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With its conservation area location, in the shadow of the old railway bridge, The Ashlea offers a delicious menu of traditional pub classics and real cask ales to patrons passing through the village or walking the gardens of Abney Hall.
The Ashlea is a 19th Century Inn with a fine coat of arms, perched on the edge of Abney Hall Park, which has welcomed visitors through its historic doors for close to a hundred and fifty years. Situated in the suburb of Cheadle, the pub is tucked away from the main hustle and bustle of the high street, on leafy Manchester Road, close to the pretty Cheshire villages of Wilmslow and Alderley Edge.
Standing in the shadow of the old Cheadle Village railway bridge, the pub, along with the two terraced houses to its right, and Ashlea House to its left, once belonged to the Abney Hall Estate.
The Estate’s gardens, which spread out directly behind the pub, are popular with local residents, walkers and cyclists alike. On warm summer days, the patio area is a real sun-trap and buzzes with the chatter of walkers tucking into a pub meal al fresco. Equally, when the cold weather sets in, the homely charm of The Ashlea is popular with people in the mood for a pint of real cask ale and some hearty pub fare, under the antique beams.Read more...
For many years, The Ashlea was called The Railway Inn, a reflection of its close proximity to the old station. The Cheadle railway line and station opened in 1866, when both passengers and rail workers would make short hop down the station stairs to enjoy a pint of the local brew, while they waited for their departing train to arrive. From its appearance as a former residence of some kind, it’s likely the pub was once a beer house, a residential building licensed to sell just ale.
The pub didn’t acquire its current name until the early 1990s when, like its neighbour, Ashlea House, it was named after a cluster of large ash trees that once stood proudly outside its doors.
Cheadle has always been a prosperous part of the county. During the mid-nineteenth century, in White’s Cheshire Directory, the village was described as “a thriving and well-built village, containing several handsome villa residences, the property of merchants and other gentlemen of the city”. Following the opening of the railway line, a commuter suburb developed around what’s now the Brooklyn Crescent Conservation Area... a tiny urban park that’s home to birch, beech, cherry, chestnut, hawthorn, oak, sycamore and yew trees.
Yet it’s perhaps most famous for Abney Hall Estate, with its Grade II Listed house, lovely gardens... and history of famous guests. Prince Albert, Kind Edward VII, and Prime Ministers Disraeli and Gladstone, all visited the hall, hosted by its owner Sir James Watt, the then Mayor of Manchester.
The crime writer Agatha Christie was a regular visitor, too. Her elder sister Margaret was married to Sir James Watts and Christie stayed with the couple on numerous occasions. Abney Hall itself is said to be the inspiration behind many of the famous halls that appear in her novels, including Stoneygates, Chimneys and Styles.
While the house is now private office accommodation, the gardens are open to the public and well worth the short walk from the Ashlea. There you’ll find over 200 acres of leafy dells, Victorian waterfalls and secret pathways through the trees. During summer the wetlands bloom with purple and common spotted orchids, pretty pink cuckoo-flowers and buttercups.
Cheadle meanwhile, is worth a wander, if only to visit St Mary’s Church on the high street, once a 12th-century wooden church, it was rebuilt in stone in 1550. Head further south and you arrive at the charming Cheshire village of Wilmslow with its lovely eateries and boutiques, and the red sandstone escarpment of Alderley Edge. Here you’ll find widescreen views across the Cheshire Plain towards the Peak District.
The highest point of the Edge was formerly a Bronze Age burial mound. Today it’s a great spot for photographers keen to snap the wonderful views, or a sight of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, which often nests there.
With its convenient location, between both central Manchester and the beautiful Cheshire countryside, The Ashlea provides a great starting point or stop-off for walkers, cyclists or visitors exploring the area. With its menu of delicious pub classics, seasonal specials and sumptuous Sunday lunches with all the trimmings, the pub offers both a pleasant place to eat and warm welcome, whether you’re coming for lunch, for dinner, or just for a well-earned pint.Show less...