5 dog friendly pub walks in Cheshire
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A pleasant dog walk through Cheshire countryside, and a cosy pub in which to relax...does life get any better? Howard Bradbury chooses five favourite walkies involving a pub which will welcome both you and your four-legged friend
The pub The Church Inn, Church Lane, Mobberley, Knutsford WA16 7RD. It's a proper country pub with 300 years of history behind it and an imaginative menu.
The walk A four-mile circular ramble through farmland comes recommended on the Church Inn's own website (full directions at www.churchinnmobberley.co.uk). You pass the old Quaker burying yard at Mobberley, where the first known interment was that of Robert Peirson of Wilmslow on August 16 1656, and the Bull's Head in Mill Lane, another equally dog-friendly Mobberley pub. You will also see St Wilfrid's Church, Mobberley, parts of which date back to 1245. A window in the church is dedicated to George Leigh Mallory who died in an attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924, and whose father Rev. Herbert Leigh Mallory was rector of Mobberley.
Rover says Lots of opportunities for me to get muddy on this walk. Despite this, the Church Inn says I'm very welcome in the bar, the boot room, the terrace and the garden. They even do pub grub for me: dog biscuits from Wags kennels of Middlewich and 'dog beer', made from meat stock.
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The pub The Windmill, Holehouse Lane, Whiteley Green, Macclesfield, SK10 5SJ. It's a pub set in one and a half acres of Cheshire countryside, just off the main A523 roads between Poynton and Macclesfield. Menu makes a virtue of locally-sourced ingredients.
The walk The beauty here is that you make your own walk, as long or short as you like. The Windmill is just a few yards from Bridge 25 of the Macclesfield Canal, and also the Middlewood Way, so you can walk one way along the canal, the other way along Middlewood Way and you'd be hard put to get lost. There is an excellent leaflet with map available to download from Cheshire East Council's website. Just Google 'Middlewood Way'.
Rover says A walk's not a walk unless I've dived into a canal to retrieve a stick, so I'm a happy hound. If I'm friendly and on a lead, I'm allowed into the bar at The Windmill, and the gardens, where they even have a maze for me to get lost in.
The pub The Farmers Arms, 167-169 Hillbark Road, Wirral CH48 1NJ. Pub serving food with huge beer garden, recently under new ownership and very much on the up.
The walk Royden Park, just a few yards from the pub, is the starting point for a four-mile walk which takes you through the mature woodland of the park, out onto open farmland with some lovely expansive views, and then back via the now-overgrown site of what was RAF West Kirby. Look out for the propellor-shaped memorial on Saughall Massie Road. Google 'Royden Park' and 'Cheshire Life' to find full directions for the walk we published last year. This is an easy walk, though there are some short sections involving roads, and you will cross fields with animals, so Rover will occasionally need to be kept in check.
Rover says Many interesting farm smells on this walk, and lots of interesting undergrowth to explore. I'm welcome in the front bar of the Farmers Arms, there's a big beer garden for fine days and they are even working on a recipe for home-made dog biscuits. And it is in HillBARK Road...
The pub The Bickerton Poacher, Wrexham Road, Bulkeley SY14 8BE. It's a traditional welcoming foodie pub with rooms...and a skittle alley! There is a Sunday carvery, and even breakfast served daily from 8am.
The walk The pub lies close to the Sandstone Trail, which winds 34 miles from Frodsham to Whitchurch along Cheshire's sandstone ridge. Neither you nor pooch will want to hike that far, but if you Google 'Sandstone Trail' you will find an excellent booklet produced by Cheshire West and Chester Council suggesting various short walks using the trail. Among them is the Rawhead Circular Walk which begins and ends at the Bickerton Poacher, taking you through woods with some wonderful views across the Cheshire Plain.
Rover says Squirrels! Pheasant! There's an awful lot of interesting stuff in the shrubbery on this walk. I'd love to be chasing off after some of these critters, but the signs say I must stay on a lead for at least some of the way. At the Bickerton Poacher, I'm welcome in the bar.
The pub The Ring O' Bells, 2 Bellemonte Road, Frodsham WA6 6BS. Friendly old pub (once the home of a very young Daniel Craig!) serving hearty food. It's due a three-week refurbishment early in the New Year, so check before going.
The walk We are at the other end of the Sandstone Trail from Bickerton. Google 'Sandstone Trail' and 'Cheshire Life' for our walk published in May last year. It's five miles long with some moderate ups and downs, but great views from Overton Hill and Woodhouse Hill. On a good day, you will get a clear sight of Snowdonia almost 60 miles away. On a muggy day, you will at least see Fiddlers Ferry power station, majestic in its own way. We get a good idea of why it's called the Sandstone Trail, passing some impressive rugged ruddy outcrops, some of which boast historic graffiti.
Rover says Some nice muddy bits on this walk if the weather's right, and lots and lots of trees to sniff. This pub is very dog friendly; a lot of my mates come here, and some even get a free biscuit!