We’re so lucky to have so many gorgeous spots for a day trip, with walks, hikes or just a sit down and a drink around the region, and one place that fulfils that brief, and then some, is Mow Cop – just an hour from Greater Manchester, near Stoke. The fresh countryside air will fill your lungs with all you need to start the New Year right, and you can let loose exploring Mow Cop Castle, the ruin of a Georgian structure.
We don’t know about you, but as the New Year draws in, we’re looking for new places to branch out and explore, preferably in the countryside, and we’re particularly drawn to those with a bit of historical edge. Mow Cop has a rare beauty that seems pretty much unspoiled, making for the perfect day trip – well, according to what we’ve heard visitors say recently.
Just an hour’s drive from Greater Manchester, you’ll find beautiful countryside perfect for walks with (or without) the family, peppered with lush farms and pubs to get the drinks and grub in.
According to the National Trust, the Mow Cop trail is a “short walk exploring the history of Mow Cop, taking in the ruins of the castle and the Old Man o’Mow, a distinctive rock feature in the landscape. Along the route you’ll discover why this site is important to the Primitive Methodists, and see some long-reaching views over the Cheshire and Staffordshire countryside.”
The ruinous Mow Cop Castle and round tower is actually a folly – a building, often found in 18th century landscape gardens. They tend to be quirky and have no practical purpose, and can take many forms – ruins, pretend castles, towers, hermits’ cells or grottoes.
It was built as a summer house in 1754 for Randle Wilbraham of Rode Hall and for neighbouring Staffordshire Landowners. Excavations at Mow Cop have found querns dating back to the Iron Age. The Castle was given to the National Trust in 1937 and operates as a public landmark to this day.
On clear days from the castle on the hill, you may be able to make out Manchester to the north. Keep an eye out for the huge dish of the powerful radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, which can be seen to the north-west, and, although difficult to make out, the historic National Trust Tudor mansion of Little Moreton Hall.
Mow Cop is a hidden gem in the crown of our region and makes for the perfect day out, especially if you feel like getting back to nature after spending Christmas indoors!
See the Mow Cop trail map below – parking is usually available at 53 High St, Mow Cop, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 3PA, and the nearest bus stop is Dales Green Corner.