Cheshire walk - Little Budworth circular
PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 April 2019
To Little Budworth, for a circular ramble through farmland and forest, with the odd glimpse of Oulton Park thrown in.
You can’t ask much more of a good English village than a fine church, an historic pub and a village green. Little Budworth ticks all three boxes and throws in a race track for good measure. Yes, we will be skirting the Oulton Park circuit on this walk. Not that you will get to see very much over the walls around the estate.
Little Budworth’s church is St Peter’s, a grade II* listed building with a tower dating back to the late 15th century. Most of the church was rebuilt in 1800 at the expense of Ralph Kirkham, a wealthy merchant who was the son of a local family and had attended Lady Egerton’s school at Oulton Park. And very fine it looks too.
The pub is the Red Lion, an inn for over 200 years. Local historian Tony Bostock compiled an exhaustive history of the Red Lion (you can find it online) and the most intriguing paragraph is the last: Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, once stayed there. Ellis’s lover David Blakely, of whose murder she was convicted, was a racing driver who visited Oulton Park on April 2 1955. Eight days later, Ellis shot Blakely in Hampstead. She was executed for this crime on July 13 1955.
1. It is possible to park near the church and pub on the street in Little Budworth village centre. Head for Vicarage Lane, postcode CW6 9BY. Failing that, there is a car park on Coach Road, not far from its junction with Park Road. It’s a short stroll back into the village. Our start point is St Peter’s Church, an unmissable landmark. Head up Vicarage Lane with the church on your left and bear left into Mill Lane. After a short while you will pass Budworth Pool on your left. Just beyond it, bear left into a path beside the pool. When you reach a sign saying ‘Oulton Park Estate. Private’, go right over a stile and cross two fields, reaching a big tree on a grassy track. Go left and follow this track to Park Road.
2. I had intended to turn left down Park Road and take a footpath just a few yards later on the right, crossing fields via White Hall to Beech Road. A large and unshiftable bull just the other side of the stile changed my mind for me. So if you wish to follow in my cowardly footsteps, instead turn right up Park Road and then a few yards later left into a wide track. After a few minutes, bear left, following the hedge line, and when you reach a narrow lane, go right. At the next T junction go right along White Hall Lane and after a short while, left into Beech Road. Continue on this road for some time, and when you reach Coach Road (just after passing a very large house called Hawkswood) cross over and continue ahead along the restricted byway. Soon after, bear left on a path marked Smithy Lane, and while the paths here are indistinct, keep over to the right on the edge of the wood until you see a wooden fence running alongside. When you reach an electricity substation, bear right and find an opening in the fence, going left down the unmade lane.
3. When the lane brings you to Park Road, with Rushton Lane opposite, go right, passing the mill pond and continuing uphill to a cross roads. Bear left here into Brownhills Road, and after passing Brownhill Cottage, go right over a stile. Head diagonally across the field to a another stile, and in the next field, head for a gap in the hedge. In the next large field, head up to the left of the big buildings and find an opening on the right which takes you through the yard of Cheshire Oak Frame Ltd, then turn left in front of Moss Hall Farm. Follow this lane down to Dogmore Lane.
4. At Dogmore Lane (note the Victorian post box in the wall) go right, then left over a stile. Crossing the field, you emerge on Kings Lane. Go right, and after passing Parkside Cottage, go through a gate on the left, through another gate and ahead towards an old semi-ruined wall. At the wall, head right and follow this path, alongside the wall, through several stiles. Ignore a path going off to the right across a large field and, at this point, keep ahead, with a hedge on your right, aiming to the right of the houses ahead.
5. Reaching a lane, go left. A stream soon appears by the roadside. You pass a low farm building on the right with a large courtyard. Soon after, go over a stile on the right, following the path across fields as the church tower comes into view. After another couple of stiles you reach a stile beside a metal field gate. Keep ahead and you soon reach Vicarage Lane, with the church on your right.
Area of Walk: Little Budworth
Distance: 6 ½ miles
Time to allow: 2½ hours
Map: OS Explorer 267
Refreshments: Red Lion Inn, Vicarage Lane, Little Budworth CW6 9BY
Paul will be back next month with a walk around the Macclesfield Forest but if you can’t wait that long log onto cheshirelife.co.uk where you’ll find more walks to enjoy around the county. And don’t forget your camera - your pictures could win you prizes. See online for full details of our readers’ photos competition and to see the entries we’ve already received.