The Armada Beacon

The Armada Beacon Alderley Edge

In these days of fast, high-tech communication, when we can drop a note to a friend in a matter of seconds, or even speak face to face with a loved one across a continent, it’s hard to imagine that years ago sending messages took somewhat longer.

In Tudor times, beacons were built as a form of communication, in chains up and down the country to act as alarm systems in case the country was invaded. They were placed on elevated positions to make them easily visible for miles around.

The Armada Beacon

The Armada Beacon here at Alderley Edge was part of one of these warning systems. It was built on top of a Bronze Age ‘bowl barrow’ or burial mound – and is almost the highest point of the Edge.

During the time of the Spanish Armada and undoubtedly hundreds of years before this time, the Edge had very few trees and was predominantly heathland, making it a perfect vantage point.

It is said that in 1588 it took 12 hours for the news that the Spanish Armada had been sighted to travel from the south coast of England all the way to York.

The summit

Unfortunately the stone building that housed the beacon’s fire basket was damaged in a gale in 1931 and demolished shortly afterwards. If you climb up the mound today you'll see a memorial stone has now been erected on the summit.