Today’s Delamere Forest walk was another terrific way of getting our usual enjoyment of being outdoors, but it also gave us a much needed distraction from the temptation of watching the news and the mood-blackening that inevitably follows from hearing about the very peculiar times we are in right now.
We set off from home, because we are fortunate enough to live on the edge of the beautiful and expansive Delamere Forest. I’d recommend that, if you are travelling here by car, you begin your walk at Barnsbridge Gates Car Park, which is on Ashton Road, Delamere Forest, Northwich, WA6 6PA.
Cross the road from the car park and take the clearly marked Sandstone Trail. It’s a newly laid path that’s nice and wide. Stick with the path as it bears to the right and follow it as it runs parallel with the road for contractor’s vehicles (The Delamere Forest Parks holiday resort is currently under construction).
This path then winds very gently upwards on the new path with two hairpin bends, which then meets up with what we call ‘Telegraph Road’ (a little nod to Dire Straits) near to Kingswood Cottage. It’s like all these lovely paths are just sewn through the forest in lovely, wiggly thread lines.
If you follow our map, you will see that the path then runs alongside open agricultural land on the edge of the forest, and it then reaches a signpost for Eddisbury Way (see photograph). The Eddisbury Way is a total length of 16.5 miles, which runs all the way from Frodsham to Higher Burwardsley. From here, cross the large field, following the obvious path. Cross the stile into the adjacent field and again follow the obvious path straight ahead.
On reaching New Pale Road at the end of the field, head left towards the lovely little hamlet of Manley Common. You will soon see two waymarked paths to your left – make sure you cross the stile and follow the track around the edge of the field. Ignore the path to the left.
The trail then eventually takes a right turn and downhill in the next field. This takes you to an ever so slightly overgrown path that runs above and alongside a small stream that runs through Ark Wood. We stood and listened to the stream here because I felt that it sounded happy. It must be cabin fever getting to me!
After a short distance following the happy stream, we entered a freshly ploughed field, which, on the day we were walking, was like walking across a lava field – so lumpy and bumpy.
Here, follow the edge of the field with the stream still to your right, and then carry on to where it drops down towards a small wooden footbridge. Cross the footbridge and straight across the field ahead, which eventually reaches a three-arched railway bridge. When we were here the field was full of the remnants of corn. I think there had been a lot of happy field mice here, but that could have just been my imagination being fuelled by my love of Beatrix Potter!
Pass under the bridge, and on reaching the road, bear left. After a short distance, turn left at Delamere Lane, near to the picnic and parking area for Brine’s Brow. This was all gated off today, due to the present Coronavirus situation. We were pleased to see that there was nobody around, flouting the rules regarding not travelling to walk.
Carry on walking along this road until you reach the entrance back into Delamere Forest at Fox Howl (this is opposite the Delamere Forest Outdoor Education Centre). From here, we followed the path that runs near to the Manley Hill Bike Skills area, which winds through the impressive tall trees of the forest. It meets up with the Delamere Way, and then steers you back to the starting point at Barnsbridge Gate car park.