My walk this week was across the water. Not the Atlantic or even the Irish Sea, just a trip across the Mersey to the Wirral. Our destination was Helsby where we would walk a section of the Sandstone Trail. The Sandstone Trail is a 34 mile long footpath that stretches from the market town of Frodsham to Whitchurch in rural Shropshire.
We began our walk by climbing up the flanks of Helsby Hill passing between some rock faces.
The next mile was along field paths and through some light woodland until we reached a signpost for the sandstone Trail.
Our path led us along the lower slopes of Woodhouse Hill. On the top there is an Iron Age fort, one of several found in the area. We continued along the Sandstone Trail with the path keeping close to the edge of the cliffs. This gave us some fantastic views over the Mersey Estuary.
Conditions were a bit gloomy but at least the rain held off. I have stitched a couple of images together to indicate the view.
The Mersey Basin and the sandstone hills of Cheshire were shaped by the advancing ice sheets during the last ice age between 75000 and 10000 years ago. Until the Middle Ages the tidal marshes reached far inland. When the Manchester Ship Canal ( the big ditch) was dug in 1894 this marshland was cut off from the sea and much of it has now been reclaimed as farmland or for industrial use.
We continued along the trail passing many caves cut into the sandstone cliffs.
We paused for lunch close to the Memorial dedicated to men from Frodsham and the local area who died during WW1.
From this viewpoint on the flank of Beacon Hill we could look across the estuary. In the far distance we could just make out the stump of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
We left the trail and followed paths round the perimeter of the golf course. We returned through Snidley Moor Wood where the paths were very muddy and care was needed on some of the steep sections.
We covered just over 7 miles but it had taken us almost 5 hours. We were only out for a stroll but it was also an indication of the conditions underfoot.