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The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail

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The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail
Author: Pub Walker, Published: 29 Jan 2015 Walk Rating:star1 The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail Pub Walkstar1 The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail Pub Walkstar1 The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail Pub Walkstar1 The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail Pub Walkstar0 The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail Pub Walk
Cheshire, Bostock Green
Walk Type: River or lakeside
The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail Pub Walk boot The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail Pub Walk
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A 6 mile circular pub walk from the Hayhurst Arms in Bostock Green near Middlewich, Cheshire. Originally established as the village Reading Room, today the Hayhurst Arms is a proper village pub with a well-stocked bar at its heart. The walking route has plenty of interest for everyone, taking in pretty villages, the tree at centre of Cheshire, signs of the area’s historic industrial past and a picturesque stretch along the towpath of the Weaver Navigation.

The walk has a few gentle climbs and descents plus longer sections of level walking. The route follows mainly pavements, lanes and stone tracks/towpaths, however one section does follow a grass track across a crop field and this can be very muddy in winter and after rain. You will need to cross the main A533 road twice. This road can be busy so take particular care and it may be worth avoiding peak traffic times. There are several gates/kissing gates to negotiate, but there are no stiles on route. One short section of the towpath crosses a water meadow which is occasionally used to graze cattle. Approximate time 2.5 hours.

Bostock Green is located a few miles north of Middlewich in Cheshire. (NOTE: There is another Bostock Green, within Ellesmere Port, so make sure you are headed to the right place!) Head north from Middlewich on the A533 and keep straight ahead onto the smaller road into Bostock Green. The walk starts and finishes at the Hayhurst Arms on the main road through Bostock Green, which has its own car park. Approximate post code CW10 9JP.

Walk Sections

Start to A533
Start to A533

Start point: 53.2193 lat, -2.494 long
End point: 53.2185 lat, -2.5037 long

Begin the walk in the car park for the Hayhurst Arms. Take a moment here to look at the architecture of the cottages opposite and the Hayhurst Arms itself. All the buildings in the village of Bostock Green have a similar red brick design, topped with signature white and black design gables. This charming uniformity is due to the village’s origins as a model Georgian and Victorian estate village. The village was originally laid out in 1775 when the park of Bostock was landscaped. The remodelling of the village took place in the 1870s under the France-Hayhurst family who lived at nearby Bostock Hall. The village survives virtually unchanged since this time. The Hayhurst Arms itself was established in 1845 as the village Reading Room, became a social club in 1914 and then was transformed in 2015 to become the pub restaurant at the heart of the village.

Leave the pub car park via the vehicle entrance to reach the pavement by the main road. Turn left along the pavement, passing the 1872 old pump house (now a shelter) on the left. Now look across to the other side of the main road and you will see an old oak tree, surrounded by a small fence. This tree is said to mark the centre of Cheshire. In 1887 the original oak tree was chopped down because it was considered to be a danger to traffic. It was replaced by the present oak tree, planted as a young sapling to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Take the first road on the left, Brick Kiln Lane. Follow this quiet access lane for some distance, taking care of any occasional traffic, passing between a handful of properties. In the 1770s this lane was home to the kiln that fired the bricks for the building of the model village. Eventually you will come to Brook House Farm on the left, home to the Bostock herd of Holstein Friesian Cattle, a high-production dairy breed.

Keep ahead on the tarmac track (beware of any cattle crossing) and pass through the wooden gate ahead to join the signed public bridleway. Follow this track steadily uphill between hedgerows. The track narrows to a path which leads you through a wooden gate and down a slope to a junction with the main A533 road.

A533 to River Weaver
A533 to River Weaver

Start point: 53.2185 lat, -2.5037 long
End point: 53.2148 lat, -2.523 long

You need to cross over the main A533 road here, but do so with extreme care. Be sure to check for traffic from both sides and to check for vehicles emerging from the side road (Jack Lane) opposite before you cross. Take the footpath which continues opposite and leads you into the trees (with the side road running down to the left). A few paces in you’ll come to a concrete slope, turn left down this and then turn right to follow the pavement alongside Jack Lane.

