The Macclesfield Forest area is well known for walking and biking, being situated some three miles from Macc. town. The area has been recently developed and now allows MTBs through the forest trail. It provides the MTBer with some great routes in the hilly Cheshire countryside. There are two cracking technical downhills here which are great to hone your skills on. Many options are available around the area and they can be mixed and matched. This loop has some road work in but is well worth it for the off road sections on offer.
Park the car at Ridgegate Reservoir just outside the little village of Langley. On a calm day you'll get a great photo!!
1. Ride back up the lane to the pub at the head of the reservoir. and turn right shirting the edge of the forest which is on your right.
2. After just under 0.5 mile you will see a gate on your left and a double track climbing up into the forest. Take it!! Follow this track as it twists and climbs for about 1 mile until you reach a gate and a small metalled lane called Hacked Way Lane. Turn right and climb the lane for 400 yds.
3. On the right is a rought track called Charity Lane which climbs for a short distance and then makes a great descent to another lane. Turn left and you will see a small chapel on your left. Go past this keeping right and then make another off road descent to the road in the "Bottom of the Oven".
4. Turn left and join another road up to the junction where there is a phone box. Turn right and climb on the road for 1 mile. At the junction turn right again onto the busy A537 climbing up to the pub the Cat and Fiddle, which is apparently the second highest pub in Britain!
5. You may want to take in some real ale here but you'll be fit for nothing if you do. It goes to your legs!!
6. Take the track across the road from the Cat and Fiddle for 1.5 miles dropping down into Danebower Hollow and to the road.
7. Turn right and pick up the road the A54 for 0.7 miles. Turn right onto a rough track which climbs for a short while and then make a fantastic rocky descent for 1.3 miles passing through a ford near the end.
8.Turn right onto the lane and make your way back to the forest taking a left turn after 1.2 miles up a very steep narrow "Quiet Lane". At the top there are great views and a forest track through a gate on your left. Take this.
9. Ride up the edge of the forest and then into it with a nasty little climb off to the left near the footpath to Shutlingsloe. The trail continues through the forest and downhill opening out to views across the area and some benches. Be sure to look at the Downhill Course which is just beyond the benches on the right. Drop down the track to the lane turn right then left and the reservoir is there. Back to the car!
Macclesfield is about 12 miles from Stockport in the North West of England.
From Stockport take the A6 through Hazel Grove and then the A523 to Macclesfield. Go through Macc. following signs to the left for Sutton and Langley. After 3 miles you pass through Langley village. Turn right at the pub, Leather's Smithy, at the head of the reservoir and park on the left.
You can park further along the lane in the official car park which costs £3.50 for the day. There is a mobile cafe there at weekends.
When to Bike
Biking is year round. There shouldn't be any problems. Obviously more difficult if there has been snowfall but that shouldn't be a problem really!
This year 2009/10 has seen a hard winter with lots of snowfall. Charity Lane has been unridable with snow drifts between the walls, being there for well over 2 months.