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Access at Quarry Bank

Visitors inside the mill at Quarry Bank
Visitors inside the mill at Quarry Bank | © Annapurna Mellor

We want to make sure that Quarry Bank is equally accessible for all visitors. The historic buildings and landscape that we care for present challenges in creating access for all, but we have taken steps to ensure that as many people as possible are able to experience Quarry Bank’s story. Here you’ll find information about access across the different areas of Quarry Bank and how to make the most of your visit.

Arrival and parking facilities

Arriving by car

On the right-hand side of the car park there are 16 designated parking spaces on a flat, firm surface for visitors with disabilities. These spaces are for the use of visitors holding an official Blue Badge. If you need to park close to the entrance but do not have a Blue Badge, you can ask at visitor reception for a one-day pass to use those bays. The pass should be displayed on the dashboard, like a Blue Badge. Once you've parked, head for visitor reception, which is 75m from the parking bays.

Arriving by train

There are trains to Styal station from Manchester Airport and Wilmslow. They run hourly in both directions during Quarry Bank opening hours, including for evening events, seven days a week. The slope up to Station Road from the platform for north-bound trains is a 12% gradient for 40m, and for the south-bound side it is 6% for 70m. It's 0.6 mile (1km) from the station to visitor reception.

Visitor reception

Start your day at visitor reception where the team will explain what you can see and do at Quarry Bank on the day, and arrange for a volunteer buggy service if required to take you where you’d like to go. The buggy can transport a wheelchair if it can be folded. If you're a National Trust member you can get your membership card scanned and receive a ticket for your visit. If you're not a member, you can buy your ticket here.

The stone tile floor in visitor reception is level. The service counter is 77cm high. There are low benches inside and outside, but they don't have arms.

Maps of the garden can be borrowed at visitor reception and at the entrances to the garden. You can also pick up a leaflet that details the walks across the estate which are suitable for a range of abilities.

A powered mobility vehicle (Tramper) is available to borrow. You'll need to book this in advance by calling 01625 445864. You'll be asked where you wish to use it so it can be ready for you there when you arrive.

There are four 69cm-wide wheelchairs that you can borrow. They're not self-propelled and you must have a helper to push, but they can pass through most doorways on the site, with some exceptions inside the mill.

Accessible parking bay at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Accessible parking bay at Quarry Bank, Cheshire | © Scott Burns

Accessible parking at Quarry Bank

There are 16 designated parking spaces on a flat, firm surface for visitors with disabilities.

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Distances to venues

There are a number of venues to visit at Quarry Bank. Here are the distances and terrains between them and visitor reception:

  • The mill: 300m to the mill yard for the mill, restaurant, shop, function rooms and Place to Change toilet facility. Tarmac surfaces with down-gradients of up to 13%.
  • Quarry Bank House: 200m to Quarry Bank House on tarmac surfaces with down-gradients of up to 13%.
  • The garden: 250m to the upper garden, including glasshouses, café, shop and accessible toilet on a level compacted gravel surface. The entrance to the lower garden is 450m away on tarmac and compacted gravel surfaces with down-gradients of up to 13%. From there you can walk by the river Bollin for a further 600m on a level compacted gravel surface.
  • The Apprentice House: 100m to the Apprentice House and Apprentice House garden on a compacted gravel surface with around 20m at a gradient of 7%.
  • Styal village: 400m to the Worker’s Cottage and village hub on level compacted gravel and cobbled surfaces.

Buggy service and Tramper hire

A buggy service offers transfers between visitor reception, the mill yard (for access to the mill, Quarry Bank House, the mill shop and toilets), the Apprentice House, the garden, and Styal village (due to narrow footpaths, the drop-off point is at the Methodist Chapel, 250m from the Village Hub). Please ask for the buggy at these locations. The buggy can carry a wheelchair if it can be folded.

