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Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge, a dramatic red sandstone escarpment which reaches to 600 feet (160 metres) above the surrounding landscape, offers impressive views. On a clear day it is possible to see Manchester, Stockport and the Pennine Hills beyond.

Alderley Edge

The wooded escarpment is designated an Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its geology. Alderley Edge escarpment has been a site of copper mining for many centuries. The Alderley Edge Mines consist of an extensive series of workings with a number of entrances. There is evidence to suggest that mining first took place there in the Bronze Age and in Roman times. A fourth century Roman coin hoard was found in an abandoned shaft at the Engine Vein mine in 1995. An archaeological excavation was undertaken and timbers were revealed which were carbon-dated to the last century BC.

An ample National Trust car park is provided, near to which stands the Wizard restaurant, which provides excellent meals.

Beech woodland at Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge, Cheshire

Alderley Edge has long had associations with wizards and witches and is shrouded in myth and legend. The folktale regarding the Wizard of the Edge relates the tale of a Mobberley farmer crossing the Edge whilst taking a fine white horse to market. The farmer encountered an old man, with a long white beard dressed in strange clothing. On recieving an offer to purchase the horse from him, the farmer refused, to be told he would not sell the horse at market and furthermore, would sell it to him before the day was out.

Alderley Edge

The farmer failed to acquire a purchaser at the market and on his way home, the legend relates, encountered the strange old man again, who bade him follow him to a large rock. When the wizard touched the rock with his wand two large iron gates appeared and opened before his eyes. Inside the cave lay sleeping knights and their horses. All the horses were milk white. In the innermost cave the wizard is said to have pointed out a large pile of gold and jewels, telling the farmer to take his payment for the horse. The wizard explained that one day in the future, when England stood in great danger the army would wake and ride out onto the Cheshire plain to save the country.

The Druid's Circle at Alderley Edge, a folly that probably dates to the 19th century

Druid's Circle. Alderley Edge

The Druid's Circle is situated in the woods on the path between Stormy Point and the Beacon. The Druid's Circle is not a true prehistoric stone circle, it is around 200 years old and has no earth lines registered around it. Alan Garner claims that his great-great grandfather Robert Garner created the circle. The Holy Well has pagan links and possibly dates from Anglo-Saxon times. In 1843, Robert Bakewell told how the waters from the well, “are said to be a cure for barrenness.” As well as this he reported how a large boulder fell from the Holy Well Rocks above it around 1740, and “a woman and a cow are said to have been buried under it.”  A few yards below it is the Wishing Well, also known as the de Trafford Well which also has pagan links, the hollow just by it is a trial working was probably made by miners searching for copper, although Alan Garner has suggested that the cave may have been a result of the Romanticisation of the Edge in the eighteenth century, with the cave being cut to ressemble hermit's cell.

The Wishing Well, or de Trafford Well

Wishing Well, Alderley Edge

The highest point on the Edge was originally a Bronze Age burial mound. It was later used as a fire beacon site which would have been lit as a signal to warn of the imminent invasion. Alderley Edge is wreathed in legend. It was one of the many legends associated with the Edge which inspired Alan Garner to write his book The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.

In the 1960s the Edge had a reputation as the meeting place for a witch's coven (which also occurs in Garner's tale). The coven was broken up, however, and in the present day there are more visitors interested in seeing the sights of the Edge than in practicing magic. Some come looking for the iron gates, which are supposed to lie between Stormy Point and the Holy Well, though no one has ever found them.

The Wizard's Well

The Wizard's Well is formed by a natural spring close to Castle Rock.

Water springs from a huge rock and runs down into a stone trough. Carved into the rock above the well is the bearded face of a wizard, under which is an inscription which reads 'Drink of this and take thy fill for the water falls by the Wizhard's will'. The wizard's face is said to be the work of Robert Garner, a local stone mason and the great-great-grandfather of local author Alan Garner (famous for his book The Weirdstone of Brisingamen). The wizard's face appears to be older than the inscription which is thought to have been added sometime later by a Mr Simeon Slater of Leigh, Lancashire. Another 'face' can be seen a few yards along the track towards Castle Rock.

A walk at Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge Mines

Alderley Edge Village

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