My walk this week was in Delamere Forest in Cheshire. Delamere forest originated from the Norman Hunting forests of Mara and Mondrum. Today it is mainly a recreation area very popular with cyclists. There are several designated cycle trails for mountain bikers. You have to keep yours ears open as they can come out of nowhere. Despite their expensive and complicated bikes, they never have a bell.
Our route description was very precise as we followed a mixture of tracks and forestry roads. We reached Black Lake, one of the many mosses in the forest. It looks like an overgrown pond but it is actually a quaking bog. The vegetation on the surface is not rooted to the ground and is floating on the surface like a raft.
Parts of the forest are very ancient and there were some wonderful tree shapes.
Wild flowers were starting to appear.
We followed a section of the Sandstone Trail but then decides to extend our walk with a circuit of Blackmere Moss.
Blackmere Moss is the largest area of wetland in Delamere Forest and a lot of restoration work has been carried out in the area. Several of the mosses were in danger of drying out due to drainage work and this the habitat was changing. Trees have been removed and boggier conditions have been restored creating a more diverse habitat for insects and plants.
The last section of our walk was a modest climb up to Pale Heights from where there are views over The Peak District, Mersey Estuary, West Pennines and the Clwydian Mountains in North Wales.
There is a monument surrounded by pillars that explain the view.
We have covered 9.6 miles at a fast pace, but it was now time for tea and cake at the visitors centre.