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Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Trip to Cheshire

Being mostly flat, Cheshire has some good cycling opportunities on NCN Routes, but also two notable areas which are nothing to do with Sustrans, these being Delamere Forest which is a mecca for mountain biking and Whitegate Way, a superb 7 mile greenway maintained by Cheshire County Council.
Delamere Forest has many miles of traffic free forest tracks with a number of way-marked trails most of which are wide paths with only moderate gradients. There are two excellent cafes, one at the Visitor Centre and one at Delamere Station. The railway links with Chester about 12 miles away, and also Manchester.
Sadly no bargain train tickets were available from Derby so it was better to take my bike by car and camp for a couple of nights at the very nice Camping Club Camp site which is actually in the forest.

The forest tracks are generally about 4m wide, so plenty of room for joggers, horses, bikes and dog walkers.

There are some interesting chain saw sculptures to be found in the forest.

The face reminds me of someone, but I just can't think who it is.

From a distance this one appeared to be a helicopter, but closer inspection revealed it to be Mother Nature's Helicopter - a giant dragonfly.

Sensation! Giant dragonfly tries to ride bicycle!

The well worn path meanders through the forest, quiet now, but the lack of vegetation in the sandy soil, indicates heavy use by knobbly tyres at weekends.

On the East side of Delamere Forest and about 5 miles from the camp site is the Whitegate Way which runs between Winsford and Cuddington, a former disused railway which is quite simply the nicest greenway that I have ever come across, being maintained to a very high standard by Cheshire County Council. 
Over the whole length there are many mature trees lining the path and the grass verges are nicely mown.

No litter and no graffiti.  Local people obviously take care of the priceless asset in their neighbourhood.  Note good matching of riders weight to the size of the horse's hooves.
Unusually, the best place to access the Whitegate Way is not at either end, but in the centre, at Whitegate Station, where there is a large free car park with toilets.
Turning left from here, you cycle about 5 miles to Cuddington where there are pubs, should you need liquid refreshment, whilst turning right takes you 3 miles to Winsford where there is a salt mine, should you need more salt for your crisps.
So it makes a nice ride of about 16 miles if you ride it both ways.

Over it's whole length, the path has an excellent surface, suitable for all kinds of bikes and even the most delicate of tyres.

Whitegate Station is at Marton Green just North of the A54 between Kelsall and Winsford.
Maps OS 117 and 118.
Map reference SJ615680

I was so impressed with this greenway that I think   it should be included in the book "A Hundred Places To Visit Before You Die,"

Do it!


Trexrider said...

Noted! I would like to try a bit of this......

Richard Fairhurst said...

Don't tell too many people, but you can get much cheaper tickets by cycling to Tutbury & Hatton and picking up the train there; an off-peak return to Chester is half the price it is from Derby. I used to do this all the time when I worked in Burton.