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

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