Little Moreton Hall & Mow Cop from Ackers Crossing – Dec 2019

The weather forecast for the last Monday of 2019 looked really promising; <5% chance of rain for the whole day, plenty of sunshine and minimal cloud cover … perfect. The next thing to sort was the walk. I typed ‘Cheshire circular walks’ into Google, hit enter and one of the results linked to which happened to list ’60 easy to follow circular walks in Cheshire’ … 2 for 2 on the good luck stakes! Then I noticed it was a chargeable site … ooh dear. I read on and it’s actually very reasonably priced per walk so I thought why not. We’re so used to getting everything for nothing (or so we think) these days but sometimes it’s worth splashing a little cash, plus the site has a few other useful functions such as being able to upload images you take of the walk for other’s reference and even to find walkers to accompany you on your journeys. A login was created and money changed hands before I downloaded details for today’s walk.

The distance looked good (8 miles / 13 km), grade 4 so easy going and only a 30 minute drive away. With days being so short at this time of year, I don’t want to be travelling too far so this was ideal. I’ve posted the GPS track of my walk below … you may notice I got a bit lost around Mow Cop folly which turned it into a 9 mile walk and meant the sun was very low in the sky by the time I got back to my car!

Walk route
I got a little lost around Mow Cop, you can laugh along with the original kmz file in Google Earth if you must!

There are some interesting links to detail about the places in the walk, and some personal detail I’d like to add, but I’ll put them at the end so you can get to the images first …

So, time for some points of interest. Before I start I will say that I may invest in some ‘walking’ wellies for next Winter … the amount of mud I had to walk through where I couldn’t avoid it was crazy! I don’t mind walking through mud other than the fear that water will get into my boots and I’ll spend the rest of the walk with wet & cold feet.

The first place worthy of note is the 500 year old Little Moreton Hall, a truly amazing National Trust property that is so crooked it’s hard to believe it’s still standing. I’ve visited once and the Long Gallery on the top floor is a real sight to behold.

Next up, Mow Cop and it’s crowning glory folly. Easily seen on the horizon from many parts of my home town of Crewe it seemed to attract everyone I knew as soon as they’d passed their driving test! The folly actually sits on the border between Cheshire & Staffordshire so you get amazing views of both when the weather is favourable. I’ve driven up Mow Cop a few times over the years and the 22% rise shown in the gallery above can catch you off guard in a car, coming as it does straight after a right hand turn … it’s even tougher to walk up, even if it isn’t that long! There’s also a new one to me, the Old Man O’ Mow which I’d not heard of before … I wish there had been time for a little detour now, maybe next time.

Last, but not least, is something that can also be seen for miles around … the historical and world famous Lovell space telescope situated at Jodrell Bank, which is part of the University of Manchester and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction of the Lovell telescope began in 1945 and used ex-military parts such as drive gears from battleship gun turrets. It tracked Sputnik after it was launched by the USSR and one of its companion dishes at Jodrell Bank tracked Apollo 11 during it’s mission to the moon. There’s lots more interesting information to be found on Wikipedia.

So there you have it, hopefully a little something of interest for everybody!

Maiden Castle & Bickerton – Dec 2019

It’s that time of year again, time to get out in the cold and mud for an end of year walk or two. This was an area that I’d made note of when I did my Sandstone Trail walk as the views were brilliant. It was also a chance to try out my new boots in a forgiving environment. You may have noticed my featured image has been updated with those self same boots … if not, focus readers, focus!

360° panoramic tease shot!
360° panoramic tease shot!

The walk I found online as a handy PDF file and was estimated at 3 miles (5 km) in length, taking 2 – 2 ½ hours and only a 35 minute drive away … bonus.

Route map
As ever, there’s a Google Earth kmz file here for anyone who wants to follow my wanderings.

The National Trust do a great job looking after sites like this so everyone can enjoy them. The only downside is that it makes them popular and hence busy. By the time I got back to the small, hardcore car park I might as well have been parked up at a supermarket! If you’ve not already worked out from my previous posts, I like a good amount of solitude when I’m walking … just me and nature where possible. Anyway, that aside, it was a pleasant walk and a few images follow for your perusal and enjoyment …