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

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Mow Cop and Congleton Edge 30th May 2015

Leaving Mow Cop Castle.
Jodrell Bank from Congleton Edge.
One of the Buttercup Meadows South of Congleton Edge.
Panorama from edge West of Willocks Wood, looking towards Cheshire and Lancashire.
The Old Man of Mow.
Back at Mow Cop Castle.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.2 miles. Climb: 958'.
Time: 5 hours 50 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Celia.
A good day for walking, not too hot or too cold. We had hoped to see a few Bluebells still flowering, but very few remained. We did however see lots of wild flowers and several meadows that were yellow with buttercups.
 The views from the edges were superb. In fact a toposcope showed that Cheshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire could all be seen.
 As yet we haven't managed to find the best way across the marshy area West of Cheshire Close, but at least we didn't get wet feet and eventually found the right stile leading to a more obvious path and minor road North of Pot Bank.
  Lunch was taken at the Northern end of Congleton Edge. After lunch we headed North to eventually meet up with Gritstone Way/Biddulph Valley Way/ Staffordshire Way near Congleton Golf Course.
 The stream on the Eastern edge of Congleton Golf Course had masses of recently emerged insects skimming over the surface, but it was the occasional splashing sound that drew Celia's attention. She initially thought it migh have been some sort of diving duck, but we eventually came to the conclusion that it must have been a reasonable sized fish jumping out of the water to catch insects.
 The return route took us a wooded path on the East side of Congleton, quite a pleasant path even if it was a little muddy in places.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common pheasant, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, European robin, Common blackbird, Goldfinch, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue tit, Common chaffinch, Barn swallow, Mallard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Winter wren, Jackdaw, House sparrow and Common kestrel.
 Overall a good walk, always worth repeating.
 After walk drinks wee enjoyed at the Stamford Bridge Inn at Barrow. Piffle, brewed by the Conwy Brewery went down well as did the Amstel Lager.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Around the Ystrad Valley and Foxhalls 28th May 2015

Setting off in the right direction.
Walking through a Ramson wood (King's Mill Wood) near Segrwyd.
An unidentified purple flower in the meadow at Lawnt.
The remains of Dr Johnson's Cottage in the Ystrad Valley.
Heading for lunch near the Dr. Johnson's Monument.
Dr. Johnson's Monument by the Afon Ystrad.
Bluebells and Ramsons in Coed Coppy.
Nearly the final approach on the path South of Peronne.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.6 miles. Climb: 940' (Mainly in stiles!!).
Time: 5 hours 13 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Sheila, Sue and Michel, Celia, Annie, Paul, Fran and David S.
The weather forecast was good with temperatures expected to be just above 10 Celsius, with a North westerly wind making it feel a little cooler and no rain. We arrived at the parking area with a shower, thankfully it didn't last more than a few minutes.
 On part of the walk South of Galch Hill, we were entertained by the attempts of a couple of "cowboys" trying to round up some cattle, one on foot and one on a quad bike. We had to wait about ten minutes before we could walk across the field, had we gone earlier, they may have been even longer trying to get the cows to go the way they wanted.
 This time we took the lower path through King Mill Wood, before climbing to the track that goes past the old Sports Ground.
 King's Mill Wood, North east of Segrwyd was magnificently carpeted with flowering Ramsons.
 We decided to take a short cut to Dr. Johnson's Cottage, by using the footpath along the access track to Lawnt, where we saw the unusual purple flower (see above). Hopefully someone from the group will be able to identify it eventually.
 Most of the group had walked past Dr. Johnson's Cottage without noticing it, but it isn't surprising as not much of it is left.
 Lunch was taken sitting on the banks of the Afon Ystrad near the Monument to Dr. Johnson. To our surprise another group were enjoying themselves at our usual spot slightly North of the Monument.
 The walk to Foxhalls took us through the edge of Coed Coppy, where we had our first sighting of Bluebells, still blooming well, despite having to compete with Ramsons.
 We arrived back at the car, with tired legs, having been challenged by lot of stiles, some of which weren't exactly friendly to at least one member of the group with knees that don't bend as much as they should.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Woodpigeon, Barn swallow, House martin, Common swift, Common buzzard, Pied wagtail, Common blackbird, Mistle thrush, Common starling and Common whitethroat.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where the Lees Bitter went down well. The Bluebell Inn was closed, so it was nice to reacquaint ourselves with the Brit.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Walks and Dates May 2015

