6 great pub walks in Cheshire
PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 August 2015 | UPDATED: 17:08 08 June 2020
The best walk, surely, is one which takes you to a lovely pub or restaurant. Howard Bradbury suggests several strolls which can be combined with a pleasant drink or a meal
Leather's Smithy, Macclesfield
With all the conifers and expanses of water around the Macclesfield Forest, you could easily believe you were in Switzerland or Austria. The nearby peak at Shutlingsloe is even dubbed the 'Cheshire Matterhorn'.
It's hardly surprising that this 'alpine' landscape is popular with walkers. The natural attractions are complemented by a splendid pub, the Leather's Smithy, which, as the name suggests, is a former smithy first licensed to sell ale in 1812, when mine host was William Leather.
Before tucking in to 'foresty' fare like wild boar or rabbit pie, take a walk from the pub through the forest to Tegg's Nose, a country park which enjoys views across the Cheshire plain and, on good days, as far as the Welsh hills.
For full directions, go to www.macclesfield-outdoors.co.uk and search for 'Leather's Smithy'.
Distance: 4 miles Map: OS Explorer 268
Leather's Smithy, Clarke Lane, Langley, Macclesfield SK11 0NE, 01260 252313, www.leatherssmithy.com
Egerton Arms, Astbury
Chancing upon a sight as beautiful as Little Moreton Hall in the middle of a walk is a real treat. Begin that walk in Astbury village, near Congleton, where you will find another architectural marvel, St Mary's Church - a grade 1 listed building which Pevsner's Buildings of England describes as 'one of the most exciting Cheshire churches', with origins in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Right opposite the church is our journey's end: the 16th century Egerton Arms. Ah, but first you must earn that refreshment. A circular walk takes you up Peel Lane, into Dodds Lane, along the canal towpath until bridge 85, down New Road and then across three fields to reach Little Moreton Hall in all its higgledy-piggledy glory.
You could simply walk back to Astbury along the A34, but we prefer a scenic route across fields.
For full directions, refer to our Astbury, Macclesfield Canal and Little Moreton Hall walk
Distance: 6 miles Map: OS Explorer 268
The Egerton Arms, Astbury Village, Congleton CW12 4RQ, 01260 273946, www.egertonarms.co.uk
Swan With Two Nicks, Little Bollington
Dunham Massey, with its grade I listed hall, its deer herd and its extensive park, is always worth a visit. This is where our walk begins, setting off through Dunham Town (a real misnomer..it's definitely a village) and taking a picturesque path along the canal, over the River Bollin and down into the village of Little Bollington.
It's here, near a footbridge over the Bollin, that you will find The Swan With Two Nicks, an avowedly dog-friendly pub serving food and real ales. I know what you're thinking....what on earth does that name mean? It is a reference to the days when the Vintners' Company would take part in swan-upping - a head count of swans which were the property of the monarch. The birds caught and marked by the vintners' were so designated by two nicks on the beak.
At the Swan, you will generally find a selection of ales from the Dunham Massey Brewing Company, which you will have passed earlier on in the walk.
For full directions, refer to the Dunham Massey, Bridgewater Canal and Little Bollington walk, published in January 2014.
Distance: 4 miles
Map: OS Explorer 276
The Swan With Two Nicks, Park Lane, Little Bollington, Altrincham WA14 4TJ, 0161 928 2914, www.swanwithtwonicks.co.uk
The Railway, Marple
The Railway pub is just a few yards away from Rose Hill rail station in Marple. It is also very close to the start of the Middlewood Way, a ten-mile walking and cycling path which goes all the way to Macclesfield. That's hardly a coincidence, for the Middlewood Way is built upon what was once the rail line from Marple to Macclesfield - opened in 1869 to facilitate industry such as the cotton mills of Bollington, but closed in 1970, a victim of the Beeching cuts.
Since 1985, this stretch of former railway has been a path for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders to enjoy some picturesque countryside, close to the Macclesfield Canal, with some worthwhile stop-offs including the Nelson Pit Visitor Centre, which has displays about the history of the area and the canal network. Because the path is level, it is also wheelchair-accessible.
There is an excellent leaflet with map available to download from Cheshire East Council's website. Just google 'Middlewood Way'.
Distance: As long as you like, on foot or on bike, up to 20miles.
Map: OS Explorer 268.
The Railway, 223 Stockport Road, Rose Hill, Marple, Stockport, SK6 6EN, 0161 427 2146, www.railwayrosehill.robinsonsbrewery.com
Ye Olde Admiral Rodney, Prestbury
A fascinating book about the Bollin Valley by Timperley-based author Keith Warrender suggests that the Bollin may take its name from the old English for 'torrent of eels'. Sounds a bit biblical.
We can guarantee nothing quite so dramatic as a torrent of eels on this peaceful stroll from Prestbury, along the Bollin. It is a walk by Keith Carter which we published in August 2013
This stroll will give you an appreciation of the countryside close to a village which Pevsner's Buildings of England rather sniffily describes as 'a by-word for new money'.
In truth, Prestbury has more significant historic buildings per acre than many places in Britain: the grade I listed St Peter's Church, dating back to the 13th century, the black-and-white 16th century Priest's House, which became a NatWest bank, and many more. Prestbury has a generous portion of historic pubs and restaurants too, not least the Legh Arms Hotel, dating back to the late 16th century, and Ye Olde Admiral Rodney, an 18th century inn named in honour of the heroic naval officer Georges Brydges Rodney.
Distance: 5 miles
Map: OS Explorer 268.
Ye Olde Admiral Rodney, New Road, Prestbury SK10 4HP, 01625 829484, www.yeoldeadmiralrodney.co.uk
The Pied Bull, Chester
On a visit to Chester, you could wander aimlessly and still find a fascinating slice of history at every turn. But if you want to get organised, an obvious walking route is to circle the city along the walls.
Despite having their origins in Roman Britain, these are the most complete city walls in Britain. As you walk their two-mile circuit, they offer a vantage point from which to see the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, the tower from which Charles I watched the battle of Rowton Moor and the Eastgate Clock.
There is useful map of the walls which can be downloaded from the website www.walkinginengland.co.uk/cheshire Or you could join a guided tour of the walls, lasting 90 minutes, starting from the Town Hall Visitor Information Centre, details at www.visitchester.com or by calling 0845 647 7868
Staying historical, you could slake your thirst at The Pied Bull, an oak-beamed pub which is Chester's oldest continuously-licensed premises and whose origins can be traced back to the 11th century.
The Pied Bull, 57 Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HQ, 01244 325829, www.piedbull.co.uk