Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Wednesday 1 September 2021 - Around Daresbury

I suddenly got the urge to do a short walk from near home. It's a shame that I chose to find the first rain (drizzle) for some time. That started after I'd headed off to Daresbury to park opposite the church in Daresbury Lane.

This was intended to be a check on Jen Darling's route description for Walk 2 in her 'Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral' book. 

'Daresbury - In the footsteps of Lewis Carroll'

I was nearly floored at the first hurdle, but I was able to ignore the 'closed path' notice and find my way across the fields to Old Chester Road, where there would also have been plenty of room to park.

The primary school is said to date from around 1600, according to Jen, who taught there some 370 years later - when apparently it still didn't have inside toilets. (Nor did the house that I lived in around that time, we just had an outside toilet and a kitchen sink, no bathroom.)

The weather vane celebrates Daresbury's connections with Lewis Carroll

I soon turned left onto a footpath, opposite a barn with a grinning Cheshire Cat.

The path led very soon to Daresbury Firs and Keckwick Hill.

Click on the image for a readable version

I tried to find the orientation table described by Jen, but all I could locate was a bench in the woods, surrounded by high trees that would negate any views.

Descending back to the main path, before being attacked by two dogs I discovered that I was on the route of the Mersey Valley Timberland Trail, a 21 mile route that would be nice to do. I'll have to get a lift to the start at Runcorn Hill Visitor Centre and walk home.

Looking back up the hill, the now timid dogs were hiding behind the trees.

On exiting the Firs area, the path passed a field across which there were views towards the industrial sites of the Mersey Valley.

The Bridgewater Canal was soon reached, at Keckwick Hill Bridge.

The canal towpath is good hereabouts, opposite the pristine site of Sci-Tech Daresbury - opened by Harold Wilson in 1967 under the banner of 'Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory' and re-named several times, most recently in 2012.

About 1300 people work for 150 companies on this site, monitored by a heron who is much more shy than his Timperley relations.

Keckwick Bridge is another of the old fashioned 'hump back' variety that date from the original construction of the canal in the 1770s. There's a bench next to it that provided a suitable spot for coffee etc in light drizzle.

The Bridgewater Way goes through here, though this section is deemed unfit for cyclists..

Bridge construction methods have changed since 1770!

This is a very pleasant section of canal to walk along, often accompanied with hordes of ducks and geese, but not today.

The regularly placed gantries are ready and waiting with timbers to isolate sections of canal if the need arises - there are no locks on the Bridgewater Canal.

Moorefield Bridge is another of the hump back variety.

The plaque in memory of Kenneth Henry Thomas, and the associated views are self explanatory.

Just down the road, the Red Lion welcomes customers.

Two views from Moore Bridge, where my route left the canal in favour of Hobb Lane.

After crossing the A56 road, I found my way blocked by a closed path guarded by two men who refused me entry to the public footpath. A festival site was being dismantled. After losing my argument with these jobsworths I found a reasonable path beside the main road, all the way back to Daresbury.

The Ring 'O Bells looked as if it would be open for business later.

The church has associations with Lewis Carroll, whose father was Vicar of Daresbury when Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, as Lewis Carroll was then known, was a child. There's an exhibition in the church, and a memorial window in a side chapel that I didn't find.

Here's my route - 7.8 km, with 100 metres ascent. The correct route should go along Hall Lane. That will be possible from tomorrow, when the festival site has been cleared.

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