Marple is very much the epitome of where Greater Manchester meets the old-world vibes of the Cheshire countryside in what is, for our money, one of the most idyllic vistas anywhere in the region.
While many Mancs may have never ventured out to the reaches of this Stockport town and its adjacent villages before, Marple is not only home to roughly 13,000 locals but it’s also a regular haunt for walkers, canal enthusiasts and plenty of people just yearning for a little taste of the countryside.
One feature of the town that plays no small part in the influx of tourists and other residents from in and around Manchester is the famous Marple Aqueduct, sometimes known as ‘The Grand Aqueduct’ — and for good reason, as it’s the biggest canal aqueduct anywhere in England.
You might think you have seen many like it in various rural towns over the years but believe us, this is one of those things that you have to see in person to truly appreciate it.
Built all the way back in 1794, Marple Aqueduct measures 800 feet long, over 100 feet tall and its central-most point and contains approximately 8,000 cubic yards of red sandstone and white stone from Chapel Milton near Glossop.
It took seven years to build this incredible piece of masonry and functioning aqueduct — a life sadly lost for each year of construction — and it goes without saying that erecting a structure of this size in an era with much cruder tools and when health and safety weren’t exactly at the forefront of people’s minds.
The men that built that this thing literally put their lives on the line to try and ‘impress the engineering world’, put Marple on the map and carve their own little slice of history.
And they did just that.
One of those people was civil engineer Benjamin Outram, the man who was responsible for many of the North West’s famous waterways, including the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal, Ashton and Maccsefield canals and even as far as the Huddersfield Narrow.
In the instance of the Grand Aqueduct, he designed to carry the Peak Forest Canal above the River Goyt which runs for around 15 miles from Dukinfield Junction along the Ashton Canal to the canal’s terminus at Bugsworth Basin.
It had to undergo some repairs down the years, especially after the long winter of 1961 (the year before the so-called ‘Big Freeze’), with significant chunks of stonework falling into the Goyt which cost the local council and British Waterways £350,000 in today’s money to replace them.
Beyond taking in the marvel that is Marple Aqueduct itself, the reason this site is so popular when it comes to Greater Manchester walks, bike rides, picnics and so on is that you can walk the entire length of Marple Canal Flight, which consists of 16 locks and is one the steepest in the UK.
With plenty of nearby parking, the train station literally a stone’s throw from locks seven and eight, not to mention Lock 16 literally on the doorstep of Marple town centre (the Grand Aqueduct sitting at the other end), you can hop on plenty of points along the canal depending on how long a walk you fancy.
Marple and Stockport at large might have been part of Greater Manchester for nearly half a century now, but for those of you who enjoy scenic walks or simply swant to immerse yourselves in the local heritage and old Cheshire roots, there aren’t many better places to start than this.
You can see our recent Short Stuff episode on Marple’s Grand Aqueduct down below:
Pixies to play three Manchester gigs as part of major European tour in 2024
Pixies are heading out on a European tour in 2024, and they’re stopping off here in Manchester for three nights.
After recently playing to intimate Manchester crowds at the relaunch of iconic music venue, Band on the Wall, and to thousands at Castlefield Bowl as part of 2023’s Sounds of the City concert series, Pixies have announced they’ll be making a return to our city once again next year, and they’ve got three gigs lined-up.
The influential and pioneering US alt rock band are set to head out on a tour of some of the biggest cities in Europe tour in 2024, and will be performing a selection of tracks from their hugely-acclaimed albums, Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde – which were released in 1990 and 1991 respectively.
Black Francis and co will be taking over Manchester’s iconic Albert Hall for three major gigs on Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13, and Thursday 14 March 2024.
Bossanova was the band’s third studio album, and was praised by critics for showing their less primal side, with a recurring sci-fi theme running throughout, and surf and space rock influences at the forefront.
‘Alison’, ‘Dig For Fire’, ‘Velouria’, and ‘Cecilia Ann’ were just some of the notable tracks from the album.
Trompe Le Monde, on the other hand, was known for having bookended a run of landmark records for the band, and although it was their fourth album, it’s arguably the most playful in their catalogue – with singles ‘Planet of Sound’, ‘Alec Eiffel’, and ‘Letter to Memphis’ featuring lyrics on UFOs, conspiracy theories, and more to prove Black Francis and co were still restless to push their sound forward.
Both albums are described by critics as sounding just as fresh and relevant today in 2023 as they did when they were released over 30 years ago.
Pixies’ celebration of these two iconic albums will see them perform across major European cites such as London, Dublin, Paris, and Amsterdam, as well as Manchester for three nights.
Pixies – Bossanova x Trompe Le Monde Tour 2024
8, 9 & 10 March – Olympia Theatre Dublin
12, 13 & 14 March – Albert Hall Manchester
16, 17 & 18 March – O2 Forum Kentish Town (London)
20, 21 & 22 March – Paradiso Amsterdam
25, 26 & 27 March – L’Olympia Theatre Paris
Tickets to the Bossanova x Trompe Le Monde Tour 2024 are officially set to go on general sale this Friday 9 June from 9am.
Hit Stockport sandwich shop Rack is opening a second cafe in Sale
Stockport’s favourite sandwich shop is coming to Sale, it has been revealed this week.
The small but mighty butty shop is expanding, as owners unveiled plans to open a new cafe and brunch spot inside a former barber’s shop in Sale.
Set to open on School Road later this year, the team will move into a characterful and quirky space in M33 following a full refurbishment.
With a hidden entrance down a side alley and then up a flight of exterior stairs, it might not be the easiest to find but – based on the calibre of butties coming out of their original shop – we know with certainty this will be worth seeking out.
Promising to keep it ‘all things sandwich’, just as they do at the original Stockport shop, on the Sale menu fans of things in bread will be as well catered to as ever with a dedicated grilled sandwich menu, plus staple breakfast butties and regular specials.
That’s not all, though. Given the increased size of the new space, the Rack team is also planning on introducing a new brunch menu – although details are currently being kept under wraps.
Sharing the news with fans online in a post that has been liked over 500 times, the Rack team wrote: “Huge Sandwich & Brunch Announcement.
“We’re opening a brand new sandwich and brunch spot on School Road in Sale M33! Taking over the space that once was a quirky first floor barber shop on the high street – The entrance is down the side alley and up the stairs, it’s got bags of character.
“Swipe to see how buzzing we were to start smashing walls down and see some of the progress. Keep your eyes peeled for progress pics and the menu drop – opening soon!