Peak District Information Website
|Macclesfield Forest was once the centre of a Royal Forest created by the Norman conquerors for the purpose of hunting game such as deer, wild boar and wolves. This particular forest stretched from the modern Disley down to the River Dane, and was the preserve of the Earls of Chester. This has always been an isolated and sparsely populated area, and it still is. The parish register records many instances where people have died on the moors and their bodies have not been found for weeks.|
An unusual tradition has survived here - that of 'rush-bearing'. In this ancient ceremony, which is performed every August (on the 12th or the nearest Sunday), rushes are taken and strewn across the floor of the church. The ceremony harks back to the times when carpets were rare and rushes were the usual floor-covering. Though Macclesfield Forest is the only place where the tradition survives, it is known to have been performed at Chapel-en-le-Frith, Glossop, Peak Forest, Whitwell and Ashover.
Below Forest Chapel is a pub called the Stanley Arms at the quaintly named 'Bottom of the Oven' - a reference to Oven Lane, which crosses Clough Brook here and starts to climb up again to the Cat and Fiddle. The Cat and Fiddle Inn was built in 1830, not long after the construction of the turnpike road which replaced Oven Lane, and is in a superb situation. On a good day the views from here and the nearby hill of Shining Tor stretch right across the Cheshire plain to North Wales.
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