A powered mobility vehicle (Tramper) is available to borrow. You'll need to book this in advance by calling 01625 445864. You'll be asked where you wish to use it so it can be ready for you there when you arrive. A map showing where it can go around Quarry Bank can be downloaded here.

Accessible toilet

The accessible toilet in visitor reception is semi-public and not labelled as a toilet. Please ask at the counter to be shown its location. The toilet itself requires a left to right transfer and the room is 2.1m x 1.6m wide. Other toilets are located in the upper garden and a Place to Change facility can be found in the mill yard. This facility includes a changing bench and hoist.

Accessible wheelchair shuttle at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Accessible wheelchair shuttle at Quarry Bank, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Accessible wheelchair shuttle

The buggy service offers transfers between visitor reception and other areas of the property.

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Accessibility in the mill

The mill is a complex series of buildings split across different levels and connected via two main staircases (staircase a and staircase b), several ramps and a passenger lift, which can be used in the event of an emergency as well as during a normal visit. For emergency evacuation purposes, up to eight wheelchair users are permitted at any one time in the mill and to assist us in managing this capacity, we ask that all wheelchair users start their visit to the mill at the main mill entrance in the mill yard, opposite the mill shop.

Overview of the mill

Motorised wheelchairs are permitted within the mill but due to the narrow nature of some areas there is a maximum width restriction of 900mm. Powered mobility vehicles are not permitted within the mill. In the very unlikely event of an emergency evacuation where your route to the evacuation lift is blocked, evacuation will be via an evac chair or stair climber where self-transferring is required.

With the exception of level 1 and level -1 (which are stone and concrete in places), the floors are wooden floor boards. Due to their historic nature they are uneven in places.

The lighting throughout the mill is mostly LED fixtures. There are lots of windows providing natural light in many of the galleries but during the winter months it can be gloomy in places.

The mill yard can get busy with lots of people and school children gathering there. For visitor safety, cars aren't usually allowed in the yard but if you need to use a non-folding wheelchair you can get permission to be dropped off in the yard. Please arrange this in advance with the visitor reception team on 01625 445864. Let us know when you arrive at visitor reception and we'll arrange for access to the mill yard and for a team member to be present to make sure you're dropped off safely. You can also use the volunteer buggy service to get to the mill yard.

The mill entrance

The main entrance to the mill is off the tarmacked driveway and the entrance door is 916mm wide. This space is manned during opening hours by a volunteer who'll be happy to help you during your visit. From the entrance visitors can access the machine floors and galleries.

The Counting House and Mill Manager's Office

Access to these rooms is level and through two doors which are 633mm, 789mm, 768mm, 865mm, 722mm and 762mm wide respectively.

The mill entrance, Quarry Bank, Cheshire
The mill entrance, Quarry Bank, Cheshire | © Scott Burns/National Trust

The mill entrance

The main entrance to the mill is off the tarmacked driveway.

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Samuel's Industrial Enterprise gallery

From the mill entrance you can enter the first gallery, Samuel's Industrial Enterprise, via a 6.7m ramp, which is at a 4% incline, or by three steps. There's a sliding door which is open during the summer months and in the winter months can be opened for you by a member of the team. You can also access it via the passenger lift.

The Weaving Shed

Access is via staircase b or an 8m long ramp with a handrail which is at a 4% decline from the Samuel’s Industrial Enterprise gallery. There's a wheelchair turning circle at the far end of the weaving shed which is 1.75m deep by 2.44m wide. The narrowest point in the weaving shed is 1.14m wide. It can be very noisy when the looms are running and we recommend that you spend no more than 10 minutes in the gallery. Ear defenders are available if you'd like to use them.

Workforce gallery

The Workforce gallery can be accessed via the passenger lift, staircase a, or by an 8.4m ramp at a 3% incline from the Cotton Processing gallery. There's an audio visual experience in the centre of the gallery and blinds installed on the windows to reduce lighting levels. There are LED light fixtures throughout to highlight key objects and panels and to make sure there's enough light in the room.

