Cheshire walk - Bostock Green and the River Weaver
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 October 2017
This month's uplifting walk takes us to what was once the centre of Cheshire - Bostock Green - between Northwich and Middlewich, writes Howard Bradbury
In Bostock, conveniently close to a pleasant village green and a very nice pub, stands a special tree.
The inscription on one of the two plaques installed in 1887 beneath the oak tree boasts that ‘this tree stands in the centre of the county of Cheshire’. A previous tree with the same claim to fame had stood on this spot as far back as the 18th century before being felled as a hazard to traffic.
Being slap bang in the middle of the traditional county of Cheshire (and I wonder which 18th century worthy had sufficient time on his hands to figure that one out) may have led the people living near Bostock Green to feel that their little corner of the world somehow typified the county.
They wouldn’t be too far wrong there, what with rolling farm acres, pockets of mature woodland, a rather lovely village green, cosy cottages and a grand turreted, black and white bowls pavilion donated by a beneficent lord of the manor (one Col France Hayhurst, hence the pub’s name).
We leave this little idyll to find the River Weaver, enjoying a lovely stretch of that waterway before striking for home via a bridleway through farmland.
It’s a very easy walk with few gradients, no cattle fields to cross and such reliable surfaces, in the main, that you could probably even do this circuit on a bike.
1. The walk starts and finishes at the Hayhurst Arms, Bostock Green CW10 9JP. Head north along the road on which the pub stands (that is, walking up the road with the village green on your left) and you will see the famous tree just across the road behind a little fence. Returning to the same side of the road as the pub, go left into Brick Kiln Lane. At Brook House Farm, continue straight on through a wooden gate and onto a bridleway. After a few minutes, pass through another gate and cross the A533 road to the path opposite, turn immediately left down a little slope and then right, along the pavement of Jack Lane into Moulton.
2. Soon after the pavement on the right side of the road peters out and you are forced to cross to the left side of the road, turn left into Niddries Lane. When you come to the sign for Lakeside View, bear right following the sign for the caravan park and Bank Farm, passing Niddries Court - a former mill converted into cottages. When you come to a junction of paths at the last house on the left, bear left, following the sign for Vale Royal River Park. After a while, the path passes through a tunnel beneath the railway. Keep straight ahead here, beneath another tunnel until you come to a car park on the left with a footbridge over the River Weaver.
3. Don’t cross the bridge. Instead, bear right on the path along the river bank. You will go through one kissing gate and after a few minutes, you will see a lake to the right with lots of bird life. After the lake, you will see that the river widens and divides. Over to the left is the original river, but the stretch on which you will continue to walk is part of the man-made channel by which the river was made navigable in the 18th century to ease salt exportation. Keep going on this path for some time, through a metal kissing gate and then, about 70m later - just before you get to Vale Royal Locks - look for another metal kissing gate off to the right, leading to a path going uphill through fields.
4. Follow this path, crossing over the railway via a footbridge. At the next wide junction of paths, go right, following the sign for a restricted byway. The tracks narrows down, with fields either side. At a metal gate beside a row of houses, go straight ahead continuing on the byway. Eventually, the path widens with houses to the left and you find yourself at the same junction of paths where you earlier turned left for Vale Royal River Park. Keep going ahead and retrace your steps down Niddries Lane, right along Jack Lane, across the A533 and along Brick Kiln Lane back to Bostock Green.
Area of Walk: Bostock Green, River Weaver.
Distance: 5 miles
Time to allow: 2½ hours
Map: OS Explorer 267
Refreshments: The Hayhurst Arms, Bostock Green, near Northwich CW10 9JP