Stay on this pavement for some distance, heading for the village of Moulton. When you reach the 30mph signs you are forced to swap to the left-hand pavement – do so with care. Take the first road on the left, Niddries Lane. Follow the lane all the way to its end, a dead end, with the Lakeside View housing complex on the left. Take the narrow tarmac lane, signed for Caravan Park and Railway Access, which swings steadily right. On the left you will pass Niddries Court, an old mill now converted to cottages. In the front courtyard you will see a mounted piece of cast iron mill equipment, highlighting the building’s history.

After the last house on the left you will reach a junction of tracks (the track ahead is the one along which you will be returning later). Turn left onto the tarmac track signed for Vale Royal River Park. Follow this track between sheep pastures taking time to enjoy the expansive views across the Weaver Valley ahead.

Follow the track steadily downhill and keep straight ahead passing through the arched tunnel beneath the railway. Keep ahead through the second tunnel (with the Vale Royal Holiday Park overhead). The track leads you down to a small parking area alongside the River Weaver.

River Weaver to Vale Royal Locks
River Weaver to Vale Royal Locks

Start point: 53.2148 lat, -2.523 long
End point: 53.2287 lat, -2.5399 long

Immediately before the bridge across the river, turn right and follow the riverside path with the River Weaver on the left. Pass through the metal kissing gate into a water meadow (which is occasionally used for grazing cattle) and keep ahead along the towpath. Pass through the next kissing gate to leave the water meadow and you will pass a large lake on the right.

The River Weaver today is a peaceful walking route and a haven for wildlife, but it has a fascinating industrial heritage. The river runs through the Cheshire salt-producing area. It is believed salt production on the River Weaver began just south of here, in Winsford, as far back as 1671. The natural river was not deep enough to allow boats to reach the salt mines. Improvements to the river to make it navigable were authorised in 1720 and the work, which included eleven locks, was completed in 1732. Barges of up to 40 tons could reach Winsford, and boats called Weaver Flats were the predominant vessels. These either sailed up the river or were bow-hauled by teams of must have been quite a sight.

In the 1800s it became uneconomical to mine salt, and so extraction using water was used instead. Hot water was pumped through the mines that dissolved the salt and the resultant brine was pumped out and the salt extracted from the brine. This technique, known as wild brine pumping, weakened the ground and led to land subsidence as mines collapsed. Mining subsidence has left lakes alongside the river, known as flashes. The largest flashes, the Winsford Flashes just south of here, cover 200 acres. Winsford is one of only three places in the UK today where rock salt is commercially mined for use as a de-icing agent on roads.

Just beyond the large lake you will come to a fork in the waterway. Across to the left is the branch of the main River Weaver, whilst on the right (the branch you will continue following) is the Weaver Navigation – the manmade channel. Continue for some distance further along the towpath enjoying the tranquillity of the area. Pass through the next kissing gate and a short distance later you will see a kissing gate on the right. We will be going through this in a moment, but first it is worth keeping ahead for a few more yards to reach the Vale Royal Locks.

Vale Royal Locks to Eaton Hall Farm
Vale Royal Locks to Eaton Hall Farm

Start point: 53.2287 lat, -2.5399 long
End point: 53.2294 lat, -2.5321 long

There has been a lock at Vale Royal for more than 250 years, starting with a single timber-built construction in the old river, which opened to traffic in 1732. The locks you see today date from the time when navigation was completely reconstructed between 1870 and 1900. The original wooden locks were replaced by five much larger locks, capable of handling 1000 tonne vessels. You can get a great view of the waterway by walking onto the footbridges across the river, but do take care with children.

When you have finished enjoying the locks, retrace your steps along the towpath back to the kissing gate (now on the left). Pass through this and go straight ahead on the obvious grass track climbing between crop fields. As you reach the brow of the hill, the grass track swings left, right and then left again to lead you across the railway via a footbridge. Soon you will reach a signed junction of paths (including Weaver Cycleway) at Eaton Lane, with the buildings of Eaton Hall Farm visible ahead.

