This was the second in a series of four short mid-week walks. (The next one is next Friday, 6 May.)
Despite an unusually fine morning, nobody else turned up, so I was set loose with plenty of time to pause to take photos. By the time I’d finished I had about 90 images including lots of rubbish!
Lindow Common, an SSSI and Nature Reserve, is very close to home and has lots of route options, so it’s a good place to start a walk, as regular visitors to these pages may have noticed.
Parking at the free car park next to the Boddington Arms gives immediate access to the heathland of the Moss.
I always like to start off by walking round Black Lake, today as always busy with dog walkers and amblers. A robin followed me for a while, flitting ahead from post to post. Sadly my camera never seemed to focus on the bird, so all those images have been deleted. There were fewer ducks than usual on the small lake.
The morning started sunny, gradually clouding over. The bright sun left me with another batch of discarded images of flowers, this over-exposed forget-me-not being the only one worth keeping.
The Common was exited down Newgate Road, a narrow lane that leads to Rossmere, where the gorse is in bloom and many fishermen were relaxing with their rods.
A herd of cows chased me across a long field to Burleyhurst Farm, from where I headed through fields of dew coated grass to Oak Farm, on the way passing this dead tree with a lump on a branch.
The sound of mewing – not a cat but a group of buzzards, of which this was just one.
It’s a well marked field path to Oak Farm, with departing aircraft getting closer and closer as the airport is approached.
After the farm, a narrow ginnel lined by blackthorn leads to the edge of the runway.
The North Cheshire Way footpath is joined and followed alongside the runway for some distance.
The bright yellow blooms of prolific cowslips and dandelions brighten the hedgerows in this vicinity just now.
Some bat barns, constructed when the second runway was built, house a variety of species. It would be interesting to come this way at dusk.
The runway construction revealed a previously hidden prehistoric settlement dating from as far back as 4300BC. I don’t imagine the occupants of the farm that had to be demolished as part of the runway project, thus revealing the ancient settlement, would have been too impressed at the time!
The runway tunnel is 240 metres long, 18 metres high and 24 metres wide. It incorporates a host of bird nesting boxes and various items that provide mammals with a safe corridor from one end to the other.
After a dogleg excursion through the tunnel and on to a bridge over the River Bollin, I headed on over marshy ground to cross the A538 Altrincham Road and into the familiar surroundings of Styal Woods.
There are lots of bluebells at present. Many of my 90 images were of bluebells. Most were later discarded.
Despite the increasing cloud, the woods were full of colour, even if it was somewhat white.
The white flowers are Wood Anemone and Ramsons (wild garlic); I have no idea what the violet flower is…
I’d been moving at a brisk pace, so this bench near Giant’s Castle Bridge provided a welcome spot for regaining my breath, and for elevenses, albeit a bit late.
A glance at the sky, and my failure to bring any waterproof clothing, saw me moving on after less than 15 minutes. Giant’s Castle Bridge is one of a fair number in Styal Woods, where the River Bollin meanders pedantically through the lumpy terrain.
After a while, and after having to walk around two sides of a triangle because of construction work on the edge of the mill grounds, Styal Mill is reached. If I’d had company, we’d have stopped for lunch here.
Beyond the mill, I wandered along the riverside path to Twinnies Bridge, a route I frequently took with push chairs and prams a generation ago.
These Marsh Marigolds have been flowering in the boggy ground by the river ever since I can remember (and probably for millennia).
The banks to the left of the path are completely swathed with bluebells at this time of year.
The drizzle started, so the camera was stashed and I rushed back to the car park just in time to avoid some proper rain.
Here’s my route - 15 km, 150 metres ascent. Allow 3-4 hours, although it took me rather less than that. (Click on the map for a larger image.)
There’s a slideshow here – 59 images, with a bit more information (by way of photos of information boards). Click on the first image, then click ‘Slideshow’.
The next in this short series of walks will be next Friday, a lovely 6.5 mile circuit from Danebridge, just down the road from the Ship Inn – 10am. All welcome.