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Chester, Cheshire
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Tegg's Nose Walk 4

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Download audio/visual 'Tegg's Nose From Your Armchair Track 4'

The text below is a transcript of Track 4 of the walk.

Many of the buildings in Macclesfield are built of Tegg’s Nose stone, and Sainsbury’s is one that’s built out of the demolished infirmary and you can see the beautiful red stone.

During the summer we had a geologist visit the park, Dr Cynthia Bureck and I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about the park’s geology:

Ian – What sort of rock is it Cynthia in the quarry?

Dr Cynthia Bureck – It’s sedimentary rock. It’s sandstone, it’s quite old. It’s carboniferous sandstone.

Ian – You’re rushing me there a bit, what does sedimentary mean?

Dr Cynthia Bureck – Oh, sedimentary means that it’s been glued or stuck together from things that were there previously.

Sainsbury's stone wall

Ian – How old is it?

Dr Cynthia Bureck – It’s about 325 million years, give or take a couple of million.

Ian – Where was Britain when that was around?

Dr Cynthia Bureck – We were over the equator. It’s a time period called the carboniferous. The first part of that is carbon and there are a lot of coals around and that’s where the word carbon comes from.

View of Tegg's Nose from a distance

Ian – So why is it so hilly here when Cheshire is considered fairly flat?

Dr Cynthia Bureck – Most of Cheshire is a big basin surrounded on the east and the west by mountains and most of the basin is full of red rocks which are much much younger than the rocks around here. These rocks are quite resistant to weathering, they’ve been here an awfully long time. You can just look west and the whole of the Cheshire basin is there in front of you.

Ian – So did ice cover here?

Dr Cynthia Bureck – Yes, now we’re talking about a lot younger, much closer to us in time. Perhaps about 13,000 years ago, we would have been covered in ice, 14,000 years ago. By 10,000 years, we know the ice had disappeared, but you can imagine the ice moving as a body into the Cheshire basin and then just creeping up to the edge of the Pennines and then spilling over the top and just dumping everything. You know, dumping its sands and its gravels and its big boulders.

Ian – What about the valleys around here, were they formed by ice?

Dr Cynthia Bureck – Yes they were. They’ve been really etched out by the ice. Ice is like anything else, it likes weaknesses. So if there’s a weakness there, the ice will gouge that out in preference to something that’s harder. So all the valleys round here have been etched out by the ice.

Ian – Thank you Cynthia, that was very interesting.

It’s quite amazing to think that now we’re walking on stone that is 325 million years old. That the dinosaurs walked on it before me!

At the viewpoint you get a majestic view and down below us are two more reservoirs. The nearest of these is the Tegg’s Nose reservoir of 24.5 million gallons and the one next to it is Bottoms reservoir of 34 million gallons. That took some measuring I can tell you.

These were constructed to regulate the supply of water to the village of Langley and as we look down, that’s the village to the right as the whole village was founded on silk printing industry and it still has a silk printing factory there today.

Tegg's Nose reservoir

It’s quite interesting at this point to note how the landscape changes from the hedges on the right, and as the land rises now to the left the walls get more frequent. Between the forest reservoir and our two reservoirs is a farm called High Low Farm. Just to the left of the farm is a Barrow. Now, a Barrow is a burial chamber from the Bronze Age. It was about 800 years BC, 200 years BC, around that time. We have over 140 barrows in Cheshire.

The chamber could be used several times for later burials and they made them by digging a circular ditch and placing the earth and stones in a mound over the burial. The people who lived here probably used fancy new tools that were made from copper and mixed with tin. These axes would be fixed to wooden handles or deer antlers for a handle. The area is very rich in Bronze Age remains. Bronze Age man must have thought like me that it’s a nice place to live.

In the yard of this farm down there is a water trough and on the 13th of October in 1949, a brown trout died and it had lived in this trough for 20 years. It was 8 inches when it was put in and 17 and a quarter when it died. Not much happens in Langley really!

The woodland of the park is quite unique amongst country park sites as we have a large area of woodland that we don’t encourage the public to go into. It’s an area where we can leave trees to die in their own time and there just below us is the rubble I was telling you about that was dumped off the end of the Nose from the quarry.

 Macclesfield canal

As we leave the viewpoint now and move on, we can see out over the plain again and we can see the Macclesfield canal. It was one of the last to be built in Britain and Thomas Telford had his hand in its construction. The company went into receivership shortly after it was opened as the construction of the railway was closely following it. However it’s left us with a wonderful heritage of wonderful bridges and one of the most beautiful canals in Britain.

Walking down here, you get views over the country park. On the slopes are these gorse bushes, this really prickly plant.

Gorse was probably introduced to this area for animal fodder and I know you’re going to find this hard to believe but it was ground up and fed to animals.

The old country saying is typical of course that you can only kiss a girl when the gorse is in flower. Well there’s no need to hold yourself back here because the gorse is generally in flower somewhere on the site all the year round but it’s loveliest in the summer with the pods popping and the insect eating birds making hay in the bushes.

We’ll walk down the hill now to the bottom of the country park.

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