Mow Cop trail
Mow Cop holds a surprising history, explore the story of the castle, find out why this site is so important to the Primitive Methodists and how to find the Old Man O'Mow
Mow Cop Castle Car Park
Welcome to Mow Cop. For a relatively small hill top, Mow Cop has a long and interesting story. To find out more at each step, click the + symbol next to the image. Please follow the main path up towards the castle folly.
Mow Cop Castle
The castle that you can see above you is a folly which was built by the Wilbraham family who lived down at Rode Hall in Cheshire. The castle folly was always supposed to look ruined, it was designed to create a romantic view and the family also entertained here.
As you head up the path, look to your left and you will see a large engraved stone.
Primitive Methodists and Mow Cop
This stone commemorates the Primitive Methodist movement and Mow Cop had a part to play in its story. In 1807, inspired by Protestant camp meetings taking place on the plains out in America, where ordinary people who were pushing west and founding new settlements gathered to hear preaching, Hugh Bourne and others decided to hold a camp meeting at Mow Cop. The first meeting took place on 31 May 1807. The video shows Rev. Tim Macquiban speaking as Hugh Bourne at an event on Mow Cop in 2019.
Continue up the path and follow round underneath the left of the Castle
Quarrying has taken place on Mow Cop for centuries and it was particularly known for its Millstone grit. As well as the production of mill stones, the rock was also used by the famous Staffordshire potteries. In 1923 the land around the castle was sold to Joe Lovatt for quarrying. This upset the local people who had been allowed common access to the land for many years. To protest the sale and the quarrying, the people formed the Mow Cop preservation committee. Despite their protests, quarrying took place until 1937, however the deeds were then handed to the National Trust, allowing everyone to access the land once again.
Carry on round and follow the path right up to the Castle itself.
Views from the Castle
Now you are at the top of Mow Cop, you can see the views extending out across Cheshire and Staffordshire. On clear days 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. Also to the north west but difficult to make out is the historic National Trust Tudor mansion of Little Moreton Hall.
Come back down the path from the Castle and carry straight over onto the driveway path. Walk a little way along this and then look back at the Castle folly.
The folly becomes a ruin
Although the Wilbraham family at Rode Hall carried out repairs over the years, the folly has nevertheless been weathered and fallen apart over time. Originally while the wall was always designed to look ruined, the round tower was complete and had a roof. The V shape seen today was most likely caused by the collapse of one of the windows. Watch the video to see Emily Rose Galvin, Staffordshire poet laureate, read her poem about Mow Cop at an event on Mow Cop in 2019.
Turn back away from the Castle and carry on to the end of the driveway. Cross over the road, taking care of the traffic and turn right to walk up the hill. Take the immediate next left and follow the footpath. After a short walk you will see a huge rock to your right. This is the Old Man o'Mow.
The Old Man o'Mow
This distinctive rock, so called because from certain angles it resembles a sitting figure has been here for centuries.
Retrace your steps back to the road. To finish your walk, cross back over to the driveway you came down and return back towards the Castle, then follow the right hand path you came up back to the car park.
For an optional extra walk to Mow Cop Methodist Church, walk out of the car park and turn right. Take the first left onto Lower High Street and follow to the end. Turn right onto Top Station Road and walk down the road until you reach a left turn onto Primitive Street. Follow Primitive Street to the end and you will see the Methodist Church on your right. Retrace your steps to return to the Mow Cop car park.
Mow Cop Methodist Church
Formally the Primitive Methodist church, this is one of the sites where the original camp meetings were held. Bourne and others held two camp meetings in 1807 but authorities within the Methodist Church considered them highly improper and there was general unrest at this time around groups of working class people gathering, as this was the period following the French revolution. Bourne and others continued to hold the meetings and was asked to leave the Methodist Church. They became known as the Camp Meeting Methodists, until in 1811, they joined with William Clowes and his followers to become the Primitive Methodists. This remained a seperate church to the Wesleyan Methodists until they joined together again to form the modern Methodist Church in 1932.
Mow Cop Castle Car Park
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