Saturday 2nd May 2015.
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 7th May 2014.
Coed Pen-y-Gelli and the Gorsedd Round.
The First Bluebell Wood Walk of the Year.
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”.  The walk will probably nearer 10 miles as we will only complete a small section of the Gorsedd Round.
Leave Chester at 09-00a.m.
Saturday 9th May 2015.
Bluebell Woods Around Parbold. 
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve. Grid ref: SD503123
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk is a walk that we did for the first time last year. 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 and hopefully we won't have an unplanned extension of about 4 miles as we  did 2 years ago!  The walk includes a section around Anderton Mill and High Moor. Bring binoculars with you just in case.
Thursday 14th May 2015.
Pen-y- Ball Hill, Two Woods and the Coast.
Distance: 8-9 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Holywell Halkyn Street Car Park. Grid ref: SJ18957548.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is a figure of eight walk around Holywell. It combines two walks from Ron Williams and Elfed Jones's booklet "10 Walks Around Holywell". We know the area around the Pen-y-Ball Monument quite well, but on this occasion, we explore again some of the paths around the Pets Cemetry. The other walk takes us down to the coast through Coed Pen-y-Maes, going quite near to the new Holywell High School. When we did the walk in May 2015 they had only just started to build.
Saturday 16th May 2015.
Around Holy Island.
Distance:12-13 miles. Climb:1326'.
Start: Roadside parking opposite PC by the Old Harbour in Holyhead. Just before the turning to South Stack. SH245831.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This is another walk that has become an annual favourite. Much of the walk is along the Coastal path, but we will probably make a detour to visit the summit of Holyhead Mountain. A good chance of seeing Choughs, Guillemots, Razorbills and even Puffins. Bring binoculars if you can.
 As in recent years, we will probably do the route in reverse of that described, and get the section through Holyhead centre over first and have the final section along the Coastal Path.
Thursday 21st May 2015.
Poncysyllte, Croes yr Esgob and Trevor Hall.
Distance: 11 miles. Climb:1560.
Start: Trevor Basin car park on the North side of Poncysyllte Aquaduct.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book " Walks Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley".  This has become one of our regular walks and is good at any time of the year.  On a clear day the views across the Dee valley to Trevor Rocks and the Eglywseg escarpments are quite stunning.
Saturday 23rd May 2015.
Stanage Edge from Hathersage.
Distance: 11-12 miles; Climb:1800'.
This is a walk first completed by the group in September 2006 and repeated again in October 2007. If the walk is completed as described in Mark Richards' book "Walks in the High Peaks" it will take us about 7 - 8 hours (the time it has taken us in the past). This is a wonderful walk and if the weather is true Summer weather, the 7-8 hours shouldn't be a problem.
Start: Hathersage car park: Grid ref: SK231814.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
Thursday 28th May 2015.
Around the Ystrad Valley and Foxhalls.
Distance:12-13 miles. ( Although we usually take a few short cuts and reduce the distance to about 10 miles). Climb:1350'.
Start: Layby on Denbigh - Pentrefoelas road, A543, just after the road bend left on the edge of the town. Grid ref: SJ043659.
Leave Chester 9-0 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks in the Vale of Clwyd".  One walk explores the gently undulating countryside between Denbigh and Henlan, and the other walk visits historic houses  associated with Dr Johnson and Beatrice Potter.
Saturday 30th May 2015.
Mow Cop, Congleton Edge and More. 
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Mow Cop National Trust Car Park (Members only, bring your membership card or car park badge). Grid ref: SJ856573.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This walk combines a walk from Carl Rogers's book "Circular Walks Along The Gritstone Trail" and part of a walk taken from the "Pathfinder Guide to Cheshire". This walk is a little shorter than the one that w did in 2008. Good views from the ridges.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Stanage Edge and High Neb 23rd May 2015

