This was a walk in an area that hadn't previously felt the tread of our boots. Good paths in a pleasant farming area to the north east of Chester.
The parish car park at Guilden Sutton (SJ 448 680) proved a good place to start, and I can see from the map that I'll choose this starting point for another walk in the future.
Today I was joined by Sue, and by Paul - who generously provided the transport. They are seen above, marching across the field path near Oxen Bridge. The correct line of the path near here had been destroyed by a plough (Cheshire farmers rule ok!) but we were generally impressed by the state of the paths, stiles and signposting.
The route was taken from Jen Darling's 'More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral'. Soon we passed Greysfield, described by Jen as "an attractive, half-timbered building".
Maybe, one day...
We then strolled through the hamlet of Great Barrow, past The White Horse.
It was a little early for us to be tempted inside, so we continued down Mill Lane and the along good paths to Tarvin, a small town that seemed to me very similar to Eccleshall in Staffordshire.
We diverged from the planned route, as the town looked as if it would be a source of refreshments. It was. Coffee and cake all round in the small front room of The Café.
Back on route, we strolled down Hockenhull Lane, crossed the A51 after passing a small nature reserve in memory of a local man, and headed along good paths that skirt the C17 buildings of Hockenhull Hall.
A large fungus caught our eyes. Beefsteak? It felt like it.
Soon we arrived at the highlight of this walk, three packhorse bridges at Hockenhull Platts. They span the River Gowy and its tributaries, and are medieval in origin. Apparently, this was once the main road from London to Chester. As the bridges weren't wide enough for carts, they were superseded by other crossing points by the eighteenth century.
It looks as if the bridges have been restored to their original condition, or better!
Today, despite recent storms and our walk taking place in gentle rain, the River Gowy was clearly not in spate.
At Cotton Hall we took a left turn to pass through several fields of sweetcorn, along a path strewn with Pineappleweed.
A burst of heavier rain ensured that the camera was stashed somewhere dry as we continued across the A51 and then on a well marked path through Vicars Cross golf course and back to Guilden Sutton, where we eschewed the promised (by Jen Darling) delights of the Bird in Hand pub, and went home for our lunch.
Here's the route - about 14 km, with very little ascent. It took us about 3 hours plus our coffee break..