Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Jen Darling walks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jen Darling walks. Show all posts

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Friday 27 September 2019 - Around Hockenhull Platts

This was a walk in an area that hadn't previously felt the tread of our boots. Good paths in a pleasant farming area to the north east of Chester.
The parish car park at Guilden Sutton (SJ 448 680) proved a good place to start, and I can see from the map that I'll choose this starting point for another walk in the future.
Today I was joined by Sue, and by Paul - who generously provided the transport. They are seen above, marching across the field path near Oxen Bridge. The correct line of the path near here had been destroyed by a plough (Cheshire farmers rule ok!) but we were generally impressed by the state of the paths, stiles and signposting.
The route was taken from Jen Darling's . Soon we passed Greysfield, described by Jen as "an attractive, half-timbered building".
Maybe, one day...
We then strolled through the hamlet of Great Barrow, past The White Horse.
It was a little early for us to be tempted inside, so we continued down Mill Lane and the along good paths to Tarvin, a small town that seemed to me very similar to Eccleshall in Staffordshire.
We diverged from the planned route, as the town looked as if it would be a source of refreshments. It was. Coffee and cake all round in the small front room of The Café.
Imaginatively named?
Back on route, we strolled down Hockenhull Lane, crossed the A51 after passing a small nature reserve in memory of a local man, and headed along good paths that skirt the C17 buildings of .
A large fungus caught our eyes. Beefsteak? It felt like it.
Soon we arrived at the highlight of this walk, three packhorse bridges at Hockenhull Platts. They span the River Gowy and its tributaries, and are medieval in origin. Apparently, this was once the main road from London to Chester. As the bridges weren't wide enough for carts, they were superseded by other crossing points by the eighteenth century.
It looks as if the bridges have been restored to their original condition, or better!
Today, despite recent storms and our walk taking place in gentle rain, the River Gowy was clearly not in spate.
At Cotton Hall we took a left turn to pass through several fields of sweetcorn, along a path strewn with Pineappleweed.

A burst of heavier rain ensured that the camera was stashed somewhere dry as we continued across the A51 and then on a well marked path through Vicars Cross golf course and back to Guilden Sutton, where we eschewed the promised (by Jen Darling) delights of the Bird in Hand pub, and went home for our lunch.

Here's the route - about 14 km, with very little ascent. It took us about 3 hours plus our coffee break..

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Friday 20 September 2019 - Around Lindow Moss and Mobberley Brook

