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Location Map
Cameraicon.png View gallery (17)
From:  Calton Moor House (SK116487)
To:  Hazel Grove (SJ925865)
Via:  Leek, Macclesfield
Distance:  31.9 miles (51.3 km)
Meets:  A52, B5053, A53, A520, B5331, A54, A536, A537, B5470, B5090, B5091, B5358, A5149, A5143, A6
Former Number(s):  A52
Old route now:  A538
Highway Authorities

Staffordshire • Cheshire East • Stockport

Traditional Counties

Staffordshire • Cheshire

Route outline (key)
A523 Calton Moor House - Hazel Grove


The A523 is a cross-country A-road skirting the western edge of the Peak District.

In the 1990s the entire A523 was renumbered A52, presumably to stop traffic using that road between Newcastle-under-Lyme and Derby. However, this change was undone almost immediately and few changes ever made it on the ground.

Section 1: Calton Moor House - Macclesfield

The A523 leaves the A52 between Ashbourne and Leek at Calton Moor House where the A52 diverges to Stoke by means of a TOTSO.

The road then descends via a number of sharp bends to Waterhouses. From here there is a popular cycle track/footpath (the Manifold Way, along the route of a railway line closed in the 1930s) up the Hamps and Manifold valleys to Hulme End. More open moorland is reached with the road's summit being at the junction with the B5053 at the oddly named Bottom House. A straight continuous steady descent then follows with one double bend on the outskirts of Leek where the road has been diverted (in turnpike days) to avoid Lowe Hill.

The A523 to the north of Leek

In the centre of Leek, the A523 used to go along the now-pedestrianised Derby Street. A remnant of this route is seen in the spur along Ashbourne Road. However, the present signposted route directs traffic via two TOTSOs either end of Springfield Road, the closest Leek has to a bypass (and allowing the A523 to be the dominant partner in a short multiplex with the A53) to avoid the congestion of the Market Place. We pass the football ground (big deal!) and continue out to Rudyard. The original turnpike went in a fairly straight line but involved steep gradients. The road was diverted to avoid the hill and now has many bends above and roughly parallel to the lake itself. I prefer the hill to a head-on on the bends followed by a fall into the lake.

Rushton Spencer is reached on a typical Cheshire-style road, although we don't actually enter that county until we cross the River Dane on the far side of the village. We cross the A54 at Bosley lights, after which there's an attractive stretch by the Macclesfield Canal and into Macclesfield, again via the Football Ground - must be catching!!

Macclesfield boasts a number of busy roundabouts followed by a D2 stretch of road again with roundabouts plus pedestrian lights, which spoils the effect.

Peter Edwardson writes:
The new relief road section between Macclesfield and Butley (near Prestbury) is partly built along the route of the former Macclesfield-Marple railway line, and is called "The Silk Road" - appropriately in view of Macclesfield's industrial heritage.

Section 2: Macclesfield - Hazel Grove

We are now on the outskirts of Prestbury where the Cheshire set live and the road reverts to Cheshire form. We go past Adlington and into Poynton, famous for an attractive church and a revised "shared space" type junction where pedestrians have equal priority, replacing traffic lights.

The final stretch of the road is wide and straight, entering Stockport MBC at a typical garden centre, passing lights at the A5143 and ending at the junction with the A6 adjacent to the Rising Sun Hotel, Hazel Grove.

Adrian Bailey writes:
The section of the road from Leek to Hazel Grove to was revamped while I was living in Macclesfield in 2002, with lots of lovely new red patches, hatchings, etc. The DOT states:

The works comprised of high visibility signs, introduction of hatched areas in the centre of the carriageway, high friction surface materials, high visibility black and white painting of existing safety fence, improvements at signalised junctions,road markings emphasising speed limit and a new Puffin Crossing located on the A523 Macclesfield Road, Hazel Grove near to the junction with Chatsworth Road.

What's more, EuroRAP lists the A523 (Macclesfield-Hazel Grove section) in the Top Ten most improved roads in the country.



The Gazette

JunctionsBosley Crossroads • Calton Moor • Chester Road Junction (Poynton) • Macclesfield Road Junction • Rising Sun (Hazel Grove)
RoadsT55 (Britain)
PlacesHazel Grove • Leek • Macclesfield • Poynton
Related Pictures
View gallery (17)
1-13, Fountain Place (C) Mike Kirby - Geograph - 1472755.jpgA523 Gatso 3 - Coppermine - 1062.jpgLake View - Flickr - 5439915148.jpgPoynton 'centreville' (C) Peter Turner - Geograph - 2935971.jpgStockwell Street, Leek - Geograph - 3657261.jpg
Other nearby roads
LeekA520 • A53 • B5058 • B5331 • T55 (Britain)
MacclesfieldA5002 (Derbyshire) • A5024 • A536 • A537 • A538 • B5087 • B5088 • B5089 • B5090 • B5181 • B5392 • B5470 • NCN55 • T55 (Britain)
StockportA34 • A5102 • A5143 • A5145 • A5149 • A555 • A560 • A6 • A6(M) (Bredbury - Hazel Grove) • A6(M) (Heaton Norris - Hazel Grove) • A6017 • A6180 • A626 • A627 • B5093 (Cheshire) • B5094 • B5095 • B5169 • B5423 • B5465 • B6101 • B6102 • B6103 • B6104 • B6167 • B6168 (Stockport) • B6171 • C462 (Stockport) • M56 • M60 • M63 • M66 • M68 • NCN55 • T12 (Britain) • T55 (Britain) • T59 (Britain)
A500 • A501 • A502 • A503 • A504 • A505 • A506 • A507 • A508 • A509 • A510 • A511 • A512 • A513 • A514 • A515 • A516 • A517 • A518 • A519
A520 • A521 • A522 • A523 • A524 • A525 • A526 • A527 • A528 • A529 • A530 • A531 • A532 • A533 • A534 • A535 • A536 • A537 • A538 • A539
A540 • A541 • A542 • A543 • A544 • A545 • A546 • A547 • A548 • A549 • A550 • A551 • A552 • A553 • A554 • A555 • A556 • A557 • A558 • A559
A560 • A561 • A562 • A563 • A564 • A565 • A566 • A567 • A568 • A569 • A570 • A571 • A572 • A573 • A574 • A575 • A576 • A577 • A578 • A579
A580 • A581 • A582 • A583 • A584 • A585 • A586 • A587 • A588 • A589 • A590 • A591 • A592 • A593 • A594(N) • A594(S) • A595 • A596 • A597 • A598 • A599
Defunct Itineraries & Motorways : A500 • A506 • A511(N) • A511(S) • A524 • A526 • A529 • A544 • A555(N) • A555(S) • A556(M) • A563 • A564 • A569 • A580 • A598