The audio visual experience lasts for around four minutes. There's fast moving projected imagery and loud sounds in the audio visual space so this part of the gallery may not be suitable for all.

The gallery features audio elements designed to be at an accessible height. There are benches in the gallery which have fixed arm rests in a combination of different positions.

The cotton processing floor can be accessed via staircase b or an 8.4m ramp at a 3% decline from the Workforce gallery. The narrowest section of the room is 0.97m wide but there are passing points throughout.

The Story Space and Exhibition Space

You can access the Story Space and Exhibition Space via the passenger lift or the staircases. There's a 6.6m ramp at a 3% incline/decline between the two spaces. The spaces are staffed by volunteers who'll be happy to help you.

Water Power gallery

You can access the Water Power gallery via the passenger lift, staircases a, c and d or by two short ramps of 3.3m and 1.7m at a 6% incline from the Mule Room. There are interactive models in this gallery that have been specifically designed so that a wheelchair user can interact with them with ease. The gallery can get cold as it is more exposed to the elements because of the water wheel.

The Mule Room

You can access the Mule Room via staircase b or two short ramps of 1.7m and 3.3m at a 6% decline from the Water Power gallery. The walkway through the Mule Room is 965mm wide with one passing point in the middle. There's also space at the far end to turn a wheelchair. This floor tends to not be as loud as the other machine floors.

Brain Power gallery

You can access the Brain Power gallery via staircase c, which has 18 steps, or a 19m flagstone slope ramp at a 19% decline from the mill yard. This gallery has a flagstone floor. There's a lightbox installation which tells the story of power at Quarry Bank and interactive play stations where you can test your engineering prowess. These are placed at an accessible height for children and wheelchair users.

Steam Power gallery

You can access the Steam Power gallery via two ramps, one of 1.2m at a 4% incline and the other of 4.6m ramp at a 5% incline from the Brain Power gallery. There's a mezzanine level walkway within the Steam Power gallery from which you can see the steam engines from above. You can access this via a metal staircase with 13 steps. There's often steam in the air and it can become humid, especially in summer months. A volunteer based within the gallery will be happy to help you if needed.

Accessibility in the garden

The garden sits above and below a cliff face and includes the mill meadow, the lower garden and the upper garden. The upper garden has a café, shop and accessible toilet.

Entrances to the garden

The most accessible entrance to the garden is via a level path from visitor reception. From there it's 250m to the glasshouse or the garden café.

The second entrance is the lower garden entrance which you can get to from the mill yard by descending a sloping cobbled path (13% for about 10m) around the Mill Manager’s Cottage and crossing a wide wooden bridge over the river onto the mill meadow. There's a kiosk staffed by a volunteer at the entrance. Across the tennis lawn there's another bridge which is 105cm wide that recrosses the river.

There's also an entrance to the lower garden from Quarry Bank House. There are two routes you can take, a cobbled set of steps, or a compacted gravel path with a 20% gradient.

Entrance to the lower garden by the garden kiosk at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Entrance to the lower garden by the garden kiosk at Quarry Bank, Cheshire | © National Trust

Entrance to the lower garden

The kiosk at the entrance to the lower garden is staffed by a volunteer

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Paths and steps

The compacted gravel paths in the lower garden have slopes of up to 15% for lengths of 510m. From the lower garden access to the upper garden is via steep paths and/or steps and is suitable only for those who can walk. The steepness of the terrain (in places 33%) means there's no direct access between the lower and upper gardens for powered mobility vehicles or wheelchairs of any type.

The lower garden is adjacent to the River Bollin. There's a near-level route through the lower garden and into Chapel Woods. The route extends for about 600m from the garden entry kiosk (one-way distance). For those with wheelchairs the exit is by the same route, or you have the option of climbing a number of steps and returning by a different route.

The paths in the garden are compacted gravel, flagged stones or cobbles. Throughout the garden there are benches with spaces to park a wheelchair or pushchair beside them.

