About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Wednesday and Saturdays, New Years day and May Day. How many walk? Walks take place as long as there are at least 2 wanting to walk on that day. More walk on a Wednesday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, a mid-week and 3-4 on Saturday. Where do we walk? Saturday: Anywhere in North and Mid-Wales, Peak District, Shropshire and the Long Mynd and as far North as the Trough of Bowland. Thursday: Anywhere within about 40 miles of Chester. Type of walk: Distance: 6 – 14 miles. Climb: up to 4000’ (but usually very much less!). Those involved in 2017:- Martyn Harris, Fran Murphy, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Annie Hammond, Sue and Dave Pearson, Mike Dodd, David and Anne Savage, Celia de Mengle, Wendy and Ian Peers, Roger and Margaret Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Paul Collinson, Phil Marsland, Sylvia and Dave Jenkins, Sheila McNee, Ed Meads, Elaine and John Greenhalgh, Jim McCabe, Mal Pulford., Joyce Russell

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Bryn Alyn, Eryrys and Deborah's Well 30th May 2013

Setting off anticipating showers!
Limestone escarpments near Bryn Alyn.
Descending Bryn Alyn towards Eryrys.
Lunch in Eryrys - this is not a bus shelter!
A Canada goose on a nest in an island in the pond in Nercwys Forest.
At Deborah's Well.
Early Purple Orchids still blooming.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.8 miles. Climb: 1430'.
Time: 6 hours 1 minute. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h. 
Group: Martyn, Phil, Mike and David S.
Most of the rain today, thankfully occured while we were driving to the start and on the way home.  We started off in waterproofs, but we were getting wetter on the inside through over heating than we did from any rain.
In the end, the walk that we did, wasn't exactly as originally planned, but it meant that we all experienced walking along paths that were new to us, always a bonus to a walk, especially when it on our local patch!
Bluebells were still showing well, but not all at their best. Other flowers seen included: Wood sorrel, Cowslips, Early purple orchid, Wood anemone, Daisy, Dandelion, Red campion and Ramson.
Birds seen or heard today included: Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Grey heron, Carrion crow, Rook, Common buzzard, Common blackbird, Meadow pipit, Woodpigeon, Common pheasant, Barn swallow. Canada goose, Mallard and House sparrow.
This proved to be a good variant on the the walk that we usually do, even if it did miss out Moel Findeg!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Glasfryn, where Snowdonia Ale went down well before it ran out. It seemed like a laptop convention as there were about 20 people in the Glasfryn all playing on their laptops, I think it had something to do with the high profile court case going on over the road, and these were all press trying to get their stories ready and sent back for printing in Friday's paper!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Walks and Dates May 2013

Updated 8th May 2013
Thursday 2nd May 2012
Maen Achwfan, Llyn Helyg, Crown Bach and Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb:600’.
Start:Roadside parking opposite the church in Whitford. Grid ref:SJ147782.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This is the first of our Bluebell Woods walks.
The walk starts off by using one of the walks in Dave Berry’s book “ Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain. We have completed this one several times, including visiting the beautifully carved Maen Achwfan. However this time we include again the two new woods, Glol and Llyn Helyg woods. Hopefully we will return through Crown Bach woods to Lloc and then return to Whitford via Twll Bach.

Saturday 4th May 2013
Walk Cancelled.
Monday 6th May 2013
Pendle Hill – another Search for Dotterel
Distance:7-8 miles. Climb:1400’.
Start: Downham Village Car park. Grid ref: SD785442.
Leave Chester:8-30 a.m.
This is an extra walk for this week, so is a little shorter than usual.  It revives the May Day walk that we used to take before a certain government decided they didn't want to celebrate a day for the workers! The route today is the one in Terry Marsh’s book “Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire”. He describes it as “undoubtedly the finest ascent of Pendle Hill”. Let’s hope for a good day weather-wise, topped up with good views of Dotterel as we did a couple of years ago.  Don’t forget to bring binoculars. 

