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Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest

There are currently 2 comments and 5 photos online for this walk.

Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest
Author: Claire, Published: 11 Apr 2018 Walk Rating:star1 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guidestar1 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guidestar1 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guidestar1 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guidestar1 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide
Cheshire, Delamere
Walk Type: Woodland
Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide boot Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide boot Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide
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A 5 mile circular walk from Delamere rail station in Cheshire. The walk climbs to the summit of Old Pale Hill where you will be rewarded with views across seven counties, before descending to enjoy the magical Delamere Forest, the largest woodland in Cheshire. Delamere means ‘Forest of the Lakes’ and within the woodland you will visit a rare quaking bog called Black Lake, as well as the forest centrepiece, Blakemere Moss. This unusual lake is around 1km long and was restored as a wetland in 1998. With its boggy and densely-wooded banks that allow seclusion from human activity, it is a true haven for birds and other wildlife.

The walk follows generally well-made and firm paths and tracks, with only a few short sections that are prone to becoming very muddy after periods of rain. The walk begins with a 100-metre climb to the top of Old Pale Hill, although the ascent path is a firm stone track and winds its way up to allow a relatively simple climb. The remainder of the route includes only gentle gradients. There are no stiles or gates on route and you will not be sharing any of the paths with livestock. There are a couple of narrow and uneven stretches of path and you will need to negotiate a couple of gaps alongside vehicle barriers. Dogs are welcome in the forest, in fact you are likely to bump into lots of other dog walkers especially on the final stretch. Allow 2.5 hours.

The walk starts and finishes from Delamere rail station on the Chester to Manchester rail line, making it ideal for arriving by public transport. If you are coming by car, please do NOT park in the rail station car park (which is reserved for train and station cafe users only). Instead follow the forest access road for just a short distance further, then take the first right turn into the Tree Tops pay and display car park (this sits just alongside the station). The parking fee is £4 for 3 hours (correct Apr 2018), with proceeds going to fund forest maintenance, and the gates are locked at 8pm in the summer season. The nearest post code is CW8 2JE (although this code is shared by local housing too, so follow the rail station signs and Delamere Forest brown tourism signs once you get close).

Walk Sections

Start to Ascent Path
Start to Ascent Path

Start point: 53.2287 lat, -2.6662 long
End point: 53.2281 lat, -2.6809 long

Leave the rail station via the platform exit on the southern side of the station (the platform from which trains depart to Chester). You will emerge into the car park for the rail station and station cafe, with the cafe just to your right. Walk ahead through the car park for just 25 metres and then turn right through the vehicle barrier (the vehicle exit of Tree Tops car park). Walk along the length of this forest car park, passing the toilets on your left and with the rail line running on your right.

At the end of the car park, fork right to join the woodland footpath, with the rail line running on your right and the forest access road running across to your left. Further along, the path leads you up a slope to emerge to the access road, with a rail bridge on your right. Do NOT cross the rail bridge, instead keep ahead along the edge of the access road, passing through the parking area and passing the forest visitor centre, cafe and cycle hire on your right.

Beyond this visitor centre, keep ahead along the walkway that runs along the right-hand edge of the access road. Pass another large car park on your left and at the far end of this, turn left to cross the access road at the designated crossing point (with tall wooden bollards). Follow the short stretch of woodland path which swings right and climbs, to reach a junction with a stone path (with a vehicle barrier just down to your right). This marks the start of our ascent of Old Pale Hill.

Ascent Path to Hill Summit
Ascent Path to Hill Summit

Start point: 53.2281 lat, -2.6809 long
End point: 53.2234 lat, -2.6849 long

Do NOT turn sharp left onto the path heading back towards the car park, instead take the second left to join the stone path leading uphill (signed on a waymarker post as part of the Delamere Loop). Follow this stone track winding uphill. About halfway up, you will find a series of benches that provide perfect places to pause, catch your breath and enjoy superb views across the expanse of Delamere Forest (which we will be visiting later).

