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Cheshire walk - Burwardsley

PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:07 17 February 2018

En route to Raw Head Hill near Burwardsley,

En route to Raw Head Hill near Burwardsley,

Archant

As well as castles, look out for rustlings in the undergrowth as you enjoy this walk through Burwardsley, writes Howard Bradbury

Toadstools thriving in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Burwardsley, Photo by Paul TaylorToadstools thriving in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Burwardsley, Photo by Paul Taylor

Pub names usually have so little meaning in real life. When did you last see a red lion lurking in or around a hostelry of that name? Or a white hart? Turk’s head, anyone? And you’d surely be complaining if you found a slug and lettuce in close proximity.

But then there’s The Pheasant Inn at Higher Burwardsley, one possible pitstop on this month’s walk. How apt a name, because frequently on the way to the Pheasant, there was a commotion in the shrubbery, followed by a startled squawk as yet another pheasant flapped out of my way. I have never encountered so many of these noisy critters in one place.

You’ll earn your refreshment on this walk, because it’s a bit of an up and down affair, but the compensation is in some wonderful views from vantage points at Raw Head and Bulkeley Hill.

For much of this walk, we will be following the Sandstone Trail - a 34-mile trail from Frodsham to Whitchurch which follows the ridge of sandstone poking up from the Cheshire Plain.

The view from Bulkeley Hill WoodThe view from Bulkeley Hill Wood

What this part of the trail has in abundance, apart from pheasants, are castles. Close by, you will find the ruins of Beeston Castle on a rocky crag, the early 19th-century gothic villa Cholmondeley Castle - which stands where the family of the same name have made a home since 1200 - and Peckforton Castle, a 19th century home built in the style of a medieval castle, and now a hotel, restaurant and popular wedding venue.

 

l. You will find parking at various points on Coppermine Lane (if you are heading west on the A534, Coppermine Lane is a right turn just after the Bickerton Poacher). If you are setting sat nav, the postcode is SY14 8BY. Park up and walk down Coppermine Lane. At a sharp left turn just before its junction with the A534, you see a sandstone outcrop on the right. Take the well-signed public footpath into woodland. It is a wildlife conservation area, so dogs must be on leads. Take the overgrown path down the right hand side of the field, then go up a steepish hill in the woods, clambering over tree roots. Bear right at the sign indicating that you are on the Sandstone Trail, then go straight up a track, following a sign for Raw Head and Burwardsley, passing Chiflik Farm.

 

Refreshment stop: The Bickerton PoacherRefreshment stop: The Bickerton Poacher

2. Carry straight on through a metal kissing gate onto a path beside a field, with expansive views opening up to the right. The path goes into woods with a slope to your left. Keep on this path, climbing to the trig point at Raw Head Hill. The path heads right and downhill. Bear left down steps and then right, through a steep plantation. Bear left down a lane for 300 yards then, reaching a footpath sign, go downhill beneath trees. At the bottom head up towards Bodnook Cottage. Just before you get to the cottage, bear left onto a footpath over a field and into woods.

 

3. At the edge of the woods, go through a wooden gate and turn immediately right through another gate, heading across an open field to a gate under a tree. You cross another field and then reach a lane. Carry on in the same direction along the lane enjoying some panoramic views to the left. As you get to the village of Burwardsley, bear right up Church Road, then right into Sarra Lane, taking the left fork soon after (it’s marked as unsuitable for motor vehicles). This is Barracks Lane. Stay on it, passing some characterful gnarled trees clinging to the sandstone, on past Cheshire Workshops. Soon after, go right into a narrow lane then cross straight over to Rock Lane, heading uphill. It’s marked as the Sandstone Trail. (If you fancy breaking the walk at The Pheasant Inn, don’t turn right into that narrow lane, but carry on down Barracks Lane for a few more yards and you will see the pub.)

 

4. At a fork in Rock Lane, bear right, then go straight on following a sign for Bulkeley Hill. Soon after, go right through a kissing gate onto a path signposted for Bulkeley Hill and Raw Head. Keep on this path until you reach a lane. Go left uphill and take the steps ahead into Bulkeley Hill Wood. The paths are indistinct here, so keep to the left, skirting the top of the steep slope, enjoying the views of the plain. Eventually the path becomes better defined and you reach a gap in a fence marked as the Sandstone Trail. Go downhill and at the bottom go through a kissing gate and straight on along a path signposted Coppermine Lane. Reaching the lane, turn left to find your car.

 

Area of Walk: Burwardsley

Distance: 5½ miles

Time to allow: 2½ hours

Map: OS Explorer 257.

Refreshments: The Pheasant Inn, Higher Burwardsley CH3 9PF (But be wary of trying to find this pub using sat nav alone); The Bickerton Poacher, Wrexham Road, Bulkeley SY14 8BE; Cheshire Workshops, Barracks Lane, Higher Burwardsley CH3 9PF.

 

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