The National Trust and Stately Homes
The Roebuck Inn is ideally situated to be in easy reach of a number of National Trust properties and stately homes. Below are the closest, and the most beautiful, that Cheshire has to offer. Take a walk around the gardens, or a hike through the countryside, potter around the houses or get tea and cake in the cafes.
The National Trust – Tatton Park
Tatton Park is the closest National Trust property to The Roebuck Inn, located just beside Knutsford village.
The grounds are extensive, (2,000 acres of landscaped deer park, woodland, meres and farmland make up the Tatton estate of which 1,000 acres are open to the public for exploring by bike, on foot, with your dog or on horseback.)
For bird lovers the New Allen Bird Hide on the edge of Tatton’s Melchett Mere provides the perfect spot for watching birds. The parkland is home to herds of Fallow and Roe deer which roam freely in the wide open spaces. Rare breed St Kilda and Soay sheep have also been a feature since 1887 and the 1930s respectively.
The refurbished head Gardener’s Cottage is now a delightful tea room. In the nice weather you can sit outside and overlook the stunning orchard and walled gardens; inside it’s cosy, homely and quaint. Visit for afternoon tea or enjoy a more substantial lunch with lovely touches such as salad picked fresh each day from the kitchen garden.
You can pay to park in the Tatton Park car park where you are close to the house, gardens, cafes, shops and the large adventure playground. Car parking costs £6. As the property is owned by the National Trust but managed by Cheshire East Council, even National Trust members must pay to park, though they can use their cards to visit the house and gardens.
If you prefer to stretch your legs a little more, you can start your walk from Knutsford village, using one of the numerous car parks there, and access the park via the King’s Street entrance then walk the 2 ½ miles to the house entrance.
There is also a lovely circular walk (see map below) starting from a lay-by just two miles from The Roebuck Inn, entering Tatton Park and circling the beautiful mere, into Knutsford village where you can treat yourself to a much deserved lunch (or cake?! See the list of cafes and eateries in Knutsford), and then ending with a short walk back to your car.
For opening times and prices visit: www.tattonpark.org.uk
Contact: 01625-374-400. Visit: Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16
The National Trust – Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill is a cotton mill built in 1784 and is replete with fully functioning machines, powered by steam and a water wheel. Explore the mill, learn about the cotton industry and the Industrial Revolution and be amazed by the noise of the machinery and the scale of the work done there. It is an impressive piece of Northern heritage.
Take a guided tour around the Apprentice House (a highlight and not to be missed) to understand more about how the children who worked at the mills lived.
There is a lovely shop and café to visit. Car parking costs £5 to non-National Trust members.
For opening times and prices visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank
Contact: 01625-527-468. Visit: Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4LA
The National Trust – Nether Alderley Mill, Alderley Edge & Cheshire Countryside and Hare Hill
Concealed under the long sloping roof of this medieval building, Nether Alderley Mill is a fully restored, working corn mill. It is one of only four virtually complete corn mills in Cheshire. Take a guided tour and learn all about the process of milling and hear fascinating stories about the lives of the millers.
Hare Hill is a tranquil woodland garden, surrounded by parkland, with a delightful walled garden at its heart. Enjoy this informal garden as it comes alive throughout the seasons. The walled garden is best in late summer – the perfect place for a picnic, croquet or giant dominoes. Sitting on the grass in the sunshine, you could be in a different era, or even in a piece of English romantic fiction. Autumn provides a great opportunity for invigorating walks around the garden and surrounding parkland.
If you are visiting the estate only, you have to pay to park. The car park charge is refunded on entry to Hare Hill gardens.
There are some fantastic walks you can enjoy of varying lengths and difficulties that take in all Alderley Edge’s countryside has to offer. See the attached maps for details of these and if you require a copy please ask a member of staff at the Roebuck Inn who will print a paper copy for you.
The Legend of the Wizard of the Edge
Once upon a time a farmer from Mobberley, mounted on a milk-white horse, was crossing the Edge on his way to Macclesfield to sell the animal. He had reached a spot known as the Thieves’ Hole, and, as he slowly rode along thinking of the profitable bargain which he hoped to make, was startled by the sudden appearance of an old man, tall and strangely clad in a deep flowing garment.
The old man ordered him to stop, told him that he knew the errand upon which the rider was bent, and offered a sum of money for the horse. The farmer, however, refused the offer, not thinking it sufficient. “Go, then, to Macclesfield,” said the old man, “but mark my words, you will not sell the horse. Should you find my words come true, meet me this evening, and I will buy your horse.” The farmer laughed at such a prophecy, and went on his way.
To his great surprise, and greater disappointment, nobody would buy, though all admired his beautiful horse. He was, therefore, compelled to return. On approaching the Edge he saw the old man again. Checking his horse’s pace, he began to consider how far it might be prudent to deal with a perfect stranger in so lonely a place. However, while he was considering what to do, the old man commanded him, “Follow me!” Silently the old man led him by the Seven Firs, the Golden Stone, by Stormy Point, and Saddle Bole.
Just as the farmer was beginning to think he had gone far enough, he fancied that he heard a horse neighing underground. Again he heard it. Stretching forth his arm the old man touched a rock with a wand, and immediately the farmer saw a ponderous pair of iron gates, which, with a sound like thunder, flew open. The horse reared bolt upright, and the terrified farmer fell on his knees praying that his life might be spared. “Fear nothing,” spoke the Wizard, “and behold a sight which no mortal eye has ever looked upon.”
They went into the cave.
In a long succession of caverns the farmer saw a countless number of men and horses, the latter milk-white, and all fast asleep. In the innermost cavern heaps of treasure was piled up on the ground. From these glittering heaps the old man bade the farmer take the price he desired for his horse, and thus addressed him: “You see these men and horses; the number was not complete. Your horse was wanted to make it complete. Remember my words, there will come a day when these men and these horses, awakening from their enchanted slumber, will descend into the plain, decide the fate of a great battle, and save their country. This shall be when George the son of George shall reign. Go home in safety. Leave your horse with me. No harm will befall you; but henceforward no mortal eye will ever look upon the iron gates. Begone!”
The farmer lost no time in obeying. He heard the iron gates close with the same fearful sounds with which they were opened, and made the rest of his way to Mobberley.
For opening times and prices visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hare-hill
Contact: 01625-584-412. Visit: Prestbury Road, Over Alderley, Cheshire, SK10 4QB
The National Trust – Dunham Massey
What I love so much about Dunham Massey’s parkland is its towering wall perimeters – you feel as if you’re in an enormous private oasis and within the walls there are deer, a working saw mill powered by a water wheel, ponds with an array of wildlife living in and around them, woodlands, grassy avenues, a breath-taking formal garden and of course the mansion itself. You could be in the middle of the English countryside, instead you’re just a few miles from Manchester’s urban sprawl.
The shop and restaurant recently underwent major refurbishment and you can find yourself spending hours before you even enter the grounds just browsing and eating. The deer are incredibly tame and you are able to get very close to them, the mansion is regularly the host to fascinating exhibitions and you could spend an entire day just in the formal gardens.
For opening times and prices visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey
Contact: 0161-941-1025. Visit: Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