FREE Cheshire Dog Walk: Knutsford & Tatton Park (3.5 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.
KNUTSFORD & TATTON PARK (3.5 MILES)
The parks around England’s country mansions are often perfect for our four-legged friends: there are usually acres of grassland to romp in, ponds aplenty and woods full of scents to follow and sticks to chase. Tatton Park is no exception. However, do bear in mind that there are sometimes deer and sheep in parts of the park; keep your dog under close control, or on a lead if they are liable to give chase when there are animals around. Even if your dog can’t be trusted around livestock, he or she can safely be let off the leash to run around freely on another of Knutsford’s great open spaces, the Moor. Note: The Park opens at 8am year-round and closes at 5pm (low season) or 7pm (high season).
- Start & Finish: Gaskell Memorial Tower (Belle Epoque), King Street.
- Sat Nav: WA16 6DT.
- How to get there: Gaskell Memorial Tower (designed by Richard Harding Watt) is in the centre of Knutsford, between the Cross Keys and Rose & Crown. From junction 6 of the M1, follow the A556 south, then turn left onto the A5033. Cross the motorway and continue to a roundabout by the White Bear in Knutsford, where you turn right. Just before a filter light, turn left by the brick-arched former town hall (now the Lost & Found bar) into Church Hill. On meeting the one-way King Street, turn left, then right into the car park.
- Parking: The pay-and-display car park off King Street.
- OS Map: Explorer 268 Wilmslow, Macclesfield & Congleton
The Cross Keys Hotel and The Rose & Crown are close together on King Street near the start, and both are dog-friendly.
Dogs have the run of the Cross Keys, where several of the staff are dog owners and treats may be on offer. On a fine day there are tables out front where you and your furry friend can watch the world going about its business.
Although the Rose & Crown is more of a dining pub, dogs are welcome to loll at their owners’ feet in the front bar, where canine portraits look down austerely on them from the walls, and there is a pleasant terrace in the garden at the rear.
1. From Gaskell Memorial Tower walk past the Rose & Crown and then turn right by Barclays Bank, signposted ‘The Moors and Play Area’. The Tower commemorates Elizabeth Gaskell, biographer of Charlotte Brontë, who lived with her aunt near Knutsford and modelled one of her best-known novels, Cranford, on the town. Walk down the side of the car park and cross Moorside into the park where dogs can be let off the lead. Follow the tarmac path to the left of the park, with the lake on your left.
2. At the end of the park, before a tunnel under the railway, turn left onto an unsignposted path. Follow the winding path through the trees and then a more open area until you meet another path that joins from the right by a railway overbridge. Bear left through a gate back into woods, obeying the instruction to put your dog on a lead.
3. Follow the wide path through the trees for a little under ½ mile to a second gate. From here you can either continue along the main track or divert left to the water’s edge. If you choose the latter option, at the time of writing the lakeside path was closed beyond a jetty and you will need to return to the
4. Either way, continue parallel to the lakeside before emerging into open parkland. If no sheep or deer are in sight, you can probably let your dog off the lead for a run here, but do obey any on-site instructions and don’t
let him or her harass the long-suffering ducks. Follow the waterside path past an L-shaped jetty and a constriction at the neck of the lake until you meet a crossing estate road. (For a detour to Tatton Old Hall, continue ahead.)
5. Turn left and walk past the top of Tatton Mere to a road junction by Melchett Mere. For Tatton Hall and the Stableyard tearoom, turn right here. Tatton Hall was first built in 1716 but was largely rebuilt a hundred years later, then extended in the Victorian era. It houses a noted art collection including paintings by Canaletto and Van Dyck. A fee is charged to view the interior of the house, or to enter the formal gardens. The original manor, Tatton Old Hall, begun in the early 1500s, still stands within the deer park.
6. Turn left across the grass to a kissing gate by the lakeside and continue beyond, with the Mere on your immediate left and a park road away to your right. Follow the lakeside for nearly a mile.
7. Level with a fence across the lake, the path bears right to leave the water’s edge, and skirts woodland to meet the metalled Knutsford Drive. It’s a good idea to clip the lead back on here.
8. Turn left and walk through the grand park entrance, then follow the wide path to the left of the road which leads to the junction of King Street and Drury Lane. To view the Ruskin Rooms, another of Watt’s creations, turn left, otherwise continue along King Street back to the starting point.
- Alex Batho