This weekend I’ve been in Edgeley, visiting my son and his girlfriend. Edgeley is in Stockport, which is in the region of Greater Manchester in the north west. Traditionally it always rains in that part of the world. As it has recently been raining a lot in all parts of the UK it really does not make much difference anymore!
On Sunday morning Tom and I went for a 10k run along the River Mersey to Cheadle and back. It was a beautiful sunny morning with blue skies. The path along the river is part of the Trans Pennine Trail, a cycle way that goes east to west (or west to east depending on your inclination) from coast to coast. There were a few cyclists and walkers as well as runners this morning.
In Stockport across the river Tom pointed out the man made caves in the steep banks. No one is quite sure when or why they were constructed. In recent years they have been lived in by homeless people which is sad, and dangerous – they are on a very steep embankment and in 2015 a woman slipped and fell 30 feet, injuring herself and having to be rescued by boat.
We turned off the river towards Abney Hall Park and ran through some woods to Abney Hall. It looked very impressive and the grounds are pretty. Upon writing this little blog post and doing some little bits of research I found a surprising fact – the current hall was built in 1847 and furnished and decorated by Pugin and JG Crace – who happens to be my great grandfather! They were both very fashionable interior decorators at the time, and responsible for many country houses and large projects such as town halls. The Hall is used for offices now and is closed to the public for most of the time. However sometimes they have open days, so I will keep an eye out for that!
Running on we came to Cheadle and Cheadle Green, a pretty (if rather waterlogged) area of grass next to a road junction. There is a war memorial here and also a memorial to a local doctor who was very popular judging by the photograph from the time – literally hundreds of locals turned up at the unveiling of the water fountain installed in his honour. Nowadays it is filled with flowers. Round the corner is another memorial – a carved wood statue of “Scotch Bob”.
Scotch Bob was the nickname of one James Telford, who drove horse drawn buses between Cheadle and Manchester for 35 years. Apparently he would recite the poetry of Robbie Burns while driving his bus, and was always cheery. In 1908 he had set a record of driving more than 60,000 miles on his route. His statue is placed near the bus stop appropriately!
The route back to Edgeley was mostly along a fairly main road, but as it was Sunday morning it was quiet. We finished our run with a jog through Alexandra Park, which in the nineteenth century was the site of a bleach works. This industry provided jobs for many local people, and the Sykes family who owned it for many years invested in the local area, providing housing and water reservoirs.
Back home and time for a tasty sausage sandwich breakfast!