One of the greatest joys of heading out for walk is the anticipation of what you might find on the way; a spectacular secret view, a hidden historical ruin or perfect picnic spot. Here are some of our favourite group walks in the North.
Enjoy a stretch of the Salford Trail, a 50-mile, long distance path created by Ramblers volunteers. A particular gem along the way is Ordsall Hall, a Grade 1 listed house which used to sit amongst a densely populated working class area with mills and docks. The oldest part still standing dates back to the 15th century. Approached from one side, it looks like a grand brick mansion, but on the east side, away from the road, it's a black and white timbered Tudor building. There’s free entry, so explore the hall’s fascinating history and look out for the resident ghost!
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This walk around Delamere visits a real gem in Primrose Hill Woods – the atmospheric Urchin’s Kitchen. Hidden by trees, this is a glacial drainage channel formed towards the close of the last Ice Age. The 20-30 foot deep meandering water worn gorge is wider at the base than the top — which suggests it was probably scoured out under immense pressure beneath a huge but unknown depth of ice. There are boulders nearby, carried from many miles away by the glacier, these are called erratics.
This walk around Wirral takes in historic pubs, including the Harp Inn. This is a former coal miners’ inn near to the site of Neston Colliery which closed in 1927. The building was originally cottages built in 1750, two of which were converted to the pub. The pub overlooks the Dee Marshes and North Wales with a recently enlarged garden and a drinking area abutting the edge of the marshes.
This stroll around the city walls of Chester will visit the Dee meadows and Edgars Park field. Here lives the only surviving rock-cut Roman shrine still in situ at its original location in the whole of western Europe. It dates from around AD 79, during the time of Vespasian, when the same area was being used to quarry stone for the construction of the Roman fortress just over the river.
Discover the tranquil oasis of Chorlton Water Park nature reserve on this walk, which leaves you feeling far from the urban bustle that surrounds it. The local nature reserve stands on the site of Barlow Hall Farm. During the construction of the M60 motorway in the 1970s gravel was excavated from the site. The gravel pit was subsequently flooded creating the lake that is central to the water park today, surrounded by grassland and peaceful woodland.
This walk from Lymm heads to a real gem – a penny ferry in Thelwall, Warrington. Here, a ferryman takes passengers from one side of the Manchester Ship Canal to the other on a little four-seat boat. The ferry was established to maintain a public right of way instead of a bridge or viaduct and it has been in operation since 1894 when the canal opened. It is the last of its kind to operate every day of the year. The Ramblers has kept the ferryman busy – particularly in August 2012 when he transported 53 walkers across the canal!
The area east of Buxton is chock full of beautiful scenery and points of interest. This long and fairly strenuous walk winds out of Buxton via farmland, past the enormous Tunstead Quarry, and through a couple of tunnels on the Monsal Trail. After a lunch break at Millers Dale, the route turns west and drops down in to the incredibly picturesque Chee Dale. This tucked away river gorge is a real gem, only accessible by foot. With its epic limestone cliffs, abundance of wildlife, and stepping stones skirting the edge of the river, it’s a really breath-taking secret corner. The route back to Buxton heads across fields and through hamlets, taking in a good view of the viaduct outside the town.
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The Ramblers’ Walk About festival is funded thanks to the support of the fantastic players of People's Postcode Lottery.