Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Friday, 28 December 2018

Friday 28 December 2018 – Appleton

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After a break due to other commitments, I managed at last to check out another of Jen Darling’s ‘Pub Walks in Cheshire’ routes.

This one, around Appleton, was excellent.

I parked near the London Bridge Inn in Appleton, after a 30 minute drive from Timperley. The walk starts by crossing the road, then the bridge, and dropping down to the Bridgewater Canal by Thorn Marine.

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I doubled back under the bridge, passing ‘The Cheshire Cat’, a rental barge.

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A short stroll along the canal in the direction of Lymm led to Lumb Brook Bridge, which dates from 1770. I left the canal for good here.

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Heading under the bridge, this walk enjoys the scenery and wildlife of the Lumb Brook Valley, an area of woodland and wildflower meadows.

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A few early catkins were in evidence, as were woodpeckers, nuthatches, bullfinches and grey wagtails, together with numerous robins and other small birds.

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The valley is divided into three sections, first the Millennium Green with its wildflower meadows, then The Dingle, and finally Ford’s Rough, where the picture below was taken.

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Ford’s Rough ends at this bridge.

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With Dipping Brook to my right, I then headed up a field path to a small pond.

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Further along the route, I was intrigued to see the house that was built by an Admiral, who fitted it out as if it were a ship. It used to comprise the whole building shown below, but it now appears to have been divided.

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Here’s an extract from ‘The Roads from Warrington’.

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Later, this picture dating from around 1890 shows the farm with duck pond, and farm servants including milk maids in traditional dress.

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Note a small sandstone pillar to the left of the two maids in the above picture. It’s the same pillar as shown below, today, in the same grassy triangle. It is reputed to have been placed there to mark the spot where Cromwell’s horse was buried after being killed nearby in a skirmish in 1648, long before the current housing was built.

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From here, a short walk downhill along Park Lane leads to a right turn along a delightful path to Hillcliffe, along which views over the Warrington area open up. Not brilliant in today’s heavily overcast and dull conditions. Hopefully we’ll enjoy a little more vibrancy of colours when we walk this route again on a Friday morning in springtime.

A huge cemetery, Fox Covert Cemetery is reached. I’d never been there before.

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At the top of the cemetery is a black and white lychgate, marking the entrance to the ancient burial ground of Hillcliffe Baptist Church.

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From there, a series of beech bordered ginnels through modern housing trace the route of an old footpath known as the ‘Rabbit Run’, a reminder of the grassy slopes on which rabbits used to frolic.

Here’s the route – 10 km with about 100 metres ascent. It took me a couple of hours.

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Thanks to Jen for allowing me the opportunity to check this excellent route. Whilst I’ve suggested a few amendments to her text, there was only one place where I went slightly wrong whilst following her instructions without a map.

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