This Friday morning walk was based on Jen Darling's 'Around Mobberley Brook' route, adapted for my convenience to start and finish at the Lindow Moss car park opposite the Harvester Boddington Arms on Racecourse Road in Wilmslow (SJ 832 814).
Despite the lovely sunshine, I was on my own today, and I walked briskly as our Canadian friends, Ken and Helen, would be arriving in Timperley at lunchtime.
The walk started down Newgate Road, before taking a left towards Racecourse Farm at the gate shown above.
On the outskirts of Wilmslow there's a network of good bridleways under canopies of mixed woodland. Beyond the farm, Battery Lane is another example of such a bridleway.
Beyond Lindow, the paths varied from minor roads to deep grass, laden with dew. This next image illustrates something between those two extremes.
Many crops have now been harvested, leaving fields of neat stubble such as this one near the village named 'Row of Trees'.
Paths crossing the Alderley Edge by-pass are poorly signposted, but the old stiles/kissing gates are still in place either side of the road, so you just have to make your way to the road and cross it in line with the route of the old footpaths.
Having crossed that road, and skirted around Alderley Edge, I came across a huge tomato farm, Field's Farm, of which the following picture shows just a small fraction. I passed a number of mobile homes in which the workers are housed.
After the walk, I called in to Booths supermarket for some essential supplies and was dismayed to discover that their tomatoes are from the Netherlands. Why, when there are so many within walking distance?
There were plenty of reminders that this is 'horse country'. The horses were generally contained within electrically fenced areas, where they had closely cropped the grass, leaving walkers to thrash their way through the long wet grass the other side of the fence.
Having said that, a lovely path led from Warford Hall Farm to the pristine fairways of Wilmslow Golf Club, where after helping a golfer to locate his ball in the rough, I passed this weed filled pond. Ducks required!
A welcome pause near Springfield enabled me to lighten my load to the extent of a flask of tea and a banana.
Paths then led from Great Warford, along Noahs Ark Lane, crossing Mobberley Brook and some of its neighbouring small streams, heading eventually past Clayhouse Farm to Moss Lane, before which this stile at the boundary of another well cropped field led to a rather narrow path through sweetcorn.
A good track then led to Coppock House Farm, beyond which a right turn sent me through more wet grass, before the fishing lake of Rossmere was reached.
Newgate Road then delivered me swiftly back past Lindow Moss towards the car park, passing more fields of harvested crops on the rural edge of Wilmslow.
I returned via Black Lake, where there can be an interesting selection of birds. Today there were lots of gulls, as well as the usual ducks, grebes, cormorants, etc.
Here's the route - a shade under 16 km (10 miles), with very little ascent. Whilst it took me two and a half hours, you could add an hour to that for a more leisurely approach and a pleasantly rural amble.
Next week will be more leisurely - Around Hockenhull Platts - 12 km, from Guilden Sutton parish car park (SJ 448 680). Meet at 10.00am. Maybe somebody will join me?

Friday, 9 August 2019

Friday 9 August 2019 - Around Little Budworth

I was joined on this Friday morning walk by the two Pauls. Inclement weather had mainly passed by the time we reached the Red Lion in Little Budworth. The pub appeared to be open, so I went in and asked if it was ok to leave Paul's car there until lunchtime, and "would you be able to serve us some coffee". Both requests were refused, on the grounds that 1. they were not yet open, and 2. a "big funeral" was taking place later and it would be mayhem.
At the landlord's suggestion, we moved the car to the nearby Country Park car park at SJ 590 653, and started our walk from there.
Walking back through the village, we passed Dodd's House - the house was built and the land purchased from monies left in the will of Dame Isabella Dodd - in 1734.

St Peter's Church, which would no doubt be full later, has a very tall tower, thought to have been built as one of the beacons radiating outwards from Beeston Castle to warn of any imminent attack by Welsh raiders. The interior apparently houses the widest unsupported church roof in Cheshire. Maybe we'll have a look around it one day when they aren't preparing for a big funeral.
Leaving the village, we passed Budworth Pool, home to many families of moorhens, and probably much more.
Soon afterwards, after some pleasant country paths, we entered an area known for growing watercress, which in the days before mechanised transport, was 'exported' to London.
That area is at the other end of a field of sweetcorn that has currently grown to more than head height. We made our way through the field in a brief shower of rain.
After taking a wrong turn and nearly arriving back at the car, we noticed how quickly a new stream created by the downpour had drained away and virtually disappeared.
The correct path led through the sunlit woods of Little Budworth Country Park, where large numbers of tasty looking puffballs were waiting to be harvested by some enterprising soul.
A right turn at Hill Top Farm (situated at the top of a small hill), took us to the Mill Pond. This area has undergone changes in recent years, following the gutting of the flour mill by fire, after it had been converted into a craft centre. It's now a private residence, situated to the left of the next picture. The picture shows the Mill Pond, overlooked by two large private houses. There is no sign of the Mill Pool Restaurant, which appears to have closed, and a picnic bench marked on the map has also been removed. That didn't stop us from taking an elevenses and chocolate brownie break on the grass near the reservoir where the picnic bench used to sit..
With the difficulties caused by recent flood damage to the Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge in mind, I had a look for information about this small reservoir, and found an interesting article in CheshireLive, which I reiterate at the foot of this posting for anyone who may be interested.
Moving on, we muscled our way, with buzzards in attendance, past Moss Hall Farm, whose fields illustrated a complete lack of appreciation for anyone who might want to try to follow the public footpaths between Brownhill and the farm. If we'd had a suitable container we might have collected some of the potatoes we had to stumble through to reach the farm.
A Victorian post box adorned the wall of a building in Rushton where we emerged from the lane from Moss Hall Farm. The farm to which the box is attached is imaginatively named 'Pillar Box Farm'.
By now, a noise that had become familiar to us during the course of the morning grew louder again, and we could just about identify the noise, that sounded like powerful sewing machines on steroids, as coming from motorbikes racing around the Oulton Park Motor Racing Circuit.
We followed the wall, passing another farm, again literally named - 'Park Wall Farm', all the way back to the car park, taking care not to collect too much cow poo for transmission to Paul's clean looking car!
Looking through the crumbling wall to the race course, we should have noticed some of the finest lime trees in Cheshire - many over 200 years old, as well as much more ancient mixed woodland that lines the race track. Perhaps we were too busy shooing away the attentive bullocks.
Here's our route - 11.4 km, with about 150 metres ascent (ie 'flat'), taking us a little more than two and a half hours. Despite any perceived criticisms herein, the paths were generally very good and provided a good circuit around Little Budworth and Oulton parks.
Given the discouragement provided earlier by the Red Lion's landlord, we chose to avoid the village and return via Cotebrook, where the A49 Café provided excellent value coffees and cakes - £6 in total for the round! I've marked the location with a tea cup on the map above - click on it, and on any other image, to get a better resolution picture/slideshow.
From CheshireLive - July 2013

