Cheshire walk - Lindow Common and Rossmere
PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 December 2017
This month’s walk takes us to Wilmslow, to explore an area of natural beauty, but with a name known for macabre reasons. Words and photography by Howard Bradbury
Mention Lindow Common and many of us will conjure visions of the bog body found by peat-cutters at nearby Lindow Moss in 1984.
The victim of murder most foul, perhaps even a ritual killing, Lindow Man - Pete Marsh as some flippantly dubbed him - had lain undiscovered for around 2,000 years, the acid mush of the peat tanning his body like leather. The body remains in the collection of the British Museum.
But there’s more to the history of Lindow than this ancient unsolved crime. Lindow Common was a place for the grazing of cattle, its name derived from llyn ddu, Welsh for Black Lake, the blackness being the result of peat. As you will see on this walk, Black Lake is teeming with birdlife and also a place where you may spot toads and the increasingly rare water vole.
Lindow Common has, since the turn of the last century, been a place of recreation for the people of Wilmslow, and Black Lake was once used for boating, fishing and ice skating. Before being restored in the 1980s and lined with waterproof clay, the lake often dried up, becoming a swamp.
Our walk finishes at Black Lake, but first we head out in a loop which takes us towards Morley Green, back through Newgate Nature Reserve - returned to nature having been a landfill site until 2000 - and around Rossmere, a popular spot with anglers.
This is a relatively flat walk but there are some potentially very muddy stretches, so it may be best to reserve this one for a frosty day when the going is a bit firmer.
1. The walk begins from the Lindow Common car park on Racecourse Road SK9 5LW, just opposite the entrance to the Boddington Arms. Walk back out of the car park towards the Boddington Arms and turn left along Racecourse Road, then, a few yards later, sharp right onto an unmade road at the head of which is a sign for Racecourse Road 101-107. When you reach the main road, bear left and then almost immediately slightly left again (not hard left into Greaves Road) onto the unmade Sandy Lane.
2. This wide track presently joins Mobberley Road. Keep left along this road for a few moments, passing a group of houses, at the end of which, go left along a grassy and quite probably muddy footpath with fields to either side. Ignore a path off to the left after a short time and keep to this path until it emerges at a house called Sunnyside. Bear left here, slightly downhill, going through a wooden gate and into an area of woodland. The gravelly path then heads uphill for a while. At a junction of paths keep ahead and at the next fork in the path bear right downhill and then right along a gravelled path, passing a sign telling you that you are in Newgate Nature Reserve.
3. After passing a farm, you reach a large concrete block in the path. Bear right here on an unmade track with overhanging trees. This is Eccups Lane. You pass the Flannigan Estates residential park on your left. When the path emerges onto a road, go ahead for a few yards and then left over a stile into a field, taking the footpath which goes straight ahead, crossing a large open field. After a few minutes, you will see Rossmere ahead. Look for a stile in the field to the right of the water and follow a path - well delineated by white tape on my visit - up a slight hill and left around the field, affording views over the water.
4. Crossing a stile, go left up the track, enjoying more views of the mere to the left, and keep on this track until you come to a crossroads where one of the options is ‘Laureen’s Ride’. Head straight on here onto Newgate, passing the kennels and cattery. When you reach Racecourse Road, cross over and go straight along a path which will bring you to Black Lake. Take the path around the lake and when you return to the north side of it, take one of the many paths which head back to the car park on Racecourse Road.
Area of Walk: Lindow Common to Rossmere
Distance: 4 miles
Time to allow: 2 hours
Map: OS Explorer 268
Refreshments: Boddington Arms, Racecourse Road, Wilmslow SK9 5LR; Cheshire Smokehouse, Vost Farm, Morley Green, Wilmslow SK9 5NU.