The milestones along the Macclesfield Canal are notable for a number
of reasons - they are beautifully made from Kerridge stone, they
are very large, they were lost, and now they are fully restored.
There are 27 one mile stones and there were 78 much smaller quarter mile stones, many of the latter having been lost.
The one mile stones were lost because at the start of WWII they were buried in order to remove any indication that could assist enemy troops in finding their way.
In the early 1980s a group of canal enthusiasts lead by Chris Beech realised what was missing and set about finding and restoring these magnificent features of the canal. Their work resulted in the restoration of 24 of the original stones. Three new ones were cut to replace those that could not be found.
Why 27 stones when the canal is only 26 miles long? Well this is somewhat controversial! The miles are measured from Marple junction in a southerly direction. During restoration no stone was found at Marple and it was assumed to have been lost. A new stone was prepared and installed for the 0 mile position. But some, including your webmaster, contend that there would never have been a stone at Marple - it wasn't necessary because it could be assumed that the junction was the zero point. However, Marple is such a popular spot that it is nice to have a stone there now so that visitors can see one.