A 300-YEAR-OLD mill pool has been saved from extinction after being threatened with enforcement action which would have turned it into a mud pond.

Friends of the Oulton Mill Pool in Cotebrook have breathed a sigh of relief after learning the historic waterway is not to be fully drained, after years of speculation surrounding its survival.

The news will be welcomed by villagers who regard the five-acre pool as an important rural beauty spot and thriving habitat for wildlife, including swans, ducks and coots.

The final twist in the saga involving the mill pool emerged after continued pressure was put on the pool owner, the Oulton Estate, by Cheshire County Council.

The authority issued an enforcement notice to deal with the pool's flooding problems some years ago under the 1975 Reservoir Act.

The authority was concerned the pool could cause flooding at any time and piled pressure on the Oulton Estate to address the problem via enforcement action.

A series of twists and turns followed but it has now emerged, following a re-measurement of the waterway's depth, that the pool is shallower than its original measurement.

As a result, the pool only has to be drained by seven inches - rather than the original 0.4m as first proposed - which cancels the pool's status as a flood threat.

Cheshire County Council will have to withdraw its enforcement action, which will be welcomed by villagers and the Mill Pool Restaurant in Cotebrook, which trades on the back of the mill pool.

The final twist in the mill pool saga emerged at the May meeting of Tarporley Parish Council.

Addressing fellow councillors, Tim Hill, a Vale Royal borough councillor, said the pool will be saved due to a new measurement of the waterway.

Cllr Hill said draining the pool by seven inches would take the pool out of the remit of the Reservoirs Act and pose no flooding threat.

'Anglers believe that draining the pool by seven inches won't turn the pool into a mud bank,' said Cllr Hill. 'This is an interim solution and not a permanent one. There is a one-in-100-years risk of flooding.

'Vale Royal Borough Council would like to see a new culvert placed in the pool, but the problem is funding it. However, this is quite positive news.'

Earlier this year Cheshire County Council issued fresh enforcement action and gave the Oulton Estate 28 days to deal with the pool's problems.

However, measurements were carried out in the interim, which led to the situation which will save the pool from being drained totally.

Earlier this year Michael Scott, a senior partner of Chester-based Denton Clark, which acts as agent for the Oulton Estate, said the estate would not break the law and draining was being considered.

