliest tract of land in Cheshire, including the county’s highest points, Shining Tor and Shutlingsloe, the latter being walkable from the forest. Meanwhile, the 190-mile Peak District Boundary Walk, bisecting the forest, is the area’s big hike, and there’s great nearby cycling too. Camp west in the gateway village of Sutton Lane Ends or south of Shutlingsloe at Wildboarclough.

Where to go

Sutton Lane Ends & Langley

These two villages comprise the main gateway to the forest to the west, and fall under the same overarching parish. Only a few miles from Macclesfield, a balmy, bucolic vibe pervades. There are several atmospheric pubs and the only organised camping site close to the forest. Continuing east from Langley up Clarke Lane, you’ll quickly reach the Macclesfield Forest’s edge.

Trentabank Reservoir

This reservoir is the heart of Macclesfield Forest, home to the Peak District’s largest heronry, a nature reserve, and visitor centre. Birdwatch or spot other creatures including badgers, weasels, and red deer, get refreshments at the Leather’s Smithy pub, or take to the forest walking and cycling trails. A great walk runs through the forest and up to Shutlingsloe summit.

Tegg’s Nose Country Park

On Macclesfield Forest’s north side is this irresistibly pretty country park, occupying the site of a former quarry and the surrounding steep-sided moors. Climbing and abseiling are big here, and the one-hour Rock’s Trail highlights the area’s geology with a visit to Tegg’s Nose summit. There is also the challenging ‘Grit and Gears II’ mountain bike route, a tearoom, and a visitor centre.

Shutlingsloe

Cheshire’s second-highest hill, Shutlingsloe is linked by footpath across the moor near Macclesfield Forest. Views from the 1,670-foot top are superb—over the Peak District and across most of Cheshire—and the summit is also the highest point on the 190-mile Peak District Boundary Walk. England’s last wild boar was supposedly killed nearby—which is one theory behind the etymology of Wildboarclough, the village below the hill where you’ll find camping and a pub.

South West Peak

The South West Peak region of the Peak District National Park rolls away east of Macclesfield Forest, typically the national park’s least-visited region. It’s a zone loosely bounded by Macclesfield, Buxton, Kettleshulme, and Ilam, mixing barren plateau with fetching lower-lying pasture, while deeply scored cloughs divide the two. Long-distance hikes passing through include the Dane Valley Way and Churnet Way. Wildboarclough and the Manifold Valley make beautiful, quiet camping bases.

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