Wildboarclough Visitor Guide
...in the shadow of the Matterhorn
Situated in the shadow of the so-called ‘Matterhorn of Cheshire’ – the 1,659ft /506m peak of Shutlingsloe – Wildboarclough today is a sleepy, off-the-beaten-track kind of place.
Originally known as Crag, its present name reflects the fact that it was once part of the Royal Forest of Macclesfield – where wild boar, deer and wolves were hunted in medieval times.
But Wildboarclough was later the centre of a thriving silk and carpet making enterprise, an off-shoot of the better-known silk mills of nearby Macclesfield, at Lower Crag Mill, where James Brindley installed the first machinery. All that is gone now, and Wildboarclough has reverted to its peaceful past.
WHERE IS IT?
Wildboarclough is on a minor road off the A54 Buxton-Congleton road, about six miles south west of Buxton.
The name of Wildboarclough means exactly what it says: it is the clough (rocky valley) of the wild boar, and is a reminder of the time when this secluded little Cheshire hamlet formed part of the royal hunting forest of Macclesfield. In those far-off days, it was hunted over and administered by Ranulph, the Earl of Chester.
Industry came to Wildboarclough in the mid 18th century when Abraham Bennett was the first to harness the power of the fast-flowing Clough Brook at Lower Crag Mill for the manufacture of silk and carpets. He employed a young James Brindley to install the first machinery.
One large Wildboarclough-made carpet was actually exhibited at the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace in 1851, and at its height, the Wildboarclough mills employed over 600 people. The imposing three-storey office building of Lower Carg Mill still survives and although now private apartments, was once the rather grand village post office.
PLACES TO GO
The Parish Church
The beautiful little dormer-windowed Edwardian Gothic red sandstone parish church of St Saviour was built by local landowner, the 16th Earl of Derby as a memorial for the safe return of his sons from the South African War. Earl Frederick Arthur Stanley had more reason than most for his thankfulness, because no fewer than five of his eight sons had served in the Boer War, his eldest son and heir being the aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Lord Frederick Roberts, Commander in Chief andone of the most successful generals of the Victorian era.
Three Shires Head, a short walk from the village, is a delightful spot where the three counties of Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire meet. The River Dane tumbles over a spilt waterfall beneath an ancient packhorse bridge, to be joined by Black Clough coming in from the east at Panniers’ Pool. The name is a reminder of the name of the baskets slung either side of the packhorses, which would often pause to enjoy the cool clear waters here on their way to and from Buxton and the Cheshire Plain.
In times gone by, Three Shires Head was a sort of legal no-man’s-land, for where the three counties met, ne’er-do-wells such as highwaymen, coiners from nearby Flash, and illegal bare-fisted prize-fighters could avoid the constables from one county by simply stepping over the border into another.
THINGS TO DO
To appreciate the best of the local scenery, the glorious seven-mile walk from Wildboarclough to Gradbach via Three Shires Head and back is recommended. From the village go up Cumberland Clough and across Cut Thorn Hill to the remote beauty spot of Three Shires Head. Then follow the River Dane along Turn Edge to Gradbach and over Tagsclough Hill and back into Wildboarclough.
FOOD AND DRINK
A popular haunt for walkers bent on ascending the nearby peak of Shutlingsloe, known as ‘The Matterhorn of Cheshire’, is the cosy Crag Inn at Wildboarclough (01269 227239), which boasts open fires, a selection of real ales and traditional food, including a popular Sunday carvery.
At Blaze Farm near Wildboarclough (01260 227229), you can sample creamy ‘Hilly Billy’ ice cream in a vast range of unusual flavours, made from the farm’s own milk. Choose from Double Dutch Chocolate, Ginger, Irish Cream, Pistachio and Almond, Turkish Delight and White Chocolate Mountain, to mention just a few. You’ll also find a friendly tea room, farm trail and a paint-a-pot studio to keep the children amused.
The Stanley Arms at the charmingly-named Bottom of the Oven at Macclesfield Forest, near Wildboarclough (01260 252414) offers a relaxed atmosphere, cask-conditioned real ales, good food and fine wines served in the bar and restaurant. Specialities include ‘Bottom of the Oven Lamb.’
The licensed Peak View Tea Rooms on the A537 Buxton-Macclesfield road (01298 22103) provides homemade food near the famous Cat and Fiddle pub, with unrivalled views over the Cheshire Plain. Options include sandwiches, jacket potatoes, all day breakfasts, cakes and puddings, plus soups, roast dinners, fish dishes and vegetarian specials.
- Buxton, spa town and shopping centre
- Macclesfield, former silk manufacturing town
- Macclesfield Forest, former royal hunting ground
- Chatsworth, the “Palace of the Peak”
- Gawsworth Hall, charming stately home
Tourist Information Centres
Buxton Tourist Information Centre, The Crescent, Buxton SK17 6BQ; 01298 25106; www.highpeak.gov.uk; open daily
Macclesfield Tourist Information Centre, Town Hall, Macclesfield, SK10 1DX; 01625 504114; www.macclesfield.gov.uk; open daily.
© Let's Stay Peak District
Last Updated: 22 Jun 2015