In a statement, he said: 'The water will be lowered but the pool will be preserved. When you pull a plug out of a bath some water remains. It's a flexible situation.'

Officials at Cheshire County Council confirmed that draining Oulton Pool by seven inches would ensure public safety.

A county council spokesman said: 'The county council has responsibility for the enforcement of the Reservoirs Act 1975 and has recently had to apply pressure on the owner of Oulton Mill Pool to undertake works in the interest of public safety.

'The owner's engineer made such recommendations in both 2000 and 2002, however, the work has not been carried out.

'Last month the reservoir was surveyed and the owner's engineer now recommends that the water level needs to be reduced by 18cm in order to ensure public safety.

'The county council has agreed to this revised proposal and it is hoped that this will be undertaken as soon as possible.

'Meanwhile, the county council has concerns regarding a second proposal to remove Oulton Mill Pool from the Reservoirs Act and has asked for clarification from the owner.'

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Friday 2 August 2019 - Lamaload Reservoir and Shining Tor

Paul S and I took to some busier than usual minor roads, to reach the car park at Lamaload Reservoir, from which we set off walking at 10 am. This isn't far from Toddbrook Reservoir, above Whaley Bridge, which has succumbed to rain damage resulting in the evacuation of Whaley Bridge's town centre and the closure of many roads, hence the extra traffic - mainly white vans striving to make deliveries.
We followed the route suggested in Jen Darling's 'More Pub Walks in Cheshire and the Wirral' book, starting with a walk around the reservoir, from the western side of which is the view to Shining Tor pictured above. Our route headed up to the left of the wood in the centre of the picture, before curving to the right before the final ascent to the summit.
Unusually, the 'pub' suggested for this walk is a little off route. A visit to The Stanley would involve a short drive to the south. We took our own refreshments on this occasion.
The local footpath society does install some impressive signs!

After almost circumnavigating the reservoir (the dam looked fine) we passed by a copse with a stream running through it, before ascending steeply up towards Andrew's Edge.
Soon we could look down on the wood and the reservoir that we'd walked around only a short time earlier.
From more or less the same place, the view ahead shows a fairly level path before the final pull up to Shining Tor. It must have looked a lot different up here in the past. Recent rain has cleared the atmosphere, providing us with excellent views today.
The 559 metre summit of Shining Tor is the highest point in Cheshire. Paul and I dutifully (for this publication) took turns in posing on the summit next to a bag placed in preparation for an orienteering event.
We sat on a wooden bench with our flasks of tea/coffee and other snacks. Here we met the only other people seen on the entire walk - an elderly couple with a dog, and a group of four, also with dogs.
We could see and hear the Chinook helicopter ferrying stone to shore up the damaged dam wall in Whaley Bridge, but as soon as we descended to the west, retracing our steps for nearly a kilometre, we were in a different, very peaceful, valley. There were good views across to Shutlingsloe, a much more shapely hill than Shining Tor.
We spotted a number of kestrels during this walk, and there were lots of smaller birds around. Flowers were dominated by harebells, tormentil, foxgloves and various thistles. I must remember to carry my Lumix camera that has a much better macro facility than the Samsung phone that I currently use for most of my photos, then I can bore readers with pictures of flowers! There were also bilberries, but not in any great quantity.
There WAS evidence of the extreme weather they have had around here. Whilst everything was pretty dry, there was lots of evidence of inundation. Just by way of example, the next picture shows a wide area of grass, flattened by a recent flash flood. No wonder the reservoir overflowed.
A little further on, we passed the abandoned ruin of Thursbitch.  Paul tells me Alan Garner wrote a novel called Thursbitch, set on a remote moor, the novel being entirely in dialect.
A steep pull up to Redmoor Brow saw us nearly all the way round this pleasant circuit, leaving just a meander through deep grass and a walk down Hooleyhey Lane to retrieve the car and return home for lunch.
It's a little over 10 km, with a good 400 metres of ascent, and it took us rather less than three hours.
PS I forgot to mention in my recent , my find towards the end of that walk. Beside the path were two fine Horse Mushrooms, pictured below on our decent sized bread board.
They weighed in at over a kilo and provided for me and Sue a breakfast of mushrooms on toast, a lunch of mushrooms on toast, and four bowls of soup with which to start two evening meals. Brilliant!