Thursday 9th May 2013.
Coed Pen-y-Gelli and the Gorsedd Round
Distance:11-12 miles. Climb:1050’.
Start: Roadside parking at Lloc. Turn left by the public house if approaching from Holywell on the A5026 on right if approaching on the A5026 from its nearest junction with the A55. Grid ref:SJ145765.
This is a annual Bluebell Wood Walk, and is effectively a figure of eight walk based on Lloc. This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry’s book “ Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain”. This walk is the second of our Bluebells wood walks.
Leave Chester at 09-00a.m.
Saturday 11th May 2012.
The Lawley and Caer Caradoc.
Postponed until 2014
Distance:10 miles; Climb:2000'.
Start:Church Stretton centre car park (pay and display). Grid ref:SO454911.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
It's Dotterel time again, so this is another walk that may give us the chance of seeing them again. The walk combines two walks taken from Ian Jones' booklet "20 Walks From Church Stretton".It is a walk that we first did in 1998 and have done several times seince then. This is a superb walk, especially on a good day. It is the nearest that you can get to a ridge walk, particularly along the Lawley!

Thursday 16th May 2013.
Daresbury and Moore Nature Reserve.
Distance: 10-12 miles; Climb:Less than 500' at guess.
Start: Car park Moore Nature Reserve, Lapwing Lane, Warrington. Grid ref: SJ578854.

Route to Moore Nature Reserve.
From Chester take the M53, then take the M56.
Leave M56 at Junction 11.
From Junction 11 take the A56.
Continue on the A56  past the A558 turning and follow signposted directions ahead for Moore Village.
At the next traffic lights turn left for Moore Village. As you enter the village turn right into Moore Lane
If you get as far as Moore Post Office, you've gone too far!.
Follow Moore Lane over the Ship Canal into Lapwing Lane, and the entrance to the Reserve. The car park is on the right, opposite the notice board.

The Daresbury walk is only four miles, and is taken from Jen Darling's book "Walks in West Cheshire and the Wirral". In addition it is planned to start the walk by exploring Moore Nature Reserve and possible  the Appleton reservoir area, which should take the walk up to about 10 miles or slightly more, if we decide that we want to on the day.
Last time we started near Appleton Reservoir, but had problems parking on the day as some sort of Police incident was taking place and the usual car park was closed.

Saturday 18th November 2012.
Around Anglezark Reservoir and More.
Walk postponed. Billy no mates again.
Distance: 8-11 miles. Climb: 1200!
Start:Car park and picnic site, Rivington Park Lower Barn. Grid ref: SD628138.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This walk is based on a walk from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire". His part of the walk is described as being on generally good paths and tracks, but can be muddy! The extensions will result in the whole walk going past 5 reservoirs. It will probably be worthwhile bringing binoculars with you.
The route includes white Coppice and Healey Nab.
Last time we walked in this area it was in November 2010, so the birds that we see and hear will be probably be different, and hopefully the weather will be warmer!

Thursday 23rd May 2013.
Distance:10 miles. Climb: 1300'.
Start: Ysceifiog, park adjacent to the children's play area. Grid ref: SJ152715.
Leave Chester 9-00a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountains".  This is another chance to explore the area around Ysceifiog using field paths, woodland paths and bridleways.  The walk also explores the countryside between the Wheeler Valley and Lixwm.  We have done this walk many times, but not for quite a while.
Saturday 25th May 2012.
Bluebell Woods Around Parbold.
Distance: 8-10 miles. Climb: 700'.
Start: Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve. Grid ref: 50351234.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk is a new addition to our list of Bluebell Wood walks and is the first one that you would describe as being outside our local patch. This walk is on the East of Parbold, and visits up to ten different woods, so hopefully some will still have Bluebells on show.  The walk also includes part of the Leeds - Liverpool Canal as far as Appley Bridge. This walk is one that a friend from WEF did last year, but there is no description, just the OS map, so our map reading will have to be up to scratch! Bring binoculars with you just in case.

