I took a bit of time out on Tuesday for a walk in the rain around Rixton. I’d not been there before, although it’s just a few minutes away from Timperley, less than a mile beyond the Warburton Toll Bridge across the Manchester Ship Canal.
There’s plenty of space to park near The Cross at Hollins Green, and from The Cross you can head down a narrow path to the right of the cemetery. This brings you out into the open fields pictured below.
The footpaths around here are delightful, threading their way over streams and ditches and through fields that are lush with growing crops.
What a pleasant contrast to the pathless Aberdeenshire farmland that I could only observe from long tranches of tarmac last week. Here in Cheshire, the lapwings seem as plentiful as they were further north, but I saw no oyster catchers today.
After crossing Dam Lane and enjoying more fields, I reached Moss Side Lane and turned right past the Brick Works. The factory appeared to be thriving.
Beyond the factory, several entrances on the left draw one into the lush site (an SSSI) of Rixton Claypits.
Old pits, left after clay has been extracted for brick making, remain as a patchwork of woods, damp meadows and open water. Orchids and yellow wort grow plentifully in the alkaline clay habitat.
The abandoned clay workings that were last dug in the 1960s by Irlam Brickworks have enabled Rixton Claypits to become a Nature Reserve comprising lakes with islands, reedbeds and willow scrub, all rich in wildlife. It’s a refuge for wildlife in an area dominated by light industry and agriculture.
Huge numbers of plant and bird species can be found in the reserve, and at this time of year, as well as bluebells, the paths are lined by forget-me-nots and red campion.
An information board, the support for which has been lovingly carved, explains that at least 18 species of damselfly (delicate – hold wings along their bodies when at rest) and dragonfly (larger – wings outstretched when resting) can be found hereabouts. They are carnivorous, taking insects whilst on the wing.
There are loads of paths within the Reserve, and after a wander around them you can exit onto Manchester Road near a car park. The paths follow the edge of the reserve, so the busy road is the other side of a hedge.
Returning to The Cross via Chapel Lane and School Lane, these buildings are passed. They look a bit like mid European barns, but I think they are probably a legacy of the old brickworks.
Here’s the route I took. There are lots of footpaths hereabouts, so plenty of options. It took me about an hour and a quarter for the 6 or so kilometres (4 miles).
Similarities to Aberdeenshire:
Damp hedgerows and empty paths….