As you emerge from the trees, you will find yourself at the walkers’ summit of Old Pale Hill, marked with standing stones and a circular platform. The summit of Old Pale Hill sits at 176 metres above sea level and provides truly panoramic views. The summit has a beautiful set of standing stones, that point you in the direction of each of the counties that are in the circular view. In the centre of the summit platform is the largest standing stone, representing Cheshire which is visible in every direction. Around the edge are six standing stones for the other counties within view: Derbyshire, Lancashire, Shropshire and Staffordshire in England plus the Welsh counties of Denbighshire and Flintshire. Around the perimeter of the platform, look for the metal plaques that point out visible landmarks including Old Trafford, Winter Hill, Jodrell Bank Observatory and Shining Tor, the highest point in Cheshire.

Hill Summit to Eddisbury Lodge
Hill Summit to Eddisbury Lodge

Start point: 53.2234 lat, -2.6849 long
End point: 53.2287 lat, -2.6906 long

Leave the summit via the path alongside the Denbighshire standing stone, with the transmitting masts across to your left. Just before you reach the entrance to the mast compound, the path splits. Take the right-hand branch which leads you gently downhill between fenced pastures. Continue on the path down the first short slope and then swinging gently left to reach a staggered crossroads of tracks (with several waymarker posts).

Turn sharp right here and you will soon reach another fork. Take the right-hand branch and follow this track leading into the trees. The track leads you steadily downhill, passing between fenced hillside pastures and sections of woodland. At the bottom of the descent, pass alongside the vehicle barrier to reach a junction with the forest access road. Turn left along this and continue on this road to reach a crossroads, with the entrance to Eddisbury Lodge on your right.

Eddisbury Lodge to Battleaxe Road
Eddisbury Lodge to Battleaxe Road

Start point: 53.2287 lat, -2.6906 long
End point: 53.2328 lat, -2.6998 long

Go straight ahead for about 40 metres to reach a fingerpost on your right. Turn right here to join the narrow path, signed to Barnsbridge Gates, and noting that we have now joined the long-distance path known as the Sandstone Trail. Follow this narrow footpath ahead, passing the buildings, paddocks and stables of Eddisbury Lodge on your right, before winding through a pretty section of woodland.

You will emerge to a junction with a wide forest track. Turn left to join this and continue for about 100 metres to the point where you cross a stream, with a waymarker post on your right, a choice of two side paths to your left and a bridge over the railway visible ahead. At this point we leave the Sandstone Trail, so take the second path on your left, a long straight path with the stream running immediately on your left.

Further along, ignore any paths off to the left, simply keep on the main stone path ahead which leads you up a short steep slope. The path swings right and right again to reach a staggered T-junction (with an unmade path to your left and the main stone track continuing to your right). From this point, the main stone track is known as Battleaxe Road.

Battleaxe Road to Rail Bridge
Battleaxe Road to Rail Bridge

Start point: 53.2328 lat, -2.6998 long
End point: 53.234 lat, -2.6935 long

Turn right to continue on the stone track. Ignore the first stone track off to the left and, about 250 metres later (as a stone rail bridge comes into view ahead), look out on your right for a small path into the trees. Turn right onto this path and after just a few metres you will reach a Hazard Deep Water sign marking the edge of Black Lake. Keeping children and dogs under close control, turn left to follow the lakeside path with the water to your right. This path leads you to an information board, the perfect spot to enjoy this rare habitat.

Black Lake is a rare example of a quaking bog. At first glance it may look like a badly neglected lake, but in fact this is a specialist habitat, home to rare plants and insects. A quaking bog (or schwingmoor) occurs when plants such as sphagnum mosses and cotton grass colonise the surface of a body of water, forming a floating quilt of vegetation. Over half of the surface of the water is currently covered by a sphagnum raft. The depression in which the lake sits was formed by a large melting block of ice at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. This delicate and fragile habitat is a refuge for wildlife that has often adapted to very specific conditions such as the black darter dragonfly and the carnivorous sundew plant which feeds on insects. The site is managed by Cheshire Wildlife Trust. According to the Trust, Cheshire is the pond capital of the UK, and so is home to large numbers of great crested newts.

