Round Peckforton

Round Peckforton 18 November 2019

A group of hardy souls, 7 members and five guests met at Gresty’s Waste CP near Kelsall to walk in the direction of Peckforton on the Sandstone Trail and return on the Eddisbury Way. After reccying the walk, finding some stretches in poor condition and considering it was mid-November, it was a curtailed short of Peckforton than first envisaged.

In fine weather the group departed through the edge of Delamere Forest, past Summertrees, and above Willington where the going underfoot was quite reasonably drained. We had the first views of Beeston and Peckforton Castles in the distance. Thereafter the route undulated across fields over stiles, old tracks, several new kissing gates and footbridges but increasing degrees of mud. The worst was still to come after crossing so called Waterless Brook we entered a series of fields from which maize had been harvested by a huge machine leaving deep ruts which had become waterlogged. We reached Crib Lane with some relief and continued down Pudding Lane with some trepidation for the leader as the next stretch towards the Union Canal had been overgrown and almost impassable on the reccy. Miracle of Miracles the stretch just before Huxley lane had been cleared of undergrowth and the path laid with gritty sand, so we were able to appreciate the views of Beeston and Peckforton castles as we approached the canal. The tow path was in reasonable condition and it was decided to press on past the Shady Oak as it was only midday.

The group continued on the South side of the canal to Bates Bridge and crossed over to the north side heading towards Huxley. Unfortunately most of the group waded through the quagmire beside the canal and a gate wired with rusty barbed wire before a fleet footed member of Merseystride appeared out of the bushes having found a better alternative! More wet fields were traversed before having lunch on the pavement outside Huxley Primary School with a few lucky ones on the bench. Our troubles were not over just yet as the route over Southey Brook towards Hoofield was also honking and one stile was a good imitation of Beecher’s Brook! The group ploughed on through a community orchard and a potato field past the Turkey Farm near Burton to reach Duddon. Here we departed the Eddisbury way to avoid another quagmire, discovered on the reccy, around Duddon Mill where heavy equipment has gouged out the track for the installation of Lodges. The alternative, through the housing estate and along Willington Road, Common Lane and alongside Fir Trees Farm, was a welcome relief before we re-joined Eddisbury Way just before the Orchards. After minor delays due to some scrumping of a few apples remaining on the trees we continued across Pryors Hayes Golf Course and Weetwood to Willington Road. Here we left the Eddisbury Way and went east along the road to ascend Chapel Lane, Gooseberry Lane and the entrance to Kelsbarrow Fort. After passing through the fort we ascended Waste Lane to Kings Gate and contoured the edge of Delamere Forest to return on the Sandstone Trail to the start which we reached just before torches were required! The leader congratulated the group on their resilience and tolerance!

Sadistics 17miles (felt like 20+) and 1100 ft ascent.

David Allen LDWA 1979A

Photos by Michael Magee