- Start: Tarporley
- End: Tarporley
- Country: England
- County: Cheshire
- Type: Country
- Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 267 Northwich and Delamere Forest.
- Difficulty: Medium
Keith Carter leads a walk through the countryside which surrounds Tarporley
Tarporley prides itself in being a village not a town although as villages go it’s on the large side. The main street is lined with shops selling tastefully designed products and if hanging baskets are your thing you need look no further. I like the place. It has a sense of style and an orderliness about it that does credit to its inhabitants who go about their business as if they are sure of their place in the world. Admittedly the on-street parking is a bit of a problem and I would not like to have to drive a bus through this village.
The last time I was here was when I was walking the Sandstone Trail, one of the best of the shorter long-distance trails in the north of England. Tarporley is at about the half-way point between Frodsham where it starts and Whitchurch where it ends and it made a welcome stop for me and my companions coming down off the trail. I recall sampling Welsh whisky which at first sniff smelled of leeks!
There are a number of public car parks just off the main street and the one I chose was just behind the community centre where you are likely to find spaces and not get charged for the privilege. Turn right along the main street as far as the post office, passing the imposing Swan Hotel, a pub that once served as a stagecoach inn for the London to Chester stage.
Take the road opposite the post office, Park Road, and walk to the end until at a sharp right bend you keep ahead through an opening in the trees to where a kissing gate admits to a large cultivated field. Keep forward along a post and rail fence with the crops on your right and the path will lead to a lane at Cobblers Cross next to a cottage with the familiar Cheshire half timbered construction.
Turn left and look for a footpath sign pointing right. Follow the track and just before it ends at the gate of a private house take the opening on the right to enter the grounds of one of the county’s most prestigious golf clubs, The Portal. With my handicap they would never let me near the greens here but in walking boots, rucksack and baggy shorts nobody would ever mistake me for a golfer. In any case, why spoil a good walk?
Follow the path round to the left and we pass the club house and the front of the hotel complex to reach a crossroads with a finger-post offering various options. We are on the edge of the fairway, a beautifully kept sward which reminded me my lawn needed a good dose of weed and feed. Take the right hand pathway signposted Royal Lane and walk down through the golf course to a five-barred gate which we go through onto the road. Turn right and when safe cross the road to where a stile gives access to a field.
Follow the field edge with the boundary on the left and cross a second stile to enter a huge field for dairy cattle grazing. Looking ahead we can see a tree-lined pond so keep this to your right to cross through this field diagonally, heading for the buildings of Winterfold Farm where we join a lane. Turn right and stay on the lane until it crosses a brook. Here we look for a footpath sign and stile in the right hand hedge which is the one we need.
Our route passes through four fields all in use for growing crops but permitting walkers to follow the right of way through them. In the fourth field we rise to a wood on the skyline and on reaching it keep right along the field edge. We reach a quiet lane with some hidden cottages and turn right here for our return to Tarporley.
This lane is a reminder of how the countryside used to be before everyone had two cars and ruined everything by driving at speed and causing innocent walkers to cling to the hedgerows in terror.
Our way forward leads us to a crossroads where the iron railings have recently been painted I’m delighted to say. In recent years councils seem to have banned the painting of railings at road junctions, which is a pity. Bring back the white paint, say I!
Cross directly over at the junction and continue until we meet Brook Road and the built-up area of Rhuddall Heath. Turn right then next left and soon we come to the main road into Tarporley.
Just across from this intersection on the right-hand side an opening leads into a playing field and by keeping round the edge of it we come to a children’s play area and the parking behind the community centre. Tarporley offers plenty of scope if you need refreshments and is well worth a look if you haven’t been here before.
Area of walk: Agricultural land to the east of Tarporley
Distance: 5 miles
Time to allow: 3 hours
Map: OS Explorer 267 Northwich and Delamere Forest.