Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock Distance: 16 km – approx 10 miles
We head out north along the Sandstone Trail towards Beeston, passing between Beeston and Peckforton castles. Trending round to the south we then head to the Peckforton Hills via Willis’s Wood. From here we are back on the Sandstone Trail heading up through the ancient sweet chestnut forest to Bulkeley Hill. Staying on the Sandstone Trail we reach Raw Head, the highest point on the trail giving superb views of the Cheshire plain.
Just on from Raw Head, we start heading back home via Bodnook Wood. Hopefully, there will be enough time to reflect on the day with a well earned T & T or foaming pint.
Moderate Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan Distance: 8 miles
The walk today takes us from the Cheshire Workshops along the Sandstone Trail to Beeston Castle. From here we skirt around Beeston to arrive at Peckforton Gatehouse, then along the road a short distance before going over Waste Hill, Peckforton Hills and up to the view point on Bulkeley Hill. We ten drop down and back to the Cheshire Workshops for your Christmas shopping and nice hot drink and mince pie.
Leisurely Leader: Norma Carmichael Distance: about 7 miles
We leave the craft centre and walk down the lane, through the fields, towards Bulkeley Hill Farm. We walk towards Peckforton Hills where there is a slight climb uphill through the woods. We also touch the edge of Pennsylvania Woods.
This is a fairly leisurely walk, some paths may be muddy, and there are quite a few gates and stiles to go through, but they are well spaced. Altogether a reasonable walk.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee Distance: 5 miles
After a short climb, we drop steadily on footpaths, admiring the view as we go, to the foot of the Peckforton Hills and then take field paths (or a minor road if it is very wet) to Beeston village and a minor road to Beeston Castle for lunch at the picnic site. Then a short stretch of field path to cross the valley before the last two miles of steady ascent (250 ft) on a firm bridleway, mostly through woods, back to the craft centre.
Notes On The Area
The Cheshire Workshops (candle factory) is situated at Burwardsley. The complex has a cafe, candle making workshop, gift shops and ample parking, and is well worth a visit at any time of the year.
Beeston Castle stands on the top of an extremely steep, solitary sandstone knoll, a rocky wooded mound ringed by ramparts. As this area is predominantly flat, Beeston Castle and the towers of Peckforton Castle on the wooded slopes of the Peckforton Hills are dramatically visible. Not surprisingly, the views from the top are magnificent, encompassing in a broad sweep, the Welsh Mountains, Shropshire Hills, Peak District and the Pennines.
The Sandstone Trail was created by Cheshire County Council and follows the sandstone escarpment in Cheshire for 32 miles (51 km), from Beacon Hill near Frodsham in the north, to Grindley Brook near Whitchurch in the south. The path is signed by a distinctive yellow circle, with a black boot imprint with the letter ‘S’ in the middle. Raw Head is the highest point of the Sandstone Trail at 746 ft above sea level with outstanding views over the Cheshire Plain as far as the Welsh hills. The tall chimney at Gallantry Bank belonged to the pumping house of a copper mine that operated here in the 18th century.
In 1845 several canals that had been built between 1772-1826 were linked together to form the Shropshire Union Canal – 158 miles of canal, including side branches, running from Ellesmere Port near Chester to Authersley Junction near Wolverhampton. Despite competition from the railways, the canal prospered and in 1870 the canal company had 213 narrowboats. By 1902 this had more than doubled to 450. After World War 1, the canal business declined and by 1944 it was officially abandoned. Much of the canal has been restored and is now a major part of the inland waterways network.