Kingsley Village
in the heart of Cheshire

From the author of The Mills Of Kingsley and A Tale Of Two Mills here is an article on the Knabb in Kingsley

The Knabb

Dec 2020

The topography consists of a valley, narrow at the south end, then widening northwards as it meets a small valley to the west. The stream valley is considered glacial, possibly a meltwater channel.

Housing is dominantly on the eastern ridge with gardens sloping down to the stream. The western slopes are deserted until much further north when the stream is culverted before reappearing later.

The Knabb, is a made footpath alongside a stream starting at Guest Slack road and ending at Dark Lane. The path is on the left bank of a strongly flowing stream, some 30 cm deep for most of its length, with deeper parts where it crosses small rapids. Where the path descends quite steeply, the stream loses its straight course, widens and appears natural.The photo below shows the stream on the left of the wide path. Note it’s narrow, straight course compared with after the path descends some 5m.


One key contrast of this transition is in the banks. Above the fall in slope, over half the length of the banks are lined with sandstone blocks, usually some 0.5m high, excluding what lies below the water-level and stream bed.

Dating the sandstone blocks is likely to be impossible, unless other clues emerge. As there is no record of a mill on this stream, perhaps an old map might help.



Above, Greenwood’s map,1819 alongside the Tithe map, 1845. Comparison of the two, points to clear changes in the course of the stream. Before the 19th century, the stream appears to be closer to Dark Lane. Despite possible map inaccuracies, the land, even today, is largely unmanaged and prone to waterlogging.

The changed character of the stream suggests a number of reasons:

  • To prevent flooding of the stream though the valley slopes to it mean water draining downslope creates boggy ground. This is evident on land adjacent west of the stream
  • To secure a stable path along the stream for a specific reason and not just for the convenience of travellers on foot
  • To ensure a faster flow by stabilising the banks on both sides. This would prevent winter flooding on the left bank.
  • That stabilised banks existed before the path was laid down. The use of sandstone blocks means there was something benefiting from this. Leaving the natural banks as they would appear as Greenwood mapped the stream.



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