With rain forecast later, I enjoyed a short 2 hour stroll from Lymm Dam, just a 15 minute drive from home.
Parking at 10.15 in Crouchley Lane I set off up the main road, away from the Dam, turned left into Grammar School Road, and when St Peter's Church came into view I headed down the path towards its distinctive spire. This is Oughtrington, on the eastern edge of Lymm, and whilst it is less than 50 metres above sea level it does lie above the surrounding countryside and affords fine (if not very photogenic) views across to Winter Hill, the skyscrapers of Manchester, and the hills of the Dark Peak behind the mass of suburbia.
Beyond the church, the path continues in an easterly direction through fields, with even more expansive views towards the hills of the Peak District, with aircraft coming in to land at Ringway in the foreground.
Carrion crows cawed in freshly ploughed fields, and two youths tried to control a bunch of unruly dogs - maybe they were dog walkers, enterprising an income rather than walking the streets. At least the dogs were 'waggy' rather than intimidating...
This short route turns first left down Spring Lane, to cross the canal. The sign is just about visible, ironically soon to be concealed by the shoots of spring.
There is an extensive boatyard (Lymm Cruising Club) on the left of the canal, and a firm towpath on the right. This doubles up as a fast cycle track when there's a strong westerly wind like yesterday's.
There's a convenient bench on the towpath by Agden Bridge.
Time for a welcome cup of tea.
Walking along the towpath back towards Lymm, in the face of a fresh breeze, I first encountered a pair of Greylag Geese.
Then Mr and Mrs Mute Swan.
The grass beside the towpath is full of Butterbur (Petasites hybridus), as well as daisies and dandelions just now.
I passed a small car park at Spud Wood Woodland Trust (this would be a better place to park, in future). A sign indicated that this was the start of a 22 mile trail to Runcorn Hill - the Mersey Valley Timberland Trail. I'd never heard of it! Full details are here - probably a nice walk - I may report on it sometime soon!
The hawthorn is coming into leaf, and the blackthorn is in flower. Cherry blossom also brightened the day.
As did Forsythia.
A short climb to cross the main road at Lymm Dam heralds a short final stroll around the small lake. The woodland is still bare of leaves.
The lack of foliage leaves little cover for the birds that live here, not that the cormorants would have hidden in the wood. This one's mate hid under the water...
It was full of life, with coots, mallard, moorhens, wood pigeons, wrens, long-tailed tits, great tits, blue tits, blackbirds, robins, magpies and great crested grebes all busily ignoring me as I strolled back to the car.