Coming across the fields from Bredbury, walkers and cyclists go over the Goyt on the Jim Fearnley Bridge to the woodland of the Poise Brook Valley Nature Reserve.
The 40-years old bailey-type bridge itself is under threat because the Council is unwilling to fund a necessary upgrade. It is missing from the Bypass plans.
Crossing the bridge, the river itself is broad and sparkles in sunshine (if available). On the wooded western bank the hum of distant traffic can no longer be heard. This is a secluded but popular spot whose tranquility would be destroyed by the Bypass’s 200-metre bridge (or alternatively the 550-metre high-level bridge) around two hundred metres away to the east.
The Nature Reserve stretches along the bank in both directions, but Poise Brook itself comes to the Goyt down a valley from A626 Marple Road. On the map, the path is marked by linked dots.
The valley is (or should be) protected ancient woodland. It is also an outstanding place to see the Red Rock Fault. A 250-million-years-old dislocation of geological strata including coal is exposed a few hundred metres along the Brook in Fossil Creek. Plant fossils are found here (see picture) in shale fragments on the Brook’s eastern bank. If you see one, leave it for others to enjoy too.
A Site of Biological Importance, the valley’s bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemone give it particular beauty in spring. The brook itself mostly runs below and away from the woodland path. The high banks create atmospheric places removed from urban activity. The fenced-off private eastern side of the wood reserves space for wildlife.
The Bypass would be in a huge 17-metre cutting inside the former gravel workings abutting the Reserve for 400 metres before bursting into the ancient woodland itself, near to the pretty bridge where the wood narrows.
The cutting for the route could undermine outbuildings of historic Halliday Hill Farm, the former Dodge family home dating from the 1400s (picture by Phil Rowbotham). The Bypass would then curve south west to flatten 18th century mill cottages. The cottages are on the right just before the woodland path widens to become Holiday Lane, arriving at a junction with Marple Road A626 at Foggbrook.
The bypass would gouge under Marple Road into Offerton’s precious green space.