I was joined on this Friday morning walk by the two Pauls. Inclement weather had mainly passed by the time we reached the Red Lion in Little Budworth. The pub appeared to be open, so I went in and asked if it was ok to leave Paul's car there until lunchtime, and "would you be able to serve us some coffee". Both requests were refused, on the grounds that 1. they were not yet open, and 2. a "big funeral" was taking place later and it would be mayhem.
At the landlord's suggestion, we moved the car to the nearby Country Park car park at SJ 590 653, and started our walk from there.
Walking back through the village, we passed Dodd's House - the house was built and the land purchased from monies left in the will of Dame Isabella Dodd - in 1734.
St Peter's Church, which would no doubt be full later, has a very tall tower, thought to have been built as one of the beacons radiating outwards from Beeston Castle to warn of any imminent attack by Welsh raiders. The interior apparently houses the widest unsupported church roof in Cheshire. Maybe we'll have a look around it one day when they aren't preparing for a big funeral.
Leaving the village, we passed Budworth Pool, home to many families of moorhens, and probably much more.
Soon afterwards, after some pleasant country paths, we entered an area known for growing watercress, which in the days before mechanised transport, was 'exported' to London.
That area is at the other end of a field of sweetcorn that has currently grown to more than head height. We made our way through the field in a brief shower of rain.
After taking a wrong turn and nearly arriving back at the car, we noticed how quickly a new stream created by the downpour had drained away and virtually disappeared.
The correct path led through the sunlit woods of Little Budworth Country Park, where large numbers of tasty looking puffballs were waiting to be harvested by some enterprising soul.
A right turn at Hill Top Farm (situated at the top of a small hill), took us to the Mill Pond. This area has undergone changes in recent years, following the gutting of the flour mill by fire, after it had been converted into a craft centre. It's now a private residence, situated to the left of the next picture. The picture shows the Mill Pond, overlooked by two large private houses. There is no sign of the Mill Pool Restaurant, which appears to have closed, and a picnic bench marked on the map has also been removed. That didn't stop us from taking an elevenses and chocolate brownie break on the grass near the reservoir where the picnic bench used to sit..
With the difficulties caused by recent flood damage to the Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge in mind, I had a look for information about this small reservoir, and found an interesting article in CheshireLive, which I reiterate at the foot of this posting for anyone who may be interested.
Moving on, we muscled our way, with buzzards in attendance, past Moss Hall Farm, whose fields illustrated a complete lack of appreciation for anyone who might want to try to follow the public footpaths between Brownhill and the farm. If we'd had a suitable container we might have collected some of the potatoes we had to stumble through to reach the farm.
A Victorian post box adorned the wall of a building in Rushton where we emerged from the lane from Moss Hall Farm. The farm to which the box is attached is imaginatively named 'Pillar Box Farm'.
By now, a noise that had become familiar to us during the course of the morning grew louder again, and we could just about identify the noise, that sounded like powerful sewing machines on steroids, as coming from motorbikes racing around the Oulton Park Motor Racing Circuit.
We followed the wall, passing another farm, again literally named - 'Park Wall Farm', all the way back to the car park, taking care not to collect too much cow poo for transmission to Paul's clean looking car!
Looking through the crumbling wall to the race course, we should have noticed some of the finest lime trees in Cheshire - many over 200 years old, as well as much more ancient mixed woodland that lines the race track. Perhaps we were too busy shooing away the attentive bullocks.
Here's our route - 11.4 km, with about 150 metres ascent (ie 'flat'), taking us a little more than two and a half hours. Despite any perceived criticisms herein, the paths were generally very good and provided a good circuit around Little Budworth and Oulton parks.
Given the discouragement provided earlier by the Red Lion's landlord, we chose to avoid the village and return via Cotebrook, where the A49 Café provided excellent value coffees and cakes - £6 in total for the round! I've marked the location with a tea cup on the map above - click on it, and on any other image, to get a better resolution picture/slideshow.
From CheshireLive - July 2013
Friends of the Oulton Mill Pool in Cotebrook have breathed a sigh of relief after learning the historic waterway is not to be fully drained, after years of speculation surrounding its survival.
The news will be welcomed by villagers who regard the five-acre pool as an important rural beauty spot and thriving habitat for wildlife, including swans, ducks and coots.
The final twist in the saga involving the mill pool emerged after continued pressure was put on the pool owner, the Oulton Estate, by Cheshire County Council.
The authority issued an enforcement notice to deal with the pool's flooding problems some years ago under the 1975 Reservoir Act.
The authority was concerned the pool could cause flooding at any time and piled pressure on the Oulton Estate to address the problem via enforcement action.
A series of twists and turns followed but it has now emerged, following a re-measurement of the waterway's depth, that the pool is shallower than its original measurement.
As a result, the pool only has to be drained by seven inches - rather than the original 0.4m as first proposed - which cancels the pool's status as a flood threat.
Cheshire County Council will have to withdraw its enforcement action, which will be welcomed by villagers and the Mill Pool Restaurant in Cotebrook, which trades on the back of the mill pool.
The final twist in the mill pool saga emerged at the May meeting of Tarporley Parish Council.
Addressing fellow councillors, Tim Hill, a Vale Royal borough councillor, said the pool will be saved due to a new measurement of the waterway.
Cllr Hill said draining the pool by seven inches would take the pool out of the remit of the Reservoirs Act and pose no flooding threat.
'Anglers believe that draining the pool by seven inches won't turn the pool into a mud bank,' said Cllr Hill. 'This is an interim solution and not a permanent one. There is a one-in-100-years risk of flooding.
'Vale Royal Borough Council would like to see a new culvert placed in the pool, but the problem is funding it. However, this is quite positive news.'
Earlier this year Cheshire County Council issued fresh enforcement action and gave the Oulton Estate 28 days to deal with the pool's problems.
However, measurements were carried out in the interim, which led to the situation which will save the pool from being drained totally.
Earlier this year
Michael Scott, a senior partner
of Chester-based Denton Clark, which acts as agent for the Oulton Estate, said
the estate would not break the law and draining was being considered.
In a statement, he said: 'The water will be lowered but the pool will be preserved. When you pull a plug out of a bath some water remains. It's a flexible situation.'
Officials at Cheshire County Council confirmed that draining Oulton Pool by seven inches would ensure public safety.
A county council spokesman said: 'The county council has responsibility for the enforcement of the Reservoirs Act 1975 and has recently had to apply pressure on the owner of Oulton Mill Pool to undertake works in the interest of public safety.
'The owner's engineer made such recommendations in both 2000 and 2002, however, the work has not been carried out.
'Last month the reservoir was surveyed and the owner's engineer now recommends that the water level needs to be reduced by 18cm in order to ensure public safety.
'The county council has agreed to this revised proposal and it is hoped that this will be undertaken as soon as possible.
'Meanwhile, the county council has concerns regarding a second proposal to remove Oulton Mill Pool from the Reservoirs Act and has asked for clarification from the owner.'