The glasshouse

The glasshouse can be found in the upper garden and is reached through a gate near the garden café or through a doorway in the kitchen garden wall near the garden shop. The entrance doorway is 74cm wide and the door is manually operated and opens inwards.

There's a stone-flagged path that runs the length of the glasshouse that's 97cm wide at its narrowest. Powered mobility vehicles are not allowed in the glasshouse due to the narrowness of the space and the nature of the building. The historic entrance to the glasshouse is up three stone steps and there's no handrail.

Steps into the glasshouse at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Steps into the glasshouse at Quarry Bank, Cheshire | © National Trust

Steps into the glasshouse

The entrance doorway is 74cm wide and the door is manually operated and opens inwards.

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Behind the glasshouse are the back sheds where you'll find the toilets and garden shop. The doorway between the glasshouse and back sheds is 84cm wide and there are two steps of 17cm each.

There's a small glasshouse opposite the main glasshouse, the entrance to which is up a step of 11cm. Wheelchairs, whether powered or hand-propelled, are not allowed in the small glasshouse due to the limited space within it. Assistance dogs are allowed in the glasshouses.

Accessibility at Quarry Bank House

Quarry Bank House is 200m from visitor reception down gradients of 6% to 13% on tarmac surfaces. The shuttle buggy drop off location for Quarry Bank House is the mill yard. There's a sill of about 10cm in height at the entrance door, but after that there's level access to all parts of the building open to visitors. The floors are stone flags, wood or carpet.

Staff and volunteers are on hand to answer your questions and facilitate access to rooms. The nearest toilet is 150m away in the mill yard.

Quarry Bank House and the Apprentice House

The entrance to Quarry Bank House, Quarry Bank, Cheshire
The entrance to Quarry Bank House | © Scott Burns/National Trust

The entrance to Quarry Bank House

Quarry Bank House is about 200m from visitor reception.

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Accessibility at the Apprentice House

Entering the house

The entrance to the Apprentice House is through the garden, which has compacted gravel paths throughout and some slopes with a maximum 7% gradient. Access to the Apprentice House is by guided tour only and tickets can be booked at visitor reception. Due to the narrow spaces in the Apprentice House, power wheelchairs and power mobility vehicles are not permitted.

The entrance door is at the side of the house. There's a small step into the first room, but staff can arrange for a ramp if required. The tour guide will ring a bell to announce the start of the tour, and the door will be manually opened by a member of staff.

Inside the house

The ground floor of the Apprentice House has a stone floor and the first floor has wooden floorboards. The lighting is deliberately limited to provide authenticity, and it's mostly lit by natural lighting from the windows.

There's no lift in the Apprentice House and to reach the first floor you'll need to climb a short, steep narrow set of stairs into the dormitory. There are three steps leading down from the dormitory to the treatment room. To return to the ground floor there's another flight of steep stairs which are tiered.

There are low benches available in the schoolroom, treatment room and houseplace. You can also sit on the small, low beds in the dormitory on the first floor and there are a few chairs available in the kitchen. If you can't access the first floor, an Apprentice House guide can provide you with a photobook and additional information about the rest of the house.

Entrance to the Apprentice House at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Entrance to the Apprentice House at Quarry Bank, Cheshire | © National Trust

Entrance to the Apprentice House

The entrance to the Apprentice House is through the garden, which has compacted gravel paths throughout and some slopes

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Accessibility at Styal village

Styal village is a 10 minute walk from visitor reception. In Styal you'll find the village hub, which houses an exhibition about the home lives of the mill workers, and the Worker’s Cottage. Tours of the cottage are by guided tour only and can be booked at the village hub or at visitor reception. The roads in Styal are cobbled and the buggy service can drop you off at the Methodist Chapel, which is a five minute walk from the village hub.

Getting to Styal village hub

Styal village hub is 400m from visitor reception. To get to the hub, you pass through two fields along level compacted gravel paths. The path goes through two latched field gates, which unaided wheelchair users may find difficult to open.

