About Mow Cop Village

The village is in the south of the Circuit area, perched on the gritstone (course sandstone) ridge that runs south from Congleton.  The Cheshire / Staffordshire border runs along this ridge, which means that the village population is partly in one county and partly in the other.  This has led to some odd situations (see on).

The name of the village is thought to derive from the Old English word muga (for 'Mow') meaning a heap, and the Old English word cop, meaning a hill.  The 'heap' part is supposed to refer to a cairn which even in those far-off days marked a boundary point!

The Old Man of Mow

One of the popular features of the village area is the 'Old Man of Mow', now in the care of the National Trust. This is a tall, gritstone stack left behind by the quarrymen when extracting stone for millstones etc. 

One story told is that the stack was underneath a cairn set on that part of the ridge.  We can only guess whether that cairn is the one which originally gave the village its name.

There was once a pub in the village called The Odd Fellows, which happened to be bisected by the county boundary.  Closing time being different in each county, legend has it that at closing time in one county, the drinkers would move to the other end of the pub.

  The Mow Cop 'Killer Mile'
nearing the end (!)
on Top Station Road


Coal Tramway leading from Mow Cop ridge down to the Macclesfield Canal

Mow Cop Methodist Memorial Church, is located on Primitive Street, on the Cheshire side of the ridge.  Running downhill from Primitive Street is Westfield Road where, in the 19th century, there were communal bread ovens, allowing people to take their turn to bake the bread they needed.

The side of the ridge  facing west towards Cheshire is famously steep.  Top Station Road is a one-in-four (25%) slope.  This has resulted in people using the road as an endurance test.  Thus, each year we have the 'Killer Mile' road run starting from the railway level crossing at the foot of the hill on the Cheshire side and ending up at the top of Top Station Road, a climb of 550 feet in exactly one mile.  Until recent years, Fodens manufactured heavy lorries at Elworth, near Sandbach, Cheshire, and tested them on this hill.

One feature of the gritstone is that there are many springs (known locally as 'wells') in and around the village.  Given the typical local weather, from time to time water can be found flowing where the villagers would rather it didn't.

Curiously, although the ridge is well to the west of the Pennine spine of England, its streams feed not only the Dane, flowing west to the Irish Sea, but also the Trent, flowing east to the North Sea.  Indeed, villagers claim that Mow Cop is the true source of the River Trent, not Biddulph Moor on the next ridge to the east of Mow Cop.

Once upon a time, on the east side of the ridge there were coal pits.  For years, transportation of the coal was a huge problem.  The coming of the canals was a great boon.  In 1777, the first local canal, the Trent and Mersey, passed through nearby Kidsgrove.  Coal was then transported down from the ridge slopes to the canal by tramways.  Some years later, the adjoining canal from Kidsgrove to Macclesfield and Manchester was added.  Because the pits were on the 'wrong' side of the ridge for that canal, a tunnel was bored through the ridge to allow a tramway then to run down the Cheshire side.  Loaded wagons on the down trip provided the power to haul the empty wagons back up.  Evidence of the tramway is still clearly visible today and the tunnel has been re-opened by archaeologists.

See 'Our Locality' for more of Mow Cop's story.
The story of the village and the church is also to be found in Methodist Heritage.

Middlewich Events

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Coming up soon . . .

Friday 1 Mar 10.30am
Congleton - World Day of Prayer
Friday 1 Mar 1.30pm
Biddulph - World Day of Prayer
Friday 1 Mar 7.00pm
Goostrey - World Day of Prayer
Saturday 9 Mar 9.30am
Workshop: Unity, Maturity and Truth
Saturday 9 Mar 10.00am
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Training
Sunday 10 Mar 10.45am
Mothering Sunday at Hill Top
Saturday 16 Mar 9.15am
Christian Aid Tittesworth Walk 2024
Sunday 24 Mar 10.00am
Singing Group at Easter
Wednesday 27 Mar 3.00pm
Coffee Shop Book Club
Friday 29 Mar 9.15am
Biddulph - Good Friday service of Reflection