Walking in Cheshire
Cheshire, famous for its cheese and happy cats, is tucked in against the Welsh border just below the industrial conurbations of Liverpool and Manchester. It provides a link between the Midlands and England's rugged North West counties and it's location, forming a connecting link to these three regions has led to a rich and eventful history. The landscape too is full of variety and interest, ranging from the gentle pastoral lowlands and peaceful wooded hillsides of the Cheshire Plain in the west, to panoramic heights of purple moorland and wild hills in the east.
Within an area of about 2,000 sq. km. there are endless possibilities for great walks, together with many opportunities to see flourishing local crafts, or visit famous historic towns and villages, Country Houses and beautiful gardens. The landscape of the Cheshire Plain is typically one of dairy farming, Friesian cows grazing contentedly in green pastures, shady woodland and picturesque black and white 'Magpie' houses nestling between the fields. The essential element of water is provided by the gently flowing River Dee as it makes its way, via historic Chester, to the Irish Sea. Scenic variety is provided by sandstone upthrusts such as Alderney Edge with its wooded escarpment and fine views of the Chesire Plain. Similarly Delamere Forest, an old Crown woodland provides splendid trails through Scots and Corsican Pines.
East Cheshire provides a more dramatic contrast to the Plain as the landscape rises towards the gritstone Pennine foothills and rich pasture becomes open hill country with stone walls and upland meadows where sheep graze. The areas around Shutlingslow, often refered to as Cheshire's Matterhorn because of its distinctive profile, and Kettleshulme on the eastern county border, both provide excellent if energetic walking.
The Wirral, a peninsular formed between the River Mersey and River Dee estuaries provides yet another distinctive Cheshire landscape. Here the coastal marshes are an important sanctuary for wildlife and a bracing winter walk will be rewarded with the sight of thousands of wading birds and wildfowl as well as magnificent estuary views.
Wilmslow lies in a deep valley of the River Bollin. From its source near Shutlingslow the river flows through some beautiful countryside offering enjoyable walking. The town itself is an affluent modern place largely providing a dormitory to Manchester.
Alderley Edge, to the south, is a wooded sandstone escarpment overlooking the Cheshire Plain. It is well worth planning a walk to include the Edge and perhaps also nearby Hare Hill. Nether Alderley watermill (NT), which dates from the 15th century, and is in full working order with regular flour grinding demonstrations is well worth including in a walk.
The origins of the county town of Chester go back to the Roman camp of Deva, established in AD79 to protect the fertile area from marauding Welsh clans. The Roman remains are remarkable, including some of the orginal town walls and an amphitheatre. However, it is the building from the middle ages onwards that gives Chester its unique and attractive character, particularly the galleried streets and balustraded walkways. Chester is definitely worthy of a visit, and there are a number of interesting walking locations in the area, making the town an ideal location for a weekend break.
Peover Heath - An attractive village to the south of Knutsford, Peover Heath is one of a number of settlements in the area with the name Peover, which is pronounced 'Peever'. The name derives from the ancient Anglo-Saxon word 'peefer' meaning 'bright river' and refers to a stream called Peover Eye which meanders through the district. It's a pleasant walk from here to the Jodrell Bank Centre and Arboretum. Also, just a mile away, is Peover Hall and Gardens. Dating from 1585 the Hall is well kown for its fine Jacobean stables, chapel, landscaped gardens and topiary work.
OS Map: Explorer 268
A Walk from Peover Heath [SJ
Macclesfield - Macclesfied's early development was as a silk manufacturing town. The old town has much character within its steep streets which contain some attractive black and white 'Magpie' houses. To the east of the town lies the green Bollin Valley and beyond, the dramatic gritstone hills of The Peak district. Macclesfield forest, 6km east, is a wild moorland which was once part of a royal hunting park. There are a herd of red deer who share the forest with foxes, badgers and other wildlife. Further east lies the remotely sited Cat and Fiddle Inn. Situated three miles south of Macclesfield is Gawsworth Hall, an attractive 15th century half-timbered manor house.
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