Reddish and Heaton Chapel Stagger

Friday 20 October 2017 from 7:30pm onwards

Tonight we start approximately half way along Gorton Road as you travel north towards Debdale Park and Gorton. Why only half way along? Because the whole of the northern half is now devoid, not only of real ale pubs, put pubs at all!

The Fir Tree stands prominently on the junction of Gorton Road and Longford Road, and is aptly described as a "roadhouse" in Whatpub.com. The pub has had several brands/themes applied to it over recent years but now appears to have reverted to a traditional community establishment. Though, I'm sure designed as a whole, when viewed on Google Map it looks to comprise a jumble of buildings, which is reflected internally by the multiplicity of rooms and floor heights.

A long(ish) trek now faces us staggerers, so we may cheat and catch the bus down to central Reddish and Holdsworth Square. Here a quick visit will be made into the Holdsworth Arms to establish if real ale has returned, into what has been for years, a real-ale free house.

Now it is around the back streets to find the hidden gem of Reddish, the Thatched Tavern. If you didn't know it was there you certainly would not discover it. The Thatched Tavern has a traditional 'street corner boozer' layout [and it really is on a corner!], with the posher lounge to one side and the more basic tap room to the rear. Both are filled with friendly locals who will make us feel welcome. Though owned by Punch Taverns, it still has the feel of a local's pub and not the usual corporate identikit.

While making our way to the next destination we practically walk along the platform of Reddish South rail station, but be forewarned, it is only served by one "parliamentary" train per week! Currently this arrives at 9:27am (ex Stockport at 9:22am) on Friday morning (link to timetable) so if relied upon you would arrive a bit early and have to wait a week to return home &emdash; best use the bus.

On leaving, any one of the grid pattern street will bring you to the Union (but the shortest route is shown on the map below). Owned by Robinsons and serving Trooper plus Unicorn, the Union has been opened out into a single room layout, but dividing partitions still offering some distinct areas. This includes a vault like area with a TV for the sport and there is a very pleasant well tended garden to the rear. If any young people plan to join us on the stagger there is an over 21s policy on selected Friday and Saturday nights when there is entertainment on.

Our next port of call, the Grey Horse is but a cocks stride along Broadstone Road in the Heaton Chapel direction. The current structure was built in 1909 and has had an expensive refurbishment after being purchased by Holts in 2007 (before that it was a Boddington's house and before that ?????). The substantial and comfortably decorated lounge has TV sport on most days and again features entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. Meanwhile the next door vault is a more down-to-earth room. Though Holts brew a range of beers these days, the only brew on offer is Holts Bitter.

As you leave the pub, ponder why there is a hump in the road and ornate parapets. This was the Stockport branch of the Ashton Canal and used to run from near the Ethiad Stadium to the top of Lancashire Hill behind Nelstrops flour mill. Because they were built alongside, the canal it is the reason for both the adjacent Broadstone and Holdsworth Mills along with those along the Gregg Street. Commercial carrying ceased in the 1930s but it lingered on into the 1950s as a barely navigable waterway. At one stage in the 1950s it was dredged but this improvement did not attract any traffic. Stockport Basin was the first section to be filled in but it was not until 1962 that the canal was officially abandoned by the British Transport Commission, though the canal restoration society have visions of re-opening it.

Enough of this industrial archeology and back to the stagger. There now ensues our second long walk, which can be avoided by using the hourly bus (which is much better than the train service :-)).

Stood on the junction of Manchester Road and School Lane, the large and striking brick and stone corner is the George & Draggon. Originally built for Clarke's Reddish Brewery and having passed through the hands of Boddingtons it is now owned by Greene King. The George and Dragon was opened out considerably some years ago but still retains its distinct areas and sense of community. The two regular beers are Thwaites Lancaster Bomber and Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold.

Going diagonally across the trafficlights brings us to Heaton Hops. Opened April 2015 by well-known Stopfordian beer fan, Damien O’Shea and, being in the middle of a row of shops, it gives tha game away as being one of the new breed of micro-pubs. The converted shop premises offer two small rooms (the second is downstairs in the basement) with the pavement outside used to good effect in fine weather (if anyone can remember that far back!) It majors on selling a large range of bottle-conditioned beers from the UK and around the world. Supplementing these are two cask ale lines, alongside eight keg taps and two traditional ciders making up the range. Wine and locally roasted coffee is available (plus there is an excellent family butchers next door who do stunning pies).

Having had one of our shortest walks, it is back to a longer walk down the Stockport by-pass. The Manchester and Buxton Trust had originally, in 1724, improved the main London bound route of Manchester Road, Lancashire Hill, Great Underbank and Hillgate. As can be imagined, this soon became congested, expecially in and around the market place. To overcome this, with the opening of the new viaduct across Mersey Square in 1826 (the bridges between there and the bus station, NOT the railway viaduct - that was opened on 4 June 1840), the straight wide Wellington Roads North and South became a very early (the first?) town by-pass.

As you approach the Miller & Carter Heaton Chapel (formerly Toby Carvery and before that the Rudyard) looks like a hotel but there is a public bar. It has been closed for a major re-fit over the summer and on re-opening the previously available real ale offering has vanished. Whether this is to allow things to bed down or a permanent feature time will tell, but being owned by Mitchel and Butler we are supprised there is no real ale offeered.

we are on the last leg now, but our final destination still requires a similar length walk through the residential streets of Heaton Chapel to reach the Hind's Head. Built on the site of the Poco-A-Poco club where in the late 60s and early 70s such stars as Bill Haley and his Comets (for 7 nights on the trot!), David Bowie and Barclay James Harvest performed on stage! For a brief history follow this link. Unfortunatly in 1987 a (second) serious fire resulted in the building being demolished and the Hind's Head built in its stead. Built in the style of a rambling country house, the décor and furnishings give a clean, open, pleasant feel to the pub. The conservatory on the south end of the building and the pub garden cover all aspects of the English weather.

 

Reddish and Heaton Chapel Stagger

Timing

Pub Name

Address

Bus & Rail

Notes

7:30pm Starting point
Fir Tree
257 Gorton Road
SK5 6LL
7, 42A, 173, 203, 329
Reddish North
 
Calling
at
Houldsworth Arms
1 Houldsworth Square
SK5 7AF
7, 42A, 173, 203, 329
No Real Ale
Thatched Tavern
54 Stanhope Street
SK5 7AQ
7, 42A, 173, 203, 329
 
8.30pm Mid point:
Union
93 Broadstone Road
SK5 7AS
7, 42A, 173, 203, 329
 
Then
Grey Horse
99 Broadstone Road
SK5 7AS
7, 42A, 173, 203, 329
 
George & Dragon
422 Manchester Road
SK4 5DH
42A, 173, 192, 329
Heaton Chapel
 
Heaton Hops
7 School Lane
SK4 5DE
42A, 173, 192, 329
Heaton Chapel
 
Miller & Carter Steakhouse
(was Heaton Chapel and previously Toby Carvery)
271 Wellington Road North
SK4 5BP
191, 192
Heaton Chapel
 
Finish at
Hind's Head
Manchester Road
SK4 2RB
173, 191, 192, 329
 

 

View Stagger in a larger map

Updated 18 October 2017

Burnage and Heaton Moor

Friday 17th November 2017

Awaiting update!