Eaton Hall Farm to Moulton Track Junction
Eaton Hall Farm to Moulton Track Junction

Start point: 53.2294 lat, -2.5321 long
End point: 53.2188 lat, -2.5167 long

Turn right here, onto the signed Restricted Byway, passing the farmhouse across to the left. Follow this farm track between hedgerows, with open fields each side. The hedgerows here are home to a wide variety of birds, providing both shelter and food in the form of berries and insects. Keep your eyes peeled for sparrows, thrushes, blackbirds and wrens.

The track narrows to a path and continues with fenced open fields each side. At the end of this stretch of path, you will emerge to the end of an access road, with houses directly opposite. Keep in the same direction to join the signed Restricted Byway, with open fields to the right and the properties of Moulton to the left.

Moulton village began life as a purely agricultural centre, but during the 1800s terraced housing was built to expand the village and house the workers from the salt industry. It is one of Moulton’s neighbours, though, that has the more exciting claim to fame. Just south of here is the tiny village of Stanthorne, including Stanthorne Hall. The author Charles Dickens stayed at the hall sometime in the 1840s, around the time he wrote Great Expectations. It is claimed that the character of Miss Haversham was based on a Miss Chatterton who lived at Stanthorne Lodge (‘havering’ being a Scottish slang term for a chatterer). Miss Chatterton’s wedding had been cancelled at the last minute and, on the orders of the jilted bride, the wedding breakfast had remained laid out and untouched on the dining table for a considerable length of time. Of course this cannot be proven and there are competing claims for the origins of Miss Haversham from across the country.

Follow the path for some distance. Along the way you will pass the buildings of Moulton Bank Farm across to the right. Immediately after this keep ahead as the path widens to a stone track. Where the fields on the right finish, you will reach the junction of tracks within Moulton village that you should recognise from the outward leg of the walk.

Moulton Track Junction to End
Moulton Track Junction to End

Start point: 53.2188 lat, -2.5167 long
End point: 53.2195 lat, -2.4942 long

From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the Hayhurst Arms. To do this, keep straight ahead on the lane between houses. Stay on the lane as it swings left to become Niddries Lane. Follow Niddries Lane all the way to the T-junction at the end. Turn right, heading out of the village, and swap to the left-hand pavement when you are forced to do so. Follow the road as it swings left and, just before you reach the T-junction, turn left up the concrete slope and then right onto the bridleway which leads you down to the A533.

Cross over the A533 (again taking extreme care to watch for traffic from all three directions) and take the signed bridleway directly ahead. This track leads you through two gates and past Brook House Farm on the right. Keep ahead along Brick Kiln Lane all the way to the T-junction at the end. Turn right for just a few paces to reach the Hayhurst Arms on the right for some well-earned hospitality.

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6 Comments for: "The Hayhurst Arms Moulton and River Weaver Trail"

Nice walk. Mixture of pavement, path and tracks. Suspect could be muddy if wet. Lovely pub at end for a lunch.

By chrisglennon on 26 Mar 2018

Enjoyed the walk. Waterside paths a bit muddy after recent rain. DO take care crossing the A533 as it is very busy. Locks very impressive.

By merricks on 05 Nov 2017

we stayed at brook house farm on brick kiln lane. the first part wasn't great with busy main carriageway to cross. but once in Moulton it was a lovely walk. the riverside section was beautiful. shame there wasn't a cafe at the royal vale locks. enjoyed it enormously

By cockypants on 05 Jul 2017

We parked at location 2 and missed out the walk through the houses

Turns into a 4 mile walk

Very pretty dog friendly no traffic easy footpaths

Perfect for a stroll

By jspeed on 05 Oct 2016

Lovely section by the river but too much housing estate beginning and end

By rogeralexand on 12 Aug 2016

Pleasant walk for the most part and only the fairly short road section after crossing the A533 spoiling it slightly. The history along the way was very interesting and like all walks starting in a pub car park a drink at the end is very welcoming.

By darkzerstore on 07 Sep 2015

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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