It was a lovely calm morning, with a bright winter’s sun trying to raise the temperature to above freezing. But, with jobs to get done, it wasn’t until the afternoon that The Dishy Pharmacist and I could take stock and get some fresh air – much needed in my case after last night’s office party. By the time we had driven down the back lanes to Culcheth, just north of Warrington, it had clouded over, a sharp breeze cut through the air, and at nearly 3 pm the light was already beginning to fade. So there was just time for a brief exploration; we hadn’t been here before, of the following route:
It’s all of 6.6 km, with 19 metres of ascent according to Mr Anquet. The paths were well signed and easy going. They were well used too, the farmers here have been well trained – no slurry filled gateways, and meticulous signage. Well done, people of Culcheth. A blend of tarmac lanes, grassy field paths under hovering kestrels, and woodland such as that shown above, facilitated a pleasant stroll that, all too soon, ended back at the car after an hour and a quarter.
We learnt that in Saxon times Culcheth meant ‘on the edge of a wood’, but as the name dates from between the 6th and the 10th centuries there has been quite a bit of ‘water under the bridge’ and the trees we saw, if I’m not mistaken, were younger than 1000 years old!
The Squire of Culcheth lived at Culcheth Hall, but that is long gone and all that remains is Culcheth Hall Drive with its modern houses, and avenues of grand beech trees together with a surviving gate lodge.
A 17th century visitor to Culcheth was apparently Colonel Blood, a notorious adventurer and secret agent who married a daughter of the Lord of the Manor and involved her in his plot to steal the Crown Jewels.