In Styal village, the village hub is along a wide cobbled path approximately 50m long which includes speed bumps. The path is used by both pedestrians and cars so please take care. Styal is a living community and we ask all visitors to be respectful of residents' privacy.

Visitors can be taken to and from Styal village in the buggy. However, due to the cobbled paths in the village, the drop-off point is 100m from the village hub itself.

Inside Styal village hub

There's level access to the village hub. Inside you can find out more about life in Styal village and the living conditions of the workers compared with those who lived in Manchester. There's also a subtitled video which explores how the worker's cottage was restored. If you're unable to access the cottage or can't get a place on a tour, the video will give you an insight into its story.

There's an accessible toilet in the village hub for the use of visitors. The transfer is left to right.

The Worker's Cottage

Due to its small size there are only eight places per tour, so availability is very limited and tours must be booked in advance. Tours can be booked at the village hub and the team at visitor reception can telephone the hub to check availability.

The main entrance to the Worker's Cottage is up four 20cm steps with handrails on both sides. There's no wheelchair access but you can watch a video which shows the cottage interior. In the cottage the floors are either lino-covered or stone-flagged.

The first floor of the cottage is reached by a steep and twisting wooden staircase and the descent is by the same route. The tour also takes you into the cellar, which is down some stone stairs.

Eating at Quarry Bank

There are three places to eat at Quarry Bank: The Weaving Shed Restaurant, the upper garden café and Stables Ice Cream Parlour.

Weaving Shed Restaurant

  • The restaurant serves hot and cold food and a range of drinks and snacks
  • The café is 40m from the cobbled mill yard down a sloped flagstone path leading to a level entrance
  • There are two sets of doors into the restaurant and members of staff can help with access
  • The floor of the restaurant is stone
  • The counter is 92cm high and staff can help you with getting food from the counter
  • If you have difficulty queueing, take a seat and let a member of the team know so they can take your order
  • Toilet facilities, including a family toilet and Place to Change, are opposite the restaurant in the mill yard
  • There's an accessible toilet on the first floor of the function block which is only available if you're attending a function or using restaurant overflow facilities. This toilet is accessed by a lift or a flight of stairs. The lift cabin is 1.3m wide by 1.5m deep
  • The Place to Change facility is 1.5m wide and 2m in length. The toilet also contains baby-changing facilities.

The garden café

  • The garden café is in the upper garden, 300m from visitor reception
  • To get there follow a flat compacted gravel path then go down a 20m slope of 8%
  • The café has glass walls and doors
  • The serving area and most of the seating area is lit by LED lamps
  • The counter is 89cm high.

Stables Ice Cream Parlour

  • Stables Ice Cream Parlour is in the mill yard and serves ice cream, hot drinks, sandwiches, crisps and snacks
  • There's a 15cm step up from the mill yard into the ice cream parlour
  • The counter height is 90cm
  • Seating is immediately outside in the mill yard.

Shopping at Quarry Bank

There are three shops at Quarry Bank: The mill shop, the garden shop and the second hand bookshop.

The mill shop

  • The mill shop is the largest shop and is in the cobbled mill yard
  • Access to the shop is by stone stairs with seven steps with a handrail on both sides, or by a powered platform lift for wheelchairs and buggies
  • There's an induction hearing loop in the mill shop
  • The floor in the shop is carpeted
  • If you're not able to reach an item on a shelf, ask a member of the team and they'll be happy to help
  • There isn't a large print version of the price list, but the team are more than happy to tell you the price of items.

The garden shop

  • The garden shop is in the upper garden back sheds behind the glasshouse
  • The shop is 250m from Visitor Reception and 30m from the garden café, across essentially level compacted gravel or stone-flagged surfaces
  • The floor in the shop is flagged stone

The second hand bookshop

  • The second hand bookshop is in the mill yard next to Stables Ice Cream Parlour
  • The floor is carpeted and the entrance is level
Exterior of Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire

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