FREE Cheshire Dog Walk: Delamere Forest & Eddisbury Hillfort (4 miles)
Great news, dog walkers of Cheshire! Below is a free chapter from our new book, Cheshire Dog Friendly Pub Walks, packed with 20 brilliant walks around the county.
The walks in this book have been carefully chosen and diligently checked. All feature firstly a dog-friendly pub, and secondly a route that avoids endless stiles or frequent brushes with boisterous bovines. On almost all the routes there is a stream, canal or pond for your dog to drink from, or even take a dip, and somewhere open and safe where your four-legged friend can be let off the lead to run off some of that doggy energy.
To give you a taster, below we've included one of the walks from the book, complete with maps and pics.
Delamere Forest & Eddisbury Hillfort Walk (4 Miles)
Delamere Forest is the largest and most accessible area of woodland in Cheshire, but this obvious appeal comes at a cost: the area around Blakemere and the Linmere Lodge Visitor Centre is often overwhelmingly busy with visitors. This walk avoids the crowds by exploring a quieter, more peripheral part of the Forest (at the expense of some road walking at the beginning and end). It also includes two airy hilltops with superb views over seven counties.
- Start & Finish: Vale Royal Abbey Arms, Chester Road, Oakmere. Sat Nav: CW8 2HB.
- How to get there: The walk starts from the junction of the A556 and B5152 between Northwich and Chester. For the pub car park, turn off the A556 onto the B5152 (signposted towards Tarporley) and turn immediately left.
- Parking: The pub has a large car park for patrons, or there is a layby on the A556 just west of the entrance to St Peter’s Church (see map). OS Map: Explorer 267 Northwich & Delamere Forest. Grid ref: SJ563686.
Vale Royal Abbey Arms. Dogs are welcome in the bar and conservatory and on the terrace at the rear of the building. Dog biscuits are available – in return for a charitable donation – from the bar, and there is a beer-barrel water dispenser by the door from the car park. Beers, including cask ales and craft lagers, are from the J. W. Lees brewery and its offshoots. For more info, click here
1. From the car park of the Vale Royal Abbey Arms, cross the A556 at the traffic island near the bus stop, then turn left along the verge beside the busy road. Cross the B5152 (signposted to Frodsham, Kingsley and Delamere Forest) and continue along the pavement beside the A556.
2. After 400 metres, you may wish to turn right for a respite from the traffic and to view St Peter’s Church, built in 1817. It is said to be a ‘Waterloo church’, built to celebrate and give thanks for Wellington’s victory two years earlier.
3. Returning to the main road, continue west for a further 750 metres until you reach the end of Stoney Lane by the Gothic building of Delamere C of E primary school. Turn right and walk up Stoney Lane past some houses on the left and cross the entrance to Watling Drive.
4. When Stoney Lane bends to the right at Old Pale Cottages, turn left through a kissing gate onto a footpath running along the top of an arable field.
5. At a gate, check for cattle in the grassy side valley to your right. If there are none present, or your dog is used to cows, turn right through the wooden kissing gate and follow the fence before continuing up the valley below a sandstone outcrop on your right. If livestock are present and you wish to avoid them, you can continue ahead to the Sandstone Trail, turning right and then right again to regain the described route at step 7 (see map). This rocky valley, like the slightly better-known and narrower Urchin’s Kitchen in the woods south of the A54, is an Ice-Age drainage channel, excavated by meltwater running under pressure beneath an ice sheet.
6. At the top of the valley, go through a wooden hand gate next to the field gate and bear slightly right onto a grassy track ahead (dogs can safely be let off the lead). Cross a transverse ride and continue until you meet a stony path, where you turn right.
7. Pass through the hedge and follow the path up the slope to a white Sandstone Way marker. Continue along a shelf overlooking Delamere Forest and the Mersey Estuary, passing a bench on the right.
8. Cross a track and continue ahead on the path running below a covered reservoir, which climbs to a bench then runs along the brow of the hill to the Old Pale topograph (cows in adjacent fields).
9. Take a track to the right (between the stones for Derbyshire and Staffordshire)
and follow it downhill, with the masts still on your right. Ignore a path heading off to the right. When you reach the woodland edge, go through the gap in the hedge then turn immediately right, with the wood on your left and the hedge on your right.
10. Follow the woodland edge until you reach a metalled farm track. Turn left. Walk downhill for 200 metres, then turn right off the road, through a gate.
11. A visit to Eddisbury hillfort is recommended, but you are likely to find cattle grazing on the ramparts. If you prefer to forgo the hillfort and avoid any potential bovine encounter, take the path on the left that runs along the top of the woodland, then turn right to rejoin the described route at point 14 (see map); otherwise turn immediately right (before the bench) and follow the right-hand edge of the field, towards the visible embankment at the top of the slope.
12. At the top of the hill, just before the track passes between two facing metal gates, squeeze between three stakes on the right and climb to the obvious earthwork of Eddisbury hillfort. Eddisbury is the largest and most complex of Cheshire’s hillforts. It was built in the Iron Age, deliberately slighted by the Romans, then re-occupied during the Dark Ages. The northern ramparts survive reasonably well, and the eastern entrance was reconstructed following an
excavation in 2010.
13. Follow the rampart until you reach the reconstructed entrance; here, drop down between low rock outcrops towards a lower path. At an interpretation panel set in a large rock, negotiate the stile and emerge into the quiet road.
14. Turn left and walk past Eddisbury Hill Farm, then through a caravan park.
15. On meeting Station Road at the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow the pavement past Delamere Stores and the community centre back to the A556 and the Vale Royal Abbey Arms.
- Alex Batho