Thursday 30th May 2013.
Moel Findeg, Deborah's Well, Bryn Alyn and Nercwys Mountain 
(A Tale of Two Mountains).
Distance:11 miles. Climb: 1800'.
Start: Lay-by opposite the Loggerheads Boundary Monument on the A494 Mold to Ruthin road. Grid ref: SJ202626. This car parking area does get busy, another possible parking place is a layby on the opposite side of the road a little to the Newsagent at Cadole. As a last resort we can park at Loggerheads Country Park, but this is a pay and display car park that isn't cheap (about £5 for the day!).
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "More Walks in the Clwydian Hills".  This is another chance to visit the summit of Moel Findeg with its fine views of the Northern Clwydians  and across the Cheshire plain to Peckforton and Beeston.  Hopefully we will make it as far as the ancient Deborah's well this time.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

A Parbold Round 25th May 2013

One of the views from the Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve.
One of the many Buttercup meadows seen on the walk today.
A delightful little valley with masses of Bluebells on both sides of the stream.
Two of the Mallard ducklings seen on the Leeds - Liverpool Canal.
A section of the River Douglas.
The final crossing of the Leeds - Liverpool Canal.
The small waterfall in the Fairy Glen.
Walk stats: Distance: 14.2 miles. Climb: 800'.
Time: 7 hours 11 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Celia.
This was a perfect day for walking, blue skies plenty of warm sunshine and only the occasional breeze. In fact it could have been a one shirt, one hanky day, but as usual I did change my shirt for lunch!
This walk was the last of our Bluebell wood walks, and the route today didn't disappoint.  It seemed as though we were accompanied by Bluebells on most of the walk, along the hedgerows as well as in the woods that we went through. There were plenty of other flowers too that were in bloom. These included: Gorse, Creeping buttercup, Meadow buttercup, Dandelion, Lesser stitchwort, Greater stitchwort, Red campion, Common mouse ear, Wood anemone, Garlic mustard, Wood sorrel, Herb robert, White dead nettle, Field forget me not, Greater plantain and Daisy.
There were quite a few butterflies flitting around to, but most didn't stay still long enough to photograph or identify. However they include: Peacock, Small white, Large white, Orange tip and Meadow brown.
Chiffchaff and Willow warblers were singing on many areas on the walk, but today we didn't see any birds of prey.  Birds seen or heard today included: Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Common blackbird, Greenfinch, Blue tit, Great tit, Mallard, Grey heron, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Grey heron, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull. Jackdaw, Carrion crow, House sparrow, Oystercatcher, Barn swallow, Common swift, Common pheasant, Woodpigeon, Black-billed magpie, European robin and Lapwing.
The sections around the canal and in the Fairy Glen were very popular, but it's good to see people, especially family groups enjoying the countryside, even if it means that it isn't as quiet and peaceful as we would like it to be.
The walk ended up a little longer than expected as Mike decided that he would like to explore the area around Anderton Mill, rather than taking the shorter route westward around Harrock Hil to Lower Barn. The last couple of miles along the minor roads was done at pace as we were nearly in danger of having the car locked in at the Hunter's Hill Nature Reserve, but thankfully we got back with twenty minutes to spare!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Netherton Hall in Frodsham, where Lees MPA bitter and Drayman's Promise both went down well to quench the thirst of two leg-weary walkers!
Overall a superb walk, and one that will be repeated, with one or two minor changes!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

A Ysceifiog, Lixwm and Nannerch Round 23rd May 2013

On the way to Babell.
Bluebells on the wlk today.
Welsh poppies and Bluebells in the last wood of the day.
Ysceifiog Church - the final approach.
Inside the church at Ysceifiog.
Ysceifiog church from the main gate.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.1 miles. Climb: 1370'.
Time: 4 hours 59 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Phil, Celia, Wendy and David S.
The weather forecast for the day was lots of showers, some of them heavy.  Thankfully we did get the odd shower, not any really heavy ones, except when we were picking Celia up at 08-55 this morning.  This is a bit of a roller coaster type of walk, that went through several delightful woods with plenty of sunlight filtering through the branches and lots of Spring / Summer flowers blooming. These included lots of Bluebells, Primrose, Cowslip, Common Dog violet, Welsh poppy, Field speedwell, Dandelion, Daisy, Bramble, Early purple orchid, Lesser celandine, Greater stitchwort, Lesser stitchwort, Red campion, Creeping buttercup. Meadow buttercup, Garlic mustard Ramson,  and even Daffodils (but I'm not sure that they were wild ones).  I reality there were probably many more!
Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Jackdaw, House sparrow, Barn swallow, Common swift, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Great tit, Carrion crow, Raven, Willow warbler, Blue tit, Greenfinch and Blackcap.
Lunch was taken as we left Rofts Wood. We sat in bright sunshine for most of the time, but a five minute rain burst hurried us, but not before enjoying some fruit cake to celebrate David S's surviving his first year with the group.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at Britannia Inn, despite the Lees bitter not being quite at its usual best!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Moore Nature Reserve and More 16th may 2013

