Wincle sits within the Sutton Ward of Macclesfield Borough
in the county of Cheshire. It is also part of the Peak
District Nation Park. Although described in a Cheshire
County Council website as an “isolated farming
area” the large towns of Macclesfield, Buxton,
Congleton and Leek are all only less than eight miles
away and the large conurbations of Greater Manchester,
Merseyside, the Potteries and Sheffield are all within
an hour’s drive. The area lies alongside the headwaters
of the River Dane, the Staffordshire Moorlands and Roaches
lie to the East and the A54 Buxton to Congleton road
bisects the parish.
Wincle sits in hills that rise out of the Eastern edge
of the Cheshire plain. Farms, barns and dry stone walls
are all built out of the same harsh millstone grit.
The mixed landscape includes farmland
interspersed with deciduous woodlands along the sides
of the river valley, rising to heather moorland on the
Sir Philip Brocklehurst, one of the areas
landowners in the late eighteenth century described
the area as follows- “Few English Districts
are more interesting to those who study nature in her
wildest and fairest states…. valleys, rivers,
rocks and hills lie mingled in profuse variety; the
purple heather blends with the green moss and toppling
crags rise out of verdant woods”.
Clearly not much has changed since then
and a recent review article described the area as
“Conveys a feeling of being totally divorced from
the rest of the country. Here rugged heather-clad moorland,
swift flowing streams, turbulent rivers, scattered farms
and tiny hamlets nestling in the folds of the hills”
(Cheshire Life February 2003)
Wincle was an area of ancient enclosure indicating early
settlement. There are a number of sites of archeological
importance including Bronze Age cremation sites, barrows
and burial mounds, Saxon crosses and stone circles which
indicate that this part of East Cheshire is closely
linked with the Neolithic and Bronze Age activity in
the Pennine region.
The area is only thinly populated with no large concentrations
of dwellings. The 2000 Peak Park Report lists the area
to have a population density of 0.08 people per hectare
– the lowest category in the Peak District area
(compared with 0.26 in the park overall and 2.4 per
hectare in England overall).
The population of the area has fallen steadily over
the last two centuries. The website of the Family History
society gives the adult population in 1801 as 351, 1851
as 336, 1901 as 261 and 202 in 1951. Today the Register
of Electors lists 147 adults.
Sustainability and Conservation
The Peak Park conservation policy applies in this area.
This policy generally involves:
- Looking after best features of the
- Improving neglected features such as
dry stone walls and ancient woodland
- Managing new developments such as new
buildings and recreation activities so that damage
The 1997 Peak District Policy Plan defines
the area around Wincle as a Conservation Area where
developments are “Likely to be relatively
The farmland area outside the village
the area is designated Recreation Zone 2 where recreation
and tourism developments are encouraged providing
“they are appropriate to the area”.
The document defines picnic sites, small car parks,
and facilities linked to walking and cycling as developments
which are acceptable.
The woodland areas are designated “Natural
Zone” which is the most restrictive category
wherein developments will only be allowed “in