4 of 5 (24 votes)

The Sandstone Trail

A hard walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) starting and finishing in Cheshire, England, about 44.80km (27.84 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 14:00h (1 overnight stay). It is suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 286m (938ft)
Descent 203m (666ft)
Max. Elevation 220m (721ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 489m (1604ft)
Frodsham train station
Whitchurch train station
Distance 44.80km
Duration ~14:00h
Car Free Walks TeamCreated by Timwoods on 14 Mar 2008
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.

Walk Functions


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Walk Map

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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.
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 4.44 km (~2.76 miles) from
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 4.46 km (~2.77 miles) from
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 3.08 km (~1.91 miles) from
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 2.10 km (~1.3 miles) from
OS Grid SJ530667
About 0.37 km (~0.23 miles) from
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 2.70 km (~1.68 miles) from
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 5.00 km (~3.11 miles) from
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 3.63 km (~2.26 miles) from
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 2.23 km (~1.39 miles) from
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 1.38 km (~0.86 miles) from
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 4.07 km (~2.53 miles) from
OS Grid SJ524479
Pick up the Trail on the third day back at Hampton Green, and head across Bickley Brook towards Bickley Wood.
About 2.79 km (~1.73 miles) from
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 1.55 km (~0.96 miles) from
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 1.34 km (~0.83 miles) from
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 2.51 km (~1.56 miles) from
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.
About 2.54 km (~1.58 miles) from

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28 Sep 2023
Links For Further Info On The Route

Check out the guest Blog from 'Hero Hiker' Mike McLeish at https://www.carfreewalks.org/blog/the_sandstone_trail.html and visit his site at https://hikerhero.com/sandstone-trail/.

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