A gull or two on Birchwood pool, Moore nature Reserve.
Oh the joys of a happy bush!
"Where's me Mum?"
Bluebells, but not the sort we want!
Lunchtime at the golf course, well nearly!
Bluebells that we do want.
A good hare day!
More Bluebells that we love.
The Moore Lane swing bridge opening.
The leisure boat passing along the Ship Canal.
Walk stats: distance: 10.0 miles. Climb: 375'.
Time: 5 hours 5 minutes. On the Move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Sue Pelissier, Phil, Tim, celia, Wendy and David S.
Weather forecast generally good, but with a possibility of a showers around midday, and that's just what we got. The only time I put my waterproof on was as I ate my lunch!
We started the walk around Moore Nature Reserve, a little bit of self indulgence really, a not everyone in the group is a twitcher!  Nevertheless this reserve is just lovely to walk around, the paths are well maintained, and today the Spring flowers were blooming, although sadly today several patches of Bluebells seen today were the Spanish or hybrid variety.  Thankfully we saw many other woodlands where the the Bluebells were the native variety, and appeared in carpets that were a joy to behold.
The absolute bonus of the day was seeing the antics of five Brown hares performing in one field, and later on we saw two more Also seen was a Rabbit (in the field opposite our lunch spot) and a Weasel (in the wood by Warrington cricket ground).
Birds seen or heard today included: Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Long-tailed tit, Black-billed magpie, Eurasian jay, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Barn swallow, Sand martin, Tufted duck, Great crested grebe, Gadwall, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Little grebe, Common coot, Blackcap, Sedge warbler, Mallard, Moorhen, House sparrow, Lapwing, Rook, Jackdaw, Wood nuthatch, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Common blackbird, Grey heron, Goldfinch, Common pheasant, Black-headed gull, European robin, Winter wren, Greylag goose, Canada goose and Dunnock (Sue P spotted and identified this juvenile bird).
Considering that we were so close to a major town, we saw very little of it, and as we have experienced before it's just like a delightful stroll in the countryside!
Thanks to Roger, we decided to miss out the Daresbury section of the walk, and consequently arrived at the Moore Lane swing bridge a little earlier than otherwise expected.  On heading home the barriers across the road came down and our way across the swing bridge was closed to traffic, so we were able to witness the bridge swinging open and the ship passing through before allowing us on our way.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Netherton Hall at Frodsham, but not before the drink of MPA was rejected as being undrinkable! The barman agreed, exchanged our drinks the usual Lees bitter that went down well, as did the Drayman's Promise, the other brew on offer. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Coed Pen-y-Gelli and More 13th May 2013

Wood anemone in Coed Allt-y-tywod.
Bluebells in Coed Allt-y-tywod.
A carpet of Bluebells just starting to appear in Coed allt-y-tywod.
Bluebells in Coed y Garreg.
Cowslips North east of Crown Wood.
Early purple orchid North east of Crown Wood.
The path along the Western edge of Coed Pen-y-gelli.
Not everyone's favourite flower, but in large numbers even the Dandelion gives an  impressive show.
Walk stats: distance: 5.4 miles. Climb: About 600' (the wind assisted 1290' on the GPS is a little over the top!)
Time: 2 hours 49 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Roger. 
This was Roger's first walk for some time, so I decided to repeat the walk done by a few of us on the 10th of the month, just hoping that a few more Bluebells were showing.  A few more were in bloom, but no where enough to match the impressive Bluebell carpets seen in earlier year.  I think we may have to repeat at least one of our Bluebell Wood walks in the first week of June.
At least we did see Bluebells and quite a few more wild flowers blooming.
The cool wind made sure that there was no chance of either of us over heating, but thankfully the sun was shining most of the time and we didn't get any of the predicted rain showers.
We had lunch just as we entered Coed Pen-y-gelli, taking advantage of recently felled tree trunks lying on the forest floor.  As it was Roger's first walk in 2013, we celebrated with a piece of well mature fruit cake.
Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Common blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Common pheasant, Barn swallow, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, winter wren and Common buzzard.
After walk drinks, as usual were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn, where Martyn nearly left without paying for his take-away!
Roger coped well with his first walk, and hopes to join us on our next walk.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Coed Pen-y-Gelli 9th May 2013

