The Sandstone Trail

A guest Blog post from Mike McLeish

Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail is a 32-mile waymarked hike starting in Frodsham and ending in Whitchurch. It’s a gentle enough route with a high point of just 227 metres. But don’t let the lack of height fool you, the route follows a sandstone ridge (hence the name) that gives sweeping vistas over the Cheshire Plain and Dee Valley below. 

Hiker walking on a hill with a rainbow across the sky

Most sensible people will tackle it over three very manageable and enjoyable days. Some silly folk will do it in two days and some absolute nutters will run it in a single go. Typically a solo hiker, this was my first time doing a long-distance multiday hike with a friend and I found it a delightful experience. 

To be quite honest I had never heard of the Sandstone Trail until a week or two before I tackled it. I was searching around for multi-day hikes in the Northwest and it popped up and fit my search criteria which were as follows:

  1. Have a start and finish point easily accessible by train (which the Sandstone Trail has with stations at both Frodsham and Whitchurch)
  2. Approx 10 miles hiking a day - I’ve found this to be the sweet spot between a) feeling like a good amount of exercise and b) giving you enough time in the day to enjoy yourself without feeling rushed
  3. Have a good selection of accommodation not too far off route - we stayed one night in an Airbnb in the village of Kelsall and another in the Bicketeron Poacher pub in Bulkeley. Both were ideal as they were just a few hundred metres off the trail. 

Hiker walking down a farm track bordered by tall hedges

In terms of the terrain and sights of interest, the Sandstone Trail has enough to keep you entertained. Views over the Mersey Estuary and wandering through Delamere Forest were highlights of the first day. The craggy ruins of Beeston Castle were a great stopping-off point midway through Day Two, before finishing off with a sunset at Bulkeley Hill Wood. The third and final day started with the triple ascents of Rawhead, Bickerton Hill and Lawton Hill before a much gentler afternoon ambling along the towpath of the beautiful Llangollen Canal all the way into Whitchurch.

Hiker taking photos of the view from the top of a tall viaduct

Would I recommend the Sandstone Trail? Why yes I would. It might not be the most challenging hike you will do in your life but it’s definitely worth three days of anyone's time. The scenery is beautiful even when covered in rain clouds. 

Mike did the walk with his lifelong buddy 'Squelchy Luke' in March of this year and had a fabulous time (despite the weather being very 'March-like'). You can read about the full adventure on his Blog at whilst there is a summary of the Sandstone Trail route on our own site here.

We are always pleased to receive submissions for Blog posts related to car-free walking in the UK. Get in touch if you have an idea that you think might fit.