Strenuous Leader: Paul Hogan Distance: 9.00 miles
From Beeston Castle this walk follows the Sandstone Trail around another even older castle, Peckforton, and on to the summit of Bulkeley Hill offering great views as far as Shropshire and the Staffordshire Hills. Then scenic lanes and field paths lead us back to Beeston.
Leisurely Leader: Dave Hatchard Distance: 6.00 miles
From the craft centre we 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, it will probably be muddy, and there are quite a few gates and stiles to go through, but they are well spaced.
Easy Leader: no one at present Distance : 5.00 miles
Notes on the area
We park today at The Cheshire Workshops, the candle factory, which is situated at Burwardsley. The complex has a café, candle making workshops for all ages, gift shops and ample parking, and is well worth a visit at any time of the year.
Beeston itself is 6 miles SE of Chester and 2 miles SW of Tarporley close to the Shropshire Union Canal. Beeston Castle stands on the top of an extremely steep, solitary sandstone knoll, a rocky wooded mound ringed by ramparts and it is one of the most dramatically sited medieval castles in England. 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 on a clear day, 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, from Beacon Hill near Frodsham in the north and to Grindley Brook near Whitchurch in the south. 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 and 1826 were linked together to form The Shropshire Union Canal which is a total of 158 miles of canal, including side branches, running from Ellesmere to near Wolverhampton. Despite competition from the railways, the canal prospered. But after World War 1, the canal business declined and by 1944 it was officially abandoned. Much of the canal has now been restored and is a major part of the inland waterways network.