Bluebells on Ridgeway Side. Taken from Baulk Lane looking West.
Our first view of the Stanage Edge.
Bronte Cottage.
High Neb and Stanage Edge.
 Looking towards Stanage Edge from the Causeway.
Celia at High Neb trig point.
Water collecting cups - drinking water for Red grouse.
Looking across the Causeway toward Hook's Car and Burbage Rocks.
Martyn at the trig point West of Cowper Stone.
Bluebells in High Lees Wood.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.0 miles. Climb:1030'.
Time: 5 hours 49 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Celia.
A popular day for walking, predictable as the weather forecast was good and it was a Bank Holiday weekend. We didn't get as much Sun as we had hoped, but at least it didn't rain and it wasn't windy.
 The walk along the edge to High Neb trig point gave us good views towards Shining Tor. The highlight of our approach to Stanage Edge was hearing first a Cuckoo, Eurasian curlews, Skylarks and even the plaintive cry of a Golden Plover.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common swift, Barn swallow, House sparrow, Pied wagtail, Meadow pipit, Chaffinch, Willow warbler, Skylark, Red grouse, Eurasian curlew, Cuckoo, Skylark, European robin, Dunnock, Lapwing, Carrion crow and Jackdaw.
 Discovering a delightful Bluebell wood North of Hathersage Booth was a bonus too.
 Overall a good walk, even with the modifications made to the original description in order to shorten it a little.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Chesterfields, where it was peasant enough to sit outside. The tea went down well and I assume Celia's Sam Miguel did too!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Pontcysyllte, Croes yr Esgob, Trevor Hall Wood and the Canal 2st May 2015

"Oh where did you get that hat?"
Early spotted orchid.
Ramsons everywhere - but there were many more to come!
Bluebells galore too!
Listen, don't look!
Looking across the Dee valley towards Trevor Rocks and the Llantysilio Range.
Croes yr Esgob - identified by David S.
Trevor Rocks from our lunch spot.
"Where am I?"
"Why are we waiting? I've had my lunch."
"These are better when they're out of date than when they are fresh!"
"It's only lunch and my legs are tired already!"
"Come on, haven't you got anything to eatr?"
The Pontcysyllte Aquaduct from the Pontcysyllte Road Bridge.
Cysyllte Bridge over the Llangollen Canal.
"Nearly back at the car!"
Walk stats: Distance: 10.9 miles. Climb: 1254'.
Time: 5 hours 58 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Roger and David S.
What a glorious day it turned out to be, pleasantly warm all day, with the occasional cool breeze to help us. We did get rain after lunch, I think I counted at least ten spots!
 The views from high point East of Llyn y Cwm were superb. Although I usually note all the birds that we see and hear, today they were outshone by all of the flowers that we saw.
 Flowers seen today included: Bluebell, Ramson, Cuckoo flower, Garlic mustard, Dandelion, Buttercup. Daisy, Periwincle, Common vetch, Cowslip, Wood sorrel, Forget-me-not, White dead nettle, Common spotted orchid, Primrose and Golden saxifrage.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common buzzard, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Common blackbird, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Wood nuthatch, Song thrush, Woodpigeon and Mallard.
  We even investigated a new path that took us via Ty canol over the A539 and onto the canal at near the Bryn Howel Hotel.
 We arrived back at the car, knowing we had been on a good walk and looking forward to some liquid refreshment at Telford Inn nearby. Telford Piffle did the trick!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve and More 16th May 2015

