I am walking my Roundabout 6km with Bahman in North Cheshire….

I am walking my Roundabout 6km with Bahman today on 27th March 2021

We are walking (while Bahman is cycling ahead) along the cycle routes of North Cheshire.  The round trip we have planned for us is about 7 miles. Most of the route is fairly quiet and very popular with cyclist, especially during weekends.  

We start the walk from the site of John Wesley memorial plaque on Reddy Lane, underneath a bridge. From 1747 John Wesley visited this part of northwest England, staying locally and preaching. Above us is the M56 motorway but the Reddy Lane itself is a pretty road.  From here eastward it follows the Agden Brook. This time of the year the daffodils are out, and birds are very busy. A number of cyclist cycle pass us while we pause to read the plaque.

We walk on the road and pass Booth Bank Farm on our left. This is a 17-century farmhouse which is now used by the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, a Cheshire charity. We arrive at an island where the road forks. We turn left onto the Millington Lane.

The road here is narrower and single track.  It rises steeply if you are older but less steeply if you are younger! Cyclists coming down towards us are speeding past while those going uphill travel much slower.  We prefer those going uphill as we can hear their heavy breathing and know when to move out of their way up onto the very narrow verge! Very few of these fast/light bicycles, probably worth thousands of pounds each, have a simple cheap bell to warn the pedestrians.  Up the hill, Millington Lane flattens and for a few hundred yards it is a very easy and pleasant walk, especially as the noise of the M56 subsides the further we get from it and we can now enjoy the views.

On our left over the hedges and beyond the fields, over the hill where town of Altrincham was built, the tower of the parish church is visible.  In the distance one has the panoramic view of the Manchester City centre and its suburbs.  The Manchester airport control tower is to the right and even further beyond that, the beautiful hills of the Pennines are clearly visible.  We spot a plane taking off.  These days it is a rare sight.  We carry on walking a few hundred yards and soon cross over the new (or perhaps now not so new!) A556 bypass road. We reach a crossroad and turn right onto Chester Road going towards Bucklow Hill.  This road used to be the old A556.  Since the new A556  opened a few years ago, this formerly busy road was converted to a narrower road with a good cycle path to one side.  We walk along Chester Road (B5569) southward on the cycle route/bridle way/footpath.  We reach Bucklow Hill’s historic Mile Post located within the walls of the The Swan Brewers Fayre pub (now closed, unfortunately).

We cross the junction and continue walking straight along the cycle route, all the way to the junction with A50 where we find the grand entrance to Mere Golf Club on our left-hand side.  The golf club is currently closed due to COVID lockdown and hence there is no chance of spotting any fancy cars. There is an old AA phone booth near this junction on our right-hand side.  The booth is black with bright yellow AA badges on it and signs identifying it as box 372 Mere Box.  

Here we cross Chester Road to reach the pavement near the entrance to the Club and turn left onto A50 (Warrington Road), in the direction of Knutsford.  The A50 unlike Chester Road is still a very busy road and cars travel at speed to and from Knutsford.  We wouldn’t like to cycle on this road and even as pedestrian we find it noisy.  After a few hundred yards we turn left into Clamhunger Lane and at the end of this road, take another left turn into Mereside Lane.  These two roads are much more pleasant for walking and cycling. The houses around the golf course, we presume have nice views of the two lakes within, namely The Mere and Little Mere.  From the pavement it is rare to be able to see the lakes, but the road is still pleasant to walk along. 

Whereas sections of the Chester road we travelled along were straight, Mereside Road is more of a meandering road.   After nearly a Mile we eventually arrive back at The Swan Brewers Fayres.  Here instead of going back onto the Chester Road to retrace our steps, we decide a detour and cross the road and turn onto Ciceley Mill Lane. We head towards the beautiful village of Rostherne.  This road is peaceful, surrounded by trees and naturally another favourite of the cyclists.  In fact, it is part of the Cheshire Cycleway route 70.  Later on, Cicely Road becomes New Road. The section where the name of the road changes has a dip in the road, so if you don’t have a battery on your bicycle, you would need more muscle power here. 

At Rostherne we are tempted by the two benches strategically placed at the corner of the intersection between New Road and Rostherne Lane.  We take a break for nourishments and enjoy the tranquillity, watching the cyclist going past. The wooden benches commemorate the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee; they face each other, rather being side to side, there is also an old water pump here, coloured a bright post box-red.  If we wanted to continue cycling/walking along Cheshire Cycleway route 70, we would have to turn right at this junction onto Rostherne Lane and go through the village towards Tatton Park (a National Trust property).  However, we turn left instead onto Rostherne Lane and walk downhill.  We go past a beautiful thatched cottage on our right, elevated relative to the road, called ‘rose cottage’.  The cottage is surrounded by many Camellias bushes in full bloom.  The road bends to the left and we walk past St Mary’s Church on our right which is situated on a small hill relative to the road.  Rostherne Lane continues downhill and then starts rising uphill. A large natural lake known as Rostherne Lake (RSPB nature reserve and designated site of Specific Scientific Interest) is clearly visible on our right-hand side. There is woodland here and surrounding the lake. At the lowest point, the road we are walking on crosses a stream which is flowing into the lake.  We can hear many birds singing now and we record some of their songs on our phone. It is very relaxing. We spot robins, finches, black birds and two nut hatches.  

Going uphill again, we know that soon Rostherne Lane will have a C shaped bend.  It almost looks like the road is trying to avoid cutting through a woodland blocking its otherwise straight path.  Pedestrians can leave the road just before the bend via a footpath on the right and join the road again after the bend.  This is exactly what we do. The public foot path is very narrow confined by hedges and woodland on the left and straight waist high fence (with barbed wire on top) on our right. The latter defines the boundary of the nature reserve.  We stop and look at the view of the Rostherne mere. We are too far to spot any birds even with our binoculars. Luckily no one else is using the footpath.  Social distancing would have been impossible in this single-file-pedestrian-traffic only footpath.  Surprisingly, tracks on the mud shows that at least one cyclist has tried this shortcut.

Once we are back onto Rostherne Lane, we walk on the road, cross the junction with Chester Road and go on the bridge over A556 onto Millington Lane. From now on we are just retracing our steps back along Millington Lane, walking on the single-track road back to where we started: namely the John Wesley Memorial plaque underneath M56 motorway on Reddy Lane.  Here we have to leave you Bahman.  We wish we could invite you home for a well-deserved cup of tea and cakes but COVID restrictions do not allow us. We really enjoyed your company.  We know that you still have a long way to go.  We wish you a safe and enjoyable cycle back to Lands End.  Good Luck.

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