An extended walk along the Sandstone Trail, giving fine views and including highlights of the mid-Cheshire ridge.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) From the front door, cross the A41 road and turn left to the junction with the A534. Turn right (signposted Nantwich) and walk along the nearside verge until you reach a footpath opposite Withy Lane.
(1) Turn right through the gate and follow the footpath beyond, as it descends to the valley bottom (bypass any boggy patches to the left). Walk uphill with a hedge on your right, swinging left at the top of the field. Cross a stile on your right and follow the right-hand edge of the field beyond. At the end of the field, cross a further stile on your right and turn left along a farm track. Cross a stile beside a farm gate then follow the track to the right in front of a low sandstone outcrop. Before you reach the wood, and just beyond the rock outcrops, climb up the bank on your left to a stile. Keep along the right-hand edge of the field beyond, to a stile that leads you briefly into woodland and then out to the road.
(2) Turn right and walk along the road to the entrance to Broxton Old Hall, then left into Hall Lane. After half a mile, turn right at a T- junction. Ignore the first turning on the right (Sandy Lane), but take the second (Lower Sandy Lane).
(3) At the end of the lane, go through the gate ahead of you into a paddock. Follow the footpath straight ahead to a stile, some wooden steps and a metal kissing gate. Keep on in the same direction over a further stile to a second kissing gate. A narrow path leads through brackeny woodland beyond; bear right until you reach a crossing path at the foot of a sloping ride. Follow the telegraph poles uphill along the ride, until you reach a National Trust waymark; turn left. This path leads attractively to a minor summit, where you keep left past another NT waymark and head briefly downhill. Go straight over a crossing path and up the hill beyond (signposted Maiden Castle). Towards the top of the slope, stone steps lead up past rocky outcrops.
(4) When you reach the top, turn left along the Sandstone Trail to Maiden Castle. Continue along the escarpment, turning left by an information board headed “Bickerton Hill: Lowland heath” and passing Kitty’s Stone. (To find Mad Allen’s Hole, lookout for a natural sandstone alcove on the right of the Trail shortly after Kitty’s Stone and follow a vague path obliquely left down the slope opposite. Take care: this unofficial path is steep, slippery and overgrown and the cave is quite deep. Return by the same route.)
(5) Beyond Bickerton Hill, the Trail descends to a wooden kissing gate and then alongside open fields, before passing through a second kissing gate to the road. Turn left past Bickerton church, then go straight on at the crossroads beyond. Follow this road for ⅓ mile, passing the end of Clay Lane on your right.
(6) At the main road turn left then immediately right, up a no-through road. This road becomes the farm drive of Chiflik Farm, beyond which pass through a kissing gate onto a footpath. This path eventually returns to the edge of the escarpment and follows it past the sandstone cliffs of Musket Hole to the trig point at Raw Head. 300m beyond the trig, look out for a signposted path on the left, which heads down a few steps then swings right, down through the trees (another cave, the impressive Queen’s Parlour, is visible up through the trees as you approach the road).
(7) Cross the road and follow the footpath down the steps opposite. At a driveway turn right then immediately left, over a stile. Keep to the top of the field then cross a stile into woodland. The path leads to a stile at the top of a field used for mountain biking. Turn left and follow the path down the left-hand side of the field, ignoring a footpath off to the left part way down.
(8) When you reach the road in Harthill, turn right. At the church, turn left and follow a farm track. Follow the path to the end of the belt of woodland, then drop downhill along a fenceline. At the bottom of the hill, cross a succession of stiles and then a footbridge. Beyond the stream follow the field edge to the road. Cross and follow the pavement to the left; take the first right (Smithy Lane).
(9) At the junction with Sherrington Lane, bear right. Turn right into Broomhill Lane. At the end of Broomhill Lane, turn right. After 250m, turn left into Ivy Farm Lane, and at the end of the road turn right. When you reach the main road, cross and turn left along the pavement.
(10) At the next road junction, turn right into Old Coach Road. (If time is desperately short you can follow the main road all the way back to the start, but the route described here diverts onto quieter roads for part of the way, at the expense of extra distance.) After 400m, turn left into Withy Lane and follow it back to the main road. Turn right and walk back along the main road to reach the A41 roundabout and the Egerton Arms.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 177ft - Egerton Arms
1 : mi 0.31 - alt. 243ft - Gate
2 : mi 0.99 - alt. 492ft - Old Coach Road
3 : mi 1.78 - alt. 436ft - End of Lower Sandy Lane
4 : mi 2.2 - alt. 564ft - Sandstone Trail
5 : mi 2.87 - alt. 584ft - Bickerton Hill
6 : mi 3.79 - alt. 489ft - Wrexham Road
7 : mi 5.01 - alt. 600ft - New Lane
8 : mi 5.61 - alt. 449ft - Harthill
9 : mi 6.61 - alt. 348ft - Sherrington Lane
10 : mi 7.35 - alt. 387ft - Old Coach Road
D/A : mi 8.58 - alt. 177ft - Egerton Arms
Several ascents; the Sandstone Trail passes above some steep drops. The last two miles are on tarmac, mostly quiet country lanes but with short stretches along the main road.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The Egerton Arms, blending premium elements of food, wine and beer and with excellent service, offers you a little gem in the heart of the rolling Cheshire countryside. Food ranges from Toad in the Hole or Steak & Kidney Pie to our succulent Lobster Thermidor. All our meals are freshly prepared on site by our brigade of creative chefs. There is something to suit all tastes at The Egerton Arms.
A steady climb through heath and woodland to the Sandstone Trail and Maiden Castle, an Iron Age hillfort.
Fantastic views over the Cheshire Plain and a sneaky peek at a grand Tudor mansion.
Enjoyable farmland and woodland walking with superb views over the Peckforton Hills and the surrounding Cheshire Plain.
A short but satisfying walk featuring good views, quiet lanes and tracks, and sunlight-dappled woodland.
A fine scenic walk with views of two castles, one an authentic medieval fortification, the other a Victorian country house now used for weddings and conferences. Much of the walk is wooded. The walk can be extended to include the climb up to Beeston Castle (English Heritage: admission charge).
Gentle green lanes to an attractive area of lowland heath and woodland designated an SSSI.
Field paths over rolling Cheshire farmland, passing an attractive millpond and historic houses.
Skirt the Shire Horse Centre to pretty Eaton, returning via a sunken quarryman’s way.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.