- Coming across the fields from Bredbury, walkers and cyclists go over the Goyt on the Jim Fearnley bailey-type Bridge to the woodland of the Poise Brook Nature Reserve.
The river itself is broad and sparkles in sunshine. On the wooded bank the hum of distant traffic can no longer be heard. This is a secluded but popular spot whose tranquility will be destroyed by the bypass’s 200-metre bridge (or alternatively the 550-metre high-level bridge) around two hundred metres away.
The Nature Reserve stretches along the bank to Woodbank Park, but Poise Brook itself comes to the Goyt from a valley heading up towards A626 Marple Road.
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 in shale fragments on the Brook’s eastern bank. A Site of Biological Importance, the valley’s bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemone give it particular beauty in spring. The fenced-off private eastern side of the wood has the merit of reserving space for wildlife.
The bypass will be in a huge 17-metre cutting inside the hill abutting the Reserve for 400 metres before bursting into the ancient woodland itself, near to the pretty bridge (pictured) 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) and leave the house itself overlooking the road. The bypass will 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 the A626 at Foggbrook.
The bypass will gouge under the road into Offerton’s precious green space.
- At this point walkers can turn around and retrace their steps, perhaps taking a detour along the west bank of the Goyt. Or in the spirit of Sir Ranulph Fiennes prepare to cross Marple Road and continue with the walk.