Destination Bollington

A reason to visit, a reason to stay!

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Destination Bollington - a reason to visit, a reason to stay!

Bollington really is becoming the destination of choice! The Destination Bollington project is seeking to develop the good reasons for outsiders to come and visit us here in the Happy Valley – they used to call it tourism; now it's destination management!

FlowersOf course we have always had lots to see but we've been a bit short on things to do. People have visited the town for years to look at our mills, our quaint streets, the flowers in Water Street and, of course, the canal. But it doesn't have quite the same attraction as some other small communities around us – and until recent times there wasn't even somewhere to watch the world go by over a cup of tea! Probably the most common reason for visiting is to walk in the surrounding hills, along the canal or the Middlewood Way. We are very well provided with footpaths, the oldest dating from before Roman times but well used by them!

Those of us who live here know well what a great place Bollington is. Even so, many Bollingtonians are regularly surprised when they discover yet another fascinating historic fact, another beautiful corner to explore on foot, new people with similar interests, a great pub they hadn't visited before, an artistic event they must attend. The town never stands still and very many people put in a tremendous effort throughout the year to develop their skills and their interests, and bring the pleasure to others in the town. But for all those people, we could always do with more - especially from outside the town. We need to give people from 20 miles around an unquestionable reason for coming here, just for the day or to stay locally and make a holiday of it.

Destination Bollington - the project

Destination Bollington sprang out of the 2008 Town Plan and is designed to encompass many small projects aimed at improving the value of a visit and overall to create a central pleasure area. The discussion group was brought together by the Leisure & Tourism Officer for Macclesfield Borough Council (now Cheshire East Council) and has been taken under the wing of Visit Chester & Cheshire with the support of Cheshire East and Bollington Town Councils.

Green FlagThe ideas began with the desire to further develop the Recreation Ground (Rec). This important area has been most successfully managed since 2007 by the Friends of the Rec, a group of volunteers with support from the wide range of users and groups such as Bollington Cricket ClubExternal link, the Bowling Club, the tennis and football players, as well as other individual users. Cheshire East Council (and of course the predecessor councils at Macclesfield and Chester) have given the project much help in many financial and practical ways, and this important support continues. The collective achievements have been recognised every year since 2008 with the award of the Green Flag.

The long term plan is to create a wider recreational area that encompasses the area from the Middlewood Way, through the youngsters' play area on Adlington Road, the Recreation Ground, the woodland, Swinerood Wood, behind the Rec all the way to the canal, the canal throughout Bollington, the waterfront at Clarence mill together with the rooms on the ground floor, and the young children's play area on Palmerston Street together with the Memorial Garden opposite. The area provides direct access to the triangle of Water Street, High Street, and the part of Palmerston Street containing most of the shops. This is a big area with lots going on, with a few paths and our new canal bridge connecting Clarence mill to the Recreation Ground.

There is clearly a need to improve many aspects of some of the areas outside the Rec and plans are being developed to do this. For instance, there are plans being developed to make part of Swinerood Wood accessible to the public. It is envisaged that there will be a path from the Rec through the wood up to the canal. A further path is planned to use the Pleasure Gate access to the canal from Palmerston Street but with a connection within the Rec so that pedestrians, particularly children, do not need to go into the road.

Consideration is being given to the requirements for a pavilion. The present building is generally regarded as unsuitable, and in the wrong place. We may not be able to move it but much could be done to improve the facilities and functional value.

There is a major need for improvement to the canal towpath. Some short lengths have had their wet patches re-stoned but much remains to be done to bring it up to an accepteble standard suitable for all potential users. A huge number of people use the towpath every day, and they are not all dog walkers! The opening of the canal bridge at Clarence in 2009 dramatically increased traffic especially between the bridge and Hurst Lane. Discussions with Cheshire East Council officers and British Waterways (now the charity Canal & River Trust) have drawn their recognition of the value of the kind of improvements being considered and they have ideas that would extend the value of the improvements at Bollington over a wider area.

Action already taken

Finger postIn 2007 a number of new finger posts (right) were erected to help guide visitors around the town to see the things they might well be interested in seeing. These signs have been added to in 2010, as a continuing part of the 2008 Town Plan project, so providing a comprehensive signage scheme that should ensure that all visitors can find their way about without difficulty.

Vistor boardsAlso in 2010, four new double sided sign boards (left) were placed, two each on the Middlewood Way and the canal. These provide on one side a plan of the town showing all the key features including all the pubs, restaurants and cafes. The other side of each sign is designed to give a potted description of the history and features around the immediate location of the board.


An important part of a visit to any town is the availability of retail outlets targeted at visitors. Bollington is not well endowed in this department. However, things are improving.

There has been a noticeable revival of confidence in the town's retailing. Several closed premises are now refurbished and reopened, others including Oliver at Bollington Green restaurant and the PrintshopExternal link refurbished. The Little Luxuries beauty salon is where Bollington girl Charlene Tildsley is making a therapeutic start to her business life, the off licence, all on Palmerston Street. The Lime Tree restaurant, Oliver at Bollington Green restaurant and The Green cafe join Holmes~Naden estate agent's in High Street. And breakfast can be obtained at Waterside Café at Clarence mill.

West Bollington is not forgotten with Couzens Hairdressing on the corner of Wellington Road and Grimshaw Lane. At Bollington Cross it must be time for some re-building of the rather poor shops at Crossfield Road. Round the corner in Ovenhouse Lane we find the general store.

So that leaves one empty premises, the shop next door to Chadwick's newagents on Palmerston Street. How soon shall we see this back in use? Holmes~Naden's old shop on Palmerston Street is now Papa's Greek themed hot food take-away and cafe. Do you remember in the 1970s when this shop was a wonderful ice cream emporium? Wouldn't it be great to see Hilly Billy ice cream from Blaze FarmExternal link being sold in Bollington!? Cool! Now that really would make Bolly a destination to visit!

Walking Festival

The Destination Bollington Group has organised a series of Walking Festivals, an event now firmly established in the Bollington calendar, held over a one week and two weekends period towards the end of September. Details are on a dedicated Walking Festival page.