The Sandstone Trail

Submitted by Timwoods on 14 March 2008
 
(12 votes)
A linear, multi-day low hills and fells (below 600m) walk in England starting at Frodsham train station, Cheshire, about 49km (roughly 31 miles) long and suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs. This multi-day route follows a sandstone ridge that rises from the central Cheshire plain. The walk has a few steep sections, but no major climbs, making it an ideal route for families. The Trail starts in Frodsham and passes rock outcrops, woodlands, castles and historic churches. The walk can be done in sections, with plenty of public transport along the route. This route describes a three-day route with two overnight stays. Many parts of the trail are managed by the National Trust. Start: Frodsham train station, OS Grid: SJ518779
End: Whitchurch train station, OS Grid: SJ549414
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 760m (2494ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 1437m (4715ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 677m (2221ft)
Max. Elevation: 220m (721ft)

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Waypoints
OS Grid: SJ518779
From the station, head up Church Street. After 400m, follow the sign to Howey Lane. Follow the path heading uphill through the woods to the War Memorial. Then continue through the woods heading south.
About 4 km (roughly 3 miles) from 1 OS Grid: SJ512735
The trail continues to head south, going past Alvanley Cliff and up Simmond's Hill. The route heads east at Manley towards the Delamere Forest.
About 4 km (roughly 3 miles) from 2 OS Grid: SJ552715
The Trail passes through the beautiful Delamere Forest for 3-4 kms. A great spot for seeing birds - I saw woodpeckers, nuthatches and a host of others in this section.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 3 OS Grid: SJ539687
After leaving Delamere, the Trail heads south again towards Nettleford Wood and past the King's Chair, an old quarry. Cross the A54 and follow the path through Primrosehill Wood (a woody day!). This wood is managed for its wild flowers, so look out for an array of flora and fungi in autumn.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 4 OS Grid: SJ534666
The village of Willington is the end of the first day. There are various accomodation options around here, but you may need to walk a little further to get there (or take a bus). Nearby Tarporley has the best range of options, so you may want to extend the first day's walk to here.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 6 OS Grid: SJ543643
The second day starts with a walk across the undulating Cheshire countryside. Follow the Trail heading South past Utkinton and on to Fishersgreen Farm.
About 5 km (roughly 4 miles) from 7 OS Grid: SJ538593
The Trail continues across open countryside, crossing the A51 and past Tarporley towards Beeston Castle. Climb to the top for incredible views over eight counties, from the Pennines to the Welsh mountains. On this site there was a Bronze Age settlement and Iron Age fort before the castle was built.
About 4 km (roughly 3 miles) from 8 OS Grid: SJ527558
The Trail starts to climb again, heading into the Peckforton Hills. The route will pass Peckforton Castle, modelled on a Norman castle, and Bulkeley Hill, where there is a viewpoint looking east towards the Peak District.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 9 OS Grid: SJ508548
The Trail starts to head west and onto Raw Head, the highest point on the route. These stunning red cliffs are a great place for a rest with a cup of tea, taking in the views across Wales.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 10 OS Grid: SJ505534
Cross the A534 and head to Bickerton. There is an old church here. The track continues up Bickerton Hill and onto Maiden Castle, another iron age fort. Continue along through Hether Wood on Larkton Hill. Here the path starts to drop again, heading towards Larkton Hall.
About 4 km (roughly 3 miles) from 11 OS Grid: SJ500494
From Larkton, the trail heads south to Hampton Green. From here, make a short diversion to Hampton Heath, where there is accomodation available, and you can also get a bus to Malpas for more options.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 12 OS Grid: SJ524479
Pick up the Trail on the third day back at Hampton Green, and head across Bickley Brook towards Bickley Wood.
About 2 km (roughly 1 miles) from 13 OS Grid: SJ528464
The Trail heads past the fascinating St Chad's Chapel, built in 1689. Look out for the impressive yew and cedar trees in the churchyard.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 14 OS Grid: SJ534452
Continue past Pearl Farm to Willemoor Lock, on the Llangollen Canal. There is a pub here if you need a pick-me-up for the final stretch! The path then follows the canal for two kilometres.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 15 OS Grid: SJ524428
This is the point where several long distance paths cross - the Maelor Way, the South Cheshire Way and the Shropshire Way. Obviously prime walking country! Carry on past here along the canal, heading towards Whitchurch.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 16 OS Grid: SJ543412
The end of a classic three days's walking! The Trail continues along the canal from Grindley Brook into the heart of Whitchurch. The actual end of the Sandstone Trail is the Jubilee Park in the centre of the town. There are buses and trains home from Whitchurch.
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