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Friday 26 July 2019 - Around Daresbury

Paul B and I were the only takers for this pleasant stroll in warm weather close to home.
About 50 metres after striding off on our walk we came to an unpassable obstacle, the Dormouse Tea Rooms.
Duly satiated, our attention returned to the job in hand, as we sauntered out of the pretty village past cottages that date back to the 17th Century.
We had a mixed experience today of footpaths through fields of crops. Starting with this narrow route through a field of cereal crop. "Well done" that farmer.
Our route was based on Jen Darling's 'Around Daresbury' in her book, where a detailed description is available, or you could just follow the route on the map that appears at the end of this posting.
After passing under the M56 motorway, we wound our way past Little Manor Farm and Hallam Hall Farm to reach Morphany Lane near Morphany Hall.
On the right down here is the site of the parsonage where Lewis Carroll, born in 1832, spent his early years. There's a plaque, and some information boards, and I wrote about this site and its connection with Lewis Carroll in . Click on the images below for more readable versions.
You'll see from my that the decorative ironwork over the parsonage's well is a more recent addition. The rooms of the building are laid out between brickwork on this meticulously maintained site.
Moving on, a left and left again manoeuvre took us past Black Jane Farm, a Georgian building of symmetrical design, dating from 1729. They must have been neighbours of the remote parsonage. According to Jen, Black Jane herself is reputed to have been a swarthy-complexioned farmer's wife who brewed very potable ale!
The approach to the farmyard of Queastybirch Hall was blighted by the absence of a proper path at the side of a ploughed field, but the chap at the farm who was laying concrete was jolly enough to share a joke. Then, after the path had joined the Delamere Way, the path beside a field of giant lettuces was even less discernible.
Steep steps led to a bridge over the M56 and to the village of Hatton, from which our was based.
We found a good route along Goose Lane and past Greenside Farm, to minimise road walking through Hatton, re-joining Jen's route at Hatton Hall. We then skirted a stream and followed several kissing gates to enter Row's Wood. This is where shorts were not a good idea, and we were both pleased to find a good supply of dock leaves. Nobody's fault other than the locals of Hatton and Daresbury, who clearly don't walk this path often enough during the nettle growing season. (A similar accusation could be made of me and Sue concerning the ginnel leading to the canal at the end of our road.)
After this, it was a straightforward walk down Hobb Lane to the familiar sight of 'Duck Corner' on the Bridgewater Canal at Moore. We pass through here on our  regular .
There weren't as many ducks about as usual. The ones who were there were looking very chilled in the cool water of the canal on the warm day.
After just a short stretch of canal, we left it at the next bridge and found a lovely straight path through the crops, back towards Daresbury, with Daresbury Laboratory, opened by Harold Wilson in 1967, broadcasting its presence by way of the huge concrete cylinder of the former Nuclear Structure Facility which was based on a Van de Graaff accelerator.
More nettles and brambles at the end of this field gave us a few final stings and scratches before we clambered up to cross the A558 expressway and take the path back to Daresbury.
Here's our route (click on the image for a better version, as with all these images) - 14 km with about 120 metres ascent, taking us three and a half hours including stops (two tea breaks as well as the tea room - it was a hot day).
What a fine way to spend a summery Friday morning. Next week, on Friday 2 August, I'll be at the following venue, should anyone care to join me:
Lamaload Reservoir and Shining Tor. An 11km trip to the highest point in Cheshire. Start 10 am from car park at north end of reservoir (SJ 975 753).