7 great dog walks in Cheshire
- Credit: Archant
Take your four-legged friend on a tour around Cheshire’s most popular walking spots.
Bickerton Hill on the Sandstone Trail is a great place to stretch your legs - whether you've got two or four. The ascent to the summit is swift and your efforts will be rewarded with superb views from Shropshire to Lancashire, Wales to the Peaks, while your companion has a good sniff in the undergrowth.
Investigate the grass-covered remains of Maiden Castle, an Iron Age fort, before tramping across heathland and zig-zagging down the side of the hill through woods, then climbing again for another peep at those views. There are walk leaflets at entrance points to the hill or to download at sandstoneridge.org.uk.
The Gritstone Trail
A trek along the Gritstone Trail at Cheshire's eastern edge can be as long or short as you fancy. This waymarked linear route between Kidsgrove and Disley, 35 miles to the north-east, is a classic ridge walk with wonderful views and sights including Lyme Park, White Nancy and Mow Cop.
The trail is split into three legs, detailed on a leaflet free to download at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk, each offering a good day's walk. You'll cover various terrain, including roads and farmland, so there will be moments when Rover will need to go on the lead. Pack the paw cleaner in wetter weather.
Marbury Country Park
This country park near Northwich was once the grounds of an elegant house, modelled on the French chateau Fontainebleau. Now only hints of the hall's existence can be found, such as the avenue of lime trees, a fine place to romp off the lead.
The park is part of the Northwich Woodlands, a series of green spaces connected by paths and byways that include Cheshire's unique "flashes" - saline pools where land that has subsided due to salt extraction has flooded. Among the places to snuffle around is the Anderton Nature Path, by the River Weaver, once a dumping ground for the local chemical industry, now a thriving habitat for marsh orchids and the rare dingy skipper butterfly. Check out the walks at foam.merseyforest.org.uk.
No need for your four-legged friend to fear roaming the medieval hunting grounds of Mara and Mondrem. Today, Delamere Forest is a prime spot to get outdoors on foot, bike or horseback. The waymarked trails are easy to follow forestryengland.uk/delamere-forest, passing through woods, around meres and mosses, and over the highest point, Old Pale, with its glorious views of seven counties.
The short trails are good if you and the dog have youngsters in tow (a Gruffalo is hiding in the trees), and multi-use tracks make it accessible to those with limited mobility. Delamere is doing some building work, but the trails remain open.
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The Goyt Way
This paw-stretcher begins at Etherow Country Park, in Greater Manchester, and ends 10 miles to the south east at Whaley Bridge, in Derbyshire. Yet it dips into Cheshire around Marple and Marple Bridge, a watery junction where the rivers Etherow and Goyt and the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals meet, a pretty picture to pad about, steeped in industrial history. The flight of 16 locks, one of the steepest in Britain, rising 200 feet from the Marple Aqueduct, will put you both through your paces.
Bridgewater Canal and the Lymm Dam
Thanks to Cheshire's role as a major thoroughfare for goods during the Industrial Revolution, it's blessed with several canals, including the first, the Bridgewater.
While the canal calls close to built-up areas and major roads on its way from Runcorn to Manchester, you and your furry pal will find it's peaceful where it passes by Dunham Massey and reaches the pretty town of Lymm. Here you can swap the towpath for the trail around the man-made lake at the Lymm Damn, which promises plenty of smells to snout out in the woods and down by the water's edge.
The Wirral Way
Step out on the Wirral Way, a 12-mile path on an old railway line. Trains once carried folk here along the Dee Estuary, between West Kirby and Hooton. Now the rails have been replaced by a track along which you can wander, revelling in views across the water to the Welsh Hills.
Your hound will love you if you stay a while on Thurstaston Beach, where they can run free on the sands all year round. You could extend your walk at either end as the path is part of the Wirral Circular Trail, a 35-mile loop to and from the Seacombe Ferry Terminal.