Sunday 26th February.
Spring has finally arrived and we are heading south into Cheshire to follow the sun. Our destination is Danebridge.
We parked close to the bridge and followed the path down towards Danebridge Fisheries where if we had time we could have caught ourselves a trout for lunch. We followed the Dane Valley Trail alongside the river to Barleigh Bridge before joining the Gritstone Trail.
Conditions had improved and the sun was out. We paused for lunch on a grassy knoll and enjoyed the 360 degree view. We could look out over the Cheshire Plain to the Welsh hills in the distance.
We turned left dropping down into the valley then climbed up the other side to Hawkslee Farm where we joined the farm road. After half a mile we turned right at a footpath sign and dropped down through woodland into the valley. So far our walk description had been good but it became confusing as we approached the farm at Nettlebeds.
After crossing a very muddy section used by cows we were directed into the farm yard which was occupied by a herd of young bulls. A permissive path to the right appeared to be chained. It was a bit like a puzzle but we managed to undo the chain and headed for the marker post at the top of the field. The stile was blocked with barbed wire and we had to continue to the top of the field to find an alternative way out. I don’t think the farmer was walker friendly.
Eventually we reached the lane at Wincle Grange and it was then a straightforward path over three more wall stiles leading us to the 18th century Ship Inn. However today we passed right by the pub because we had something better to look forward to !!!!!
We were to visit Wincle Micro Brewery. Wincle Beer Company produce English Eccentric Ales and all their beers are named after local legends. We were able to sample three beers and the beer connoisseurs, i.e. Bob and myself decided that Rambler Ale was our favourite.
At 4.0% ABV, this ale is named after a local character who ensured that all his country walks started and ended at a local hostelry ( sounds a bit like me) It is a distinctive bottle conditioned ale full of crystal malt and brambling cross hops to give it a subtle taste of autumn hoppiness.
I bought a couple of bottles which I enjoyed back home as I watched Liverpool make hard work of beating Cardiff in the Carling Cup Final at Wembley.