Cheshire Walk - Woodford to Handforth Dean
PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 March 2018
For this month's walk, we head towards Handforth Dean, a name more synonymous with retail than rambling, writes Howard Bradbury
What proportion of England is built upon? Yes, I know, we’ve concreted over so much of our green and pleasant land that it’s bound to be a sizeable percentage.
Actually, no. If you crowded together every single house, shop, factory and other building in England, they would cover only 2 per cent of the country’s total land area.
I mention this because our walk this month takes us to a place which has already seen substantial development, both housing and retail, and has more to come. And yet even in places which people might imagine have been tainted by urban sprawl, it is possible to find lovely walks, green fields, woodland, river banks, birdlife.
Our walk, suggested by the wilmslowwalks.com website, takes us on a figure of eight route from the Deanwater Hotel at Woodford, through farm land towards Handforth Dean. It takes us into the ‘elbow’ created by the A34 and A555. You’ll glimpse tower blocks and some of the modern retail and leisure development which draws so much traffic on those busy roads. And the future holds more such development. This year will see public consultation on the proposed North Cheshire Garden Village - 1,650 homes, a school and community facilities, to be built between the A555 and A34 east of Handforth.
It’s almost inevitable that in coming years the landscape you see on this walk will change, but, remembering that 2 per cent statistic, there’s still a lot of green and pleasant England to go at.
1. We start from the Deanwater Hotel, postcode SK7 1RJ, where you will find limited parking on a lane running in front of the hotel. Start walking west up the main Wilmslow Road (with your back to the hotel, strike out to your left). After passing several large houses, turn left into a narrow fenced path at the entrance to which stands a sign commemorating Stockport’s triple Wimbledon winner Fred Perry.
Crossing a stile, head over an open field towards houses where you will find another stile and a path taking you to Church Lane. Bear left up this lane, and, at a sharp right hand bend, take the footpath on your left, which has a small stream running to the right of it.
2. Over another stile, you will be on a path with a hedge to the right and a fenced field to the left. Cross a stile and go across a little stream then take the left hand edge of the next field. Another stile brings you to Blossoms Lane where you bear left, away from the entrance to Blossoms Farm. You pass Blossom Turkey Farm and soon after, just before the lane bears left, take the first of two footpaths on the right (you will be returning later via the second). Crossing a large field, you will find a stile just to the left of the big house. Head towards the top left corner of the next field and onto a lane, where you bear left.
3. At a big tree on the left, just before you reach a group of disused farm buildings, turn left along a footpath. As you cross fields, tower blocks become visible to the right and other signs of civilisation. Keep ahead following the footpath sign and resisting the temptation of several paths branching off. Eventually you come close to the A34 (you’ll see a footbridge ahead). At a three-way junction of paths, bear left and follow this path all the way back to Blossoms Lane. Go right down the lane and when the tarmac peters out, continue ahead on the path, along the right hand edge of a field and then down into woodland. Head downhill when you see the river, crossing over at a bridge.
4. Head uphill away from the river and cross a large field, keeping to the left of a big holllow, to stile. Several more stiles in quick succession bring you to Handforth Road. Bear left here, following the pavement round to the left when you reach the roundabout and continuing on Dean Row Road until you reach Bowden House Lane on the left. Go to the bottom of this lane and, just before a field gate, bear right on a footpath. Take the right hand field edge, ignoring the first stile on the right, and look for a little bridge over the stream further along the field on the right. Cross here and head left across the next field, following the path through a couple more stiles to bring you to a small lane where, bearing left, you soon arrive back at the Deanwater Hotel.
Area of Walk: Woodford to Handforth Dean.
Distance: 4 miles
Time to allow: 2½ hours
Map: OS Explorer 268
Refreshments: The Deanwater Hotel, Wilmslow Road, Woodford SK7 1RJ; The Davenport Arms (known locally as The Thief’s Neck), Chester Road, Woodford SK7 1PS.