Bluebells in Coed Allt-y-tywod.
Striding out along the field paths, heading for Coed-y-Garreg.
Common Spotted orchid.
A new (to us) part of Chwarel Pen-y-Gelli.
The lime kiln in Chwarel Pen-y-Gelli.
Walk stats: Distance: 6.3 miles. Climb: 968' (probably wind assisted).
Time: 3 hours 14 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Phil, David S., Sue and Dave P.
If you believed the weather forecast, this was a day when we should have stayed at home. Thankfully like Sue we looked out of the window and saw that the Sun was shining, so let's go for it!
Just as we arrived at Lloc, it started to rain, but only a few spots, but we donned our waterproofs in anticipation of the downpour to arrive soon.  Rain was always in the air, but it never reached the really unpleasant, "why I am here?" levels.
This was the second of our Bluebell wood walks and thankfully today we did manage to see a few in Coed Allt-y-tywod and Coed Pen-y-Gelli. We did see Early spotted orchids and Cowslips just starting to bloom too.  All these flowers blooming, it was enough to make you think it was Summer, despite the less than double digit temperatures!
We had lunch as usual at Chwarel Pen-y-Gelli Nature Reserve, sheltering from the gentle rain and the cool breeze the best we could. It didn't encourage us to linger long, and poor David didn't have enough time to eat his chocolate snack!
Overall this was a very enjoyable walk, especially so as we explore more of the paths through Coed Pen-y-Gelli and the Nature Reserve, paths I'm sure we will return to again and again.
When we arrived back at the car, we decided that our best option was to miss out on the second loop of the walk around Gorsedd and head straight for the Britannia Inn, and also give Phil the chance to get back early to be with his Granddaughter  It turned out to be a good decision as it seemed to be raining even heavier as we headed down the A55 on the way home.
Birds seen or heard today were few and far between, but included: Chaffinch, Common blackbird, Chiffchaff, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Goldfinch, Barn swallow, Black-billed magpie, Woodpigeon and Blue tit.
Thanks to Sue and Dave P, I didn't have to drive, so I could really enjoy my earlier than usual Lees bitter at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn. Just for the record, I wasn't the only one to enjoy the Lees bitter!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Pendle Hill From Downham 6th May 2013

Pendle Hill in view.
A Pendle Hill pony, I didn't know that they existed!
Approaching the Scout Cairn on Pendle Hill.
The Pendle Hill Plateau from the Scout Cairn.
The final moorland approach towards Downham.
Downham ahead.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.1 miles. Climb: 1490'.
Time: 5 hours 20 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.9 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Carole H.
This was a perfect day for walking, but not for seeing Dotterel, at least not for us.  They were on Pendle Hill, but by the time we arrived at Big End trig point, they had moved lower down on the Southern side of the hill. We had to be satisfied  the many singing Skylarks that were around the Pendle Hill plateau, always a joy to hear.
Birds seen or heard today included: Barn swallow, Blue tit, Great tit, Eurasian curlew, Coal tit, Willow warbler, Chaffinch, Common swift, Mallard, Skylark, Red grouse, Wheatear, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Common blackbird, European robin, Meadow pipit, Pied wagtail and Rook.
This is a superb walk, especially on good days like this, but you do have to expect that hundreds of others that think it's a good hill to climb too.
After walk drinks were enjoyed sitting outside at the Chester Fields, stillin sunshine overlooking the River Gowy and its adjacent meadow.  A Beartown brew was the only real ale on offer, so it's unlikely that I'll call again, except as a last resort.