A beautiful riverside walk following the River Bollin as it meanders its way to Quarry Bank Mill, where you can enjoy a walk around the grounds for free and enjoy a cuppa or ice cream in the cafe. It’s pram friendly only 2.5km and a lovely walk in all seasons.
This can be done either as an extension to the parkland The Carrs which you can read about here. or just on its own.
Parking is a bit of a sticking point. There are two choices, either park in one of The Carrs 2 car parks - we parked at The Twinnies Bridge car park which is small and free but get’s very busy and there’s nowhere else around it to park if you can’t get a space. The main Carrs car park (that’s a mouthful!) is bigger but again get’s very busy and does add on an extra two miles to the walk. Alternatively, you could park at Quarry Bank Mill itself and do the walk-in reverse, which given it’s a really easy route would be no problem, however, at the time of writing, you need to prebook a car parking space and if it’s busy they can’t guarantee you access into the grounds so again bear that in mind.
Starting from the Twinnies car park, the path is on the left-hand side of the toilet block. If you’re walking from The Carrs playground/main car park cross over the stone bridge into the Twinnies car park and you’ll see the toilet block ahead on the left-hand side.
Follow the path, then when you get to this junction after about 150m, turn left through the gate, spotting the National Trust Styal sign and head into the woods with the river on your left. The path is wide and fairly flat but will be muddy post summer.
Less than five minutes in you’ll come to this junction marked by a granite stone, which apparently travelled here from the Lake District during the last ice age! Ignore the right turn and follow the path as it curves round to the left.
Later the path will start to rise then drop back down to cross Heron’s Pool Bridge where if you’re lucky you can see some Herons and bats in the evening, although I’ll give the latter a miss thanks, I’m not a fan, I hate the way they go for your hair!
A bit further on there’s a large fallen tree lying across the river which the kids were fascinated by, the base is to the side of the path so they had a good poke around its roots. This part of the walk is really beautiful with large mature trees lining the left bank, the colours in the Autumn were stunning. You can also spot the quarry on your right from which parts of the Mill were built from the stone quarried here.
Keep following the path and eventually, you’ll come to the pretty Mill pond built in 1801 on your left-hand side. Just after, you’ll hear before you see, a sluice gate that controls the flow of water. You can take a left turn here on a path that does a little semi-circle round and meets the main path further up.
Otherwise, keep following the main path, you’ll pass the playground on the left which unfortunately at the time of writing is closed, the kids were not happy with me as I’d promised them a play!
The path ends at the grounds of Quarry Bank Mill, a National Trust owned property. Built in 1784 by a Samuel Greg, the textile mill is one of the best preserved mills from the Industrial Revolution. The water from the River Bollin was used to power the waterwheels and the mill was operational until 1959.
The grounds, cafe and shop are all free to walk around, payment (or free for NT members) is only needed to look round the Mill, main gardens and Apprentice House, all very worthy of a visit to see and imagine what it was like to work in such harsh conditions.
To return we retrace our steps back to the beginning. However, National Trust has this guide to the walk and uses a different return path. It also shows 2 other walks that can be done in the area, one which follows the River Bollin to Manchester Airport and the other around Styal, so I’ve bookmarked these for a later date!