Bickerton Hill

Sunday afternoon: we’re away from our usual haunts, up in the south-western corner of Cheshire, which unlike parts of the county, isn’t plain. These sandstone hills are not very high, but only a little elevation is needed for the extensive views in all directions – once we’re out of the woodland, that is. Away to the north-west, we can make out Liverpool and its cathedral (one of them), and there’s the reassuring outline of the Wrekin to the south. It’s good underfoot too – sandy paths and not much mud, despite recent rain. But it’s busy on Bickerton Hill! There are lots of people everywhere, especially on the main drag up from the car park to Kitty’s Rock and the hill fort at Maiden Castle. It’s not quiet here! We’ll come again, and explore more of the Sandstone Trail – on a school-term weekday…

Bickerton Hill NT

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Stiperstones strolling

It has to be a stroll – the path along the ridge is far too rough for any speed. Slow progress is essential if the view is to be appreciated without broken bones… The distant views are wonderful, in all directions; closer, there are other items of interest – a red kite, toadstools (just a few), a fine hairy coo – and the alpacas… It’s a great day to be up here – fine and clear, bright and cool (and breezy).  Nevertheless, it’s good to get back to the Bog too – the cakes are splendid. What an enjoyable day!

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A Cound Circular

It’s a slightly-extended version of a walk we did earlier in the year, and for the same reasons. There’s been a lot of rain in the last couple of days; now the sky’s mostly clear blue, and we need to make the most of it, but we’ll have to stay on hard roads and tracks unless we want to get seriously bogged down. It’s a very pleasant leg-stretch, and as the afternoon wears on, the sun gets noticeable lower, spotlighting the landscape and leaving deep shadows.

We left the car at Cound Guildhall, where there’s a charity box for parking and a charity bookshop too: St Peters Charity Bookshop

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Chase again

That’s Cannock Chase, of course. The forecast implied there would be more sunshine than we had before lunch; afterwards, things improved a bit. At least it’s not raining, and it’s generally dry underfoot too. We’d hoped for more autumn colours, and thought there might have been a good crop of toadstools… The visitor centre, half-way around our wander, is reliable for a simple snack lunch (bacon baps) – and it’s good to be out on a day like this.

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Via Random

We’ve left the car at Cleehill village, and we’re heading for the spooky remains of industry on Magpie Hill. It’s a grey day, and the air’s cold – it’s also clear, with views extending to the Brecon Beacons. Recent rains mean that, away from good surfaces, there’s no shortage of mud, so today we’re mostly on hard-surfaced tracks across this remote hill country. The outward route takes us past the curiously-named Lower Random Farm, on what was once a mineral wagonway, disused for more than a century. Inevitably, the sun breaks through when we’re in the car heading homewards; unexpectedly, it’s raining (again!) as we near home.

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