Sunday, 18 October 2015

The George and Dragon at Great Budworth

Gill and Richard led our second ride in October, with the first stop at Manley Mere.  slightly different approach , leaving the pond and heading right for a change.  Heading exactly back from whence I came!  Into Guilden Sutton, and onto the Greenway by the fox.

Manley Mere is a windsurfing and watersports lake only 6 miles out of Chester.  I remember them building it, and it is now a well established and pretty location.  They also have a fabulous cafe!  We met Sylvia here, and both Stu and I (who had originally considered heading back after coffee) decided to stay out to play instead!

The first thing after Manley is the climb up, after which more gentle ascents through Delamere Forest.  But this at least gives you the chance to enjoy the wide range of autumn colours we are enjoying this year.  We have had late sunshine through September, and very little rain and wind.  So the leaves have slowly turned, and stayed put; those that have fallen remain pleasingly crispy to swish through.

We have been following the Cheshire Cycleway route since Mickle Trafford; one I used to follow out in my early cycling days, and which I believe was formulated in 1986 - making it 30 years old next year.

We were split into two manageable sized groups, and after Norley and a wonderful descent off the sandstone ridge, my group caught up with the first, lurking in a side turning.  The route looked like it crossed a few fields (bridleway, not very far actually, certainly worth an explore another time!); and the conversation, after consulting gadgets and real maps, went a little like this...

Gill: if we turn left and left, will that get us to Acton Bridge?
Me: yes, left and left will work...

Gill gets to the end of the track and promptly turns right, followed by another right.  Interesting, I thought!

Consequently, at the end of Ainsworth Lane, we were still unsure of the direction (quick consult of the map confirmed it was right again) and we had a general adventure and explore near the Weaver, with wonderful views of the Dutton Viaduct, which we crossed under and climbed above.

We picked up the Cheshire Cycleway again (having fallen off it momentarily), through Acton Bridge, over the actual bridge, and up to Little Leigh.  Between Weaverham and Barnton the river Weaver and canals have an interesting history, close as we are here to the Anderton Boat Lift.  There are tunnels, cuttings, and lots of footpaths to explore, and remnants of a hugely industrial past, with the salt mines and associated industry.

You sometimes see an array of interesting
yet apparently abandoned articles in barns

Noted in the Doomsday book, Gt Budworth used to be part of Arley Hall; and was redesigned to 'look pleasing to the Victorian eye' in the late 1800's

Goldmine House (pictured left) was designed by John Douglas, a prolific Chester Architect who desiged, among many things, Chester's Eastgate Clock

I love Wikipedia!

St Mary's and All Saints Church is a fabulous sandstone 14th century Church which dominates the main street, and is opposite the George and Dragon, our lunch stop.

After lunch we re-assembled in the car park, and headed back, retracing our route briefly back to Comberbach before heading left to pass Marbury Country Park and the Anderton Boat Lift.

Through Hartford and along to Whitegate, where we had to pause for the Cheshire Hounds hunt - horses really - hundreds of them!

16 riders, 48 miles

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Wilbraham at Nantwich

10 convened at Christleton Pond this morning, no fog in sight as had been the case this week, and avoiding all the closed roads from Chester's 'metric' marathon.

The pond was so flat and calm, reflecting the heron as he stalked slowly between the lily pads.  We were a little late starting as Nosheen's sat nav took her to the wrong place, and as we waited two more turned up.

Ian led us out of Christleton into the lanes, until a road closed (and by the looks of it, workmen busy even on a Sunday with what looked like hot tarmac.)  Small deviation to the A51 brought us quickly back on route, and into the lanes once more.

Cheshire is flat, apart from the Sandstone ridge we always have to cross.  We did so near Willington, steady climbing then descending to a little favourite

lane of John's, leading to a small lake - we think it is just called 'Mill pond' - a favourite fishing spot and very pretty. There is a path you can use to walk around it.

Sunny and warm enough to sit outside at the Shire Horse Centre, with a small unfriendly cat walking about between us and along the rail.  We bade farewell to Hazel, but greeted Paul who met us there.

Welsh Row

Back into the lanes and through Rushton and Wettenhall to the back of Reaseheath college, cross the A51 and into Welsh Row in Nantwich.  

Nantwich has the largest number of historic buildings in Cheshire (outside Chester) which includes the buildings up Welsh Row, which leads out of the town. 

After lunch, where we again sat outside, this time watching noisy tractors, ambulances, and a man pushing a large cart full of great tins and cans, we headed back out of Nantwich and another closed road - they are the best, so quiet!

Out through Acton and Chorley, to again cross the A49.  Past Cholmondeley Estate (pronounced Chumley, in case you didn't know) towards pretty Bickerton.  Here we again cross the Sandstone ridge, at Harthill.

Decision time at Harthill

Decision time - which cafe do we want to go to?  Teddy Bear cafe won, near Burwardsley (pronounced Burdsley, but not Bosley!), which it's panoramic views from Helsby Hill to the right, around to Wales on the left.  A bit too hazy today to see Liverpool.

Last orders at The Teddy Bear Cafe :-(
Sadly we were informed that the cafe will be closing at the end of the month; so I am glad we had this last golden opportunity to sit in the sunshine and enjoy the views, coffee, biscuits and cakes.

It is all downhill from here!