The name refers to the area covered by the Recreation Ground and the bottom end of Adlington Road. There are a dozen cottages at the end of Adlington Road huddled against the boundary with Adlington parish. Lodge Brow rises above them on one side, the trees of Swinerood wood rise on another. They look out across the Recreation Ground with a backdrop of Kerridge Hill and White Nancy. A truly delightful spot – in spite of the name! The popular Vale Inn is among these cottages.
The river Dean boldly runs down the southern side of the Recreation Ground. Almost unseen a small stream rises in the wood behind the bowling greens and runs in a stone built culvert beneath the edge of the cricket field and under the cottages and all the way across the children’s playground, under the railway viaduct and only re-appears where it drains into the river Dean. Not a lot of people know that!
The name Gnathole probably comes from the time before the Macclesfield Canal was built when this was waste ground, very badly drained, and with the river ambling through it – ideal conditions for gnats and other nasties. When the canal was built, from 1825 – 1831, the river was re-routed through Palmerston Street tunnel, and later still straightened, and the whole area drained in order to stabilise the ground where the canal embankment was to be built. Further improvements came in the late 19thC when the area was brought into use as a recreation ground.
The cottages in this area are believed to have been built by Stephen Sheldon (1771-1844), whose descendants continue to live nearby in Sugar Lane.
The recreation ground is home to Bollington Cricket Club. In 1904 this was for a short time Cheshire’s county cricket ground!