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Chester City Walls

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Chester City Walls
Author: Claire, Published: 23 Feb 2013 Walk Rating:star1 Chester City Walls Walking Guidestar1 Chester City Walls Walking Guidestar1 Chester City Walls Walking Guidestar1 Chester City Walls Walking Guidestar0 Chester City Walls Walking Guide
Walk Type: Town or city
Chester City Walls
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty: boot Chester City Walls Walking Guide
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A 2 mile circular stroll around the city walls of Chester in Cheshire. The Grade I listed walls are the best preserved city walls in Britain and encircle the site of the medieval city. A footpath runs along the top of the walls and they are complete except for one small section of about 100 metres. On route you’ll have chance to see Chester’s many attractions including the castle, cathedral and racecourse.

The walk follows the paved path on top of the walls. There are no gates but several steps (although if you are willing to carry a pushchair up and down the steps, it is possible to negotiate the route with a pushchair). Approximate time 1 hour.

The walk starts from Eastgate which is on the corner of St John’s Street and Foregate Street. There are many pay and display car parks nearby.

Walk Sections

Start to King Charles' Tower
Start to King Charles' Tower

Start point: 53.1908 lat, -2.8885 long
End point: 53.1942 lat, -2.8905 long

Start from the junction of St John’s Street and Foregate Street. From here stand facing the Eastgate section of walls – the high arched bridge running over the top of the street.

On top of the walls at Eastgate you’ll see an ornate clock tower that was erected to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee (60 years of reign) of Queen Victoria in 1897. This is said to be the second most photographed clock in England, second only to Big Ben.

Take the steps on the right to reach the top of Eastgate. Keep right to walk away from Eastgate along the top of the walls passing the HSBC bank to the left. Soon on the left you will pass by Chester Cathedral.

The site of the cathedral was probably used for Christian worship since Roman times, but the present building dates from 1093. Having been modified many times the building now includes examples of many styles of architecture. The patron saint of Chester, Werburgh, is buried in the cathedral.

Keep straight ahead on the high wall path until you reach the first corner of the walls marked by King Charles’ Tower (or Phoenix Tower) on the right. Once a medieval watch tower, it then became a meeting house for painters whose emblem was the Phoenix (hence the alternative name).

King Charles' Tower to Northgate
King Charles' Tower to Northgate

Start point: 53.1942 lat, -2.8905 long
End point: 53.1938 lat, -2.8932 long

Continue further along the walls and to the left you’ll see the Deanery Fields. If you glance over the wall edge on the right you’ll see the Shropshire Union Canal running below.

Further along you’ll climb some steps to reach a high point on the wall, Northgate. To the left you can see into the city and to the right you’ll see the Bluecoat Hospital.

Northgate to Water Tower
Northgate to Water Tower

Start point: 53.1938 lat, -2.8932 long
End point: 53.1927 lat, -2.8988 long

Further along on the right take time to climb the additional steps to visit the top of Morgan’s Mount. This post has commanded some of the best views to the north and west for many hundred years and played an active part in the defence of Chester during the Civil War.

Immediately after Martin’s Mount you’ll climb the flights of steps to cross St Martin’s Gate. You will then pass alongside Pemberton’s Parlour, a decorative alcove named after the Mayor of Chester who owned a rope-making business. Pemberton used the alcove to watch over his workers who were making the ropes below.

Follow the walls as they cross the railway and at the next corner you will reach the Water Tower.

Water Tower to Chester Castle
Water Tower to Chester Castle

Start point: 53.1927 lat, -2.8988 long
End point: 53.1852 lat, -2.8938 long

For more than 1,500 years Chester was the most important sea port in the North West. This pair of towers (Banewaldesthorne Tower and Water Tower) was built to defend the port.

Follow the walls round the corner to the left and back over the railway line. Here the walls gradually descend to road level and on the left you’ll pass the infirmary and Queen’s School. After passing the school, keep right as the walkway again begins to climb. Over to the right you’ll see Chester Racecourse.

Horse racing in Chester dates back to the 16th century and Chester Racecourse is the oldest racecourse still in use in England. Spectators can watch the racing free of charge from the walls which give a clear view of the whole circuit. The course restaurant is named 1539, after the year in which the first horse race took place.

A short distance later you’ll reach Water Gate. The River Dee was once deep enough for ocean-going vessels to reach the port of Chester and this area was a landing point for a great range of cargos.

Continue ahead passing the full length of the racecourse on the right. At the end of the racecourse cross the pedestrian crossing and take the walls walk as it continues opposite. Across to the left you’ll see the buildings of the Crown Court and you will soon draw level with the remains of Chester Castle.

Chester Castle to Bridgegate
Chester Castle to Bridgegate

Start point: 53.1852 lat, -2.8938 long
End point: 53.1863 lat, -2.8894 long

Chester Castle was once a stone fortress and seat of power. Chester was one of the last towns in England to fall to the Normans following the Norman conquest. William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle here to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border. The castle was built in 1070 by Hugh Lupus, first Earl of Chester.

The route emerges out to the pavement – this is the only missing section of walls within the entire city enclosure. Cross over the road and follow the paved walkway as it swings left alongside the River Dee on the right.

As you approach the river bridge ahead, fork left to cross back over the road and keep right to join the walls walkway once again. Continue up and over the steps of Bridgegate – the main route into the city from Wales.

Bridgegate to End
Bridgegate to End

Start point: 53.1863 lat, -2.8894 long
End point: 53.1901 lat, -2.8885 long

A little further along you’ll reach a semi-circular viewing area which gives a great opportunity to enjoy the views of the River Dee here. Follow the walls running alongside the river and then continue as the route swings left and up some steps to follow the walls as they head north.

Further along on the right if you look over the wall you will see the remains of the Roman Gardens. Chester was founded as a Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix in the year 79. After the Romans left in the 5th century, the Saxons fortified the town against the Danes and gave Chester its name.

Continue along over the steps over Wolfgate, past the glass viewing bay into the tower and a little distance later you’ll reach Eastgate where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

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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