With the information board and lake on your right, turn left on the woodland path to emerge back onto the Battleaxe Road stone track, directly alongside the rail bridge. Turn right to cross the railway via this bridge.

Rail Bridge to Blakemere View
Rail Bridge to Blakemere View

Start point: 53.234 lat, -2.6935 long
End point: 53.235 lat, -2.6758 long

After crossing the railway, keep ahead on the main stone track. Follow this track as it makes a long bend to the right to reach a path junction alongside picnic benches. Turn left here and you will soon pass a waymarker post showing that you have re-joined the Sandstone Trail. At the first major crossroads of tracks go straight ahead and continue to reach a second major junction. Here we leave the Sandstone Trail, so turn right (passing a waymarker post that shows you have joined the Delamere Way).

Follow the stone track between woodland banks and then winding and zig-zagging down to reach a bench and picnic bench with a large fingerpost ahead. You will have your first glance of the largest forest lake ahead, Blakemere Moss, but a better view will follow soon. Turn right at this point (signed as the Delamere Way and to Linmere Car Park). NOTE: this stone track is the main forest thoroughfare, used by both cyclists and segways, so take care with children and dogs.

Continue on the main track which swings steadily right (following the yellow arrows for the Delamere Way). Follow this main track for 800 metres, to reach Waymarker Post 63, which is the best place for a view of the lake (the iFootpath App live GPS map will be your best guide to find this viewpoint – Waypoint 6). Turn left here for just a short distance and you will come to the edge of the waterway.

Blakemere Moss was drained in around 1815, supposedly by prisoners from the Napoleonic Wars. During the mid-1800s, it was unsuccessfully planted with oak, and later with Scots pine. It was decided in 1992 to restore Blakemere Moss to its original wetland environment, which was achieved in 1998 by clear-felling the area and then flooding it. The restored lake now provides a habitat for plenty of wildlife, particularly birds. When we visited, the sights and sounds of the gulls was enchanting, haunting and deafening in equal measure!

Blakemere View to End
Blakemere View to End

Start point: 53.235 lat, -2.6758 long
End point: 53.2289 lat, -2.6662 long

When you have finished enjoying the lake view, retrace your steps back to the main path and turn left to continue along this. The path soon leads you under some of the obstacles of the Go Ape tree-top assault course. Continue for about 500 metres, following the main path as it now swings steadily left to reach a track junction (with sections of wooden fencing visible ahead).

Turn right here (signed to the Go Ape centre). The path winds through the trees, passing between two zip-wires and then passing the segway training arena on your left. After this, stay on the main path which bears left up a slope to a wide gate. Pass alongside the gate and turn left along the road edge, leading you over the rail line to reach a T-junction with the forest access road (which you should recognise from the outward leg).

From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the start of the walk. Turn sharp left to join the stone woodland footpath, leading you downhill with the rail line running on your left and the access road running on your right. This path leads you directly back to the Tree Tops car park and rail station where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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network Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 comments for "Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest"

Great walk for less fit members of the family

By Maisiesdad on 12 Sep 2018

The view from the top is staggering!

By mcgarrigle on 21 May 2018

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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5 gallery images for "Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest"

10428_0Richard1523459977 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 11 Apr 2018
The visitor centre.
10428_1Richard1523459977 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 11 Apr 2018
The radio mast at the top of the hill.
10428_2Richard1523459977 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 11 Apr 2018
Bobbie and Claire enjoying the view after the climb.
10428_3Richard1523459977 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 11 Apr 2018
Black Lake is a rare example of a quaking bog.
10428_0Richard1523460036 Old Pale Hill and Delamere Forest, Cheshire Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 11 Apr 2018
Blakemere Moss

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