Cows featured heavily on this hike, as they do in most parts of Cheshire. The bulls in the photograph in the lower left image below took a little bit too much interest in our presence. Doing our best to be nonchalant and cool, we moved briskly on.
Amongst the mix of cattle, there are proper black and white cows.
Along the way, we were somewhat surprised to see sand quarries. It’s just something that wouldn’t have crossed our minds, but apparently the sand in Cheshire is high quality and well sought after, providing around 25% of the silica used for making windows in the UK. The conveyer belt that moves the sand from the quarry to the loading stations was miles long.
An example of what can happen to these quarries was soon apparent. At least it appears to be a managed process, and something is returned to the countryside.
Abandoned farm buildings, ploughed fields and quiet country paths.
Another pleasant and unexpected surprise were the bluebells in Colt Hovel Wood.
The one thing missing from this very enjoyable and pleasant walk was a pub in the middle of the route, but at least there was one at the end.
Oh, and the other thing missing was a wallet with money to buy some drinks with. Sigh.
The route starts by crossing a long field which was quite muddy following the rains of Spring. Cut through a small wood and cross a brook before quickly coming out to open fields once more.
There is something about a lonesome tree that I just can’t resist to photograph it.
The track does pass along some farmland and one of the farmers seemed to be running a hunting/shooting trip that morning. We tried to keep to the official path, but at one point we were prevented from following it due to, well, a bovine blockade. We had to improvise and made our way around (there’s a tell-tale loop on the GPS track).
Shortly afterward, we are reminded that all gates should be closed behind us, under strict penalty if we fail to abide. Not sure if they would accept a credit card for the 40 shillings, we made sure the gate was firmly closed behind us.
Then we enter Swettenham, a nice little village with a nice pub for a pit stop. The Lovell Arboretum is by the Swettenham Arms, but we decide to leave this for another time. Our drinks are gratefully downed, and we continue to the end.