Our first view of Holyhead Harbour from the path leading from the Breakwater Country Park.
A section of the path on the leading from Twr to cae-alltwen.
Penrhosfeilw standing stones with Gorse of the day in the backround!
Panorama looking East South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve near Clybyddiad.
An obliging Madow pipit.
The coastline looking towards South Stack.
Amale Stonechat.
Guillemots on the cliffs at South Stack.
The coastal path heading towards Porth Namarch and the Breakwater Country Park.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.7 miles. Climb: 1266'.
Time: 5 hours 47 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Celia.
Our normal route is over 12 miles and took us through the centre of Holyhead, so I decided to try starting from the Breakwater Country Park on a route that went South of the town towards Llaingoch and into the South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve West of Porth Dafarch.
 The path from Twr to Cae-alltwen and Mynydd cleyn-bach was a delightful path that weaved its way, often with flowering Gorse on both sides. Today was a day that we couldn't get a way from the sweet smell of coconuts!
 Within ten minutes of arriving in the South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve, we saw two Red-billed choughs and heard a Skylark singing. Blue skies all round, warm sunshine and the wind not as strong or as cold as we had been expecting, things couldn't get any better! Well yes they could we actually saw a Puffin, admittedly through a telescope in Ellin's Tower. Pretty good as it was the only one that as yet had returned.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Barn swallow, Common swift, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Jackdaw, Rook, Red-billed chough, Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Oystercatcher, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Stonechat, Carrion crow, Mallard, Moorhen, Greenfinch, Common whitethroat, Chaffinch, Common blackbird, Guillemots, Common buzzard, Common pheasant, Puffin, European robin and Winter wren.
 There were a few butterflies about, we saw two Small whites, two Orange tips and a Small tortoiseshell.
 On of the highlights today was the vast number of flowers seen including: Bluebells, Red campion, Sea campion, Thrift, Spring Squill, Sea mayweed, Scabius, Buttercups, Self-heal, Tormentil and the seemingly ever present Gorse (plus many more that I can't remember).
 We arrived back at the car having had a good walk, found a new route and ideas about trying an alternative path from the Breakwater Country Park next time we come to this area.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where the Cornish Vintage Cider went down well and as it was "World Whisky Day", I had a whisky in my tea when I got home!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Two Woods, The Coast and Pen-y-Ball Hill 14th May 2015

The Windmill in Holywell - a well known landmark.
Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Maes.
The Coastal Path near Greenfield Dock.
The middle pol in the Greenfield Heritage Park.
An attempt to capture the hundreds of House Martind flying over this pool.
At the Pen-y-Ball Hill trig point.
Which way now?
Panorama from the tumulus North west of the Pet Cemetery.
One young calf that decided it didn't like us!
At least these are running away from us!
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: 1122'.
Time: 5 hours 8 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David S and Phil.
 Earlier in the week the weather for today suggested relentless heavy rain, but thankfully things changed, the rain didn't reach us and all we had to contend with was a cool Easterly wind.
 The first part of the walk was new to us, first passing the Windmill (currently for sale) through a housing estate into Coed Pen-y-Maes. This was a delightful wood with good paths and a good show of Bluebells.
 Emerging from the wood we had to cross a field containing about 20 young bullocks that decided to stampede in front of us, became trapped and then stampeded in front of me as I stood still (David and Phil had escaped to the stile by this time).
 The approach to the coast past the Recycling Centre wasn't the most attractive part of the walk, but at least the section along the coast to Greenfield Dock was pleasant enough.
 On the way to the Greenfield Heritage Park, Phil decided that David needed to experience a visit to St Bueno's Well, so we decided to go through the park via the pools and the paths on the Western side.
 The main lake had few birds on the water, but there were lots of Barn swallows flying around with the odd House martin. The higher pool had very few Barn swallows but more than a hundred House martins flying of the water and some coming within inches of our face as we crossed over dam.
 My attempt to capture them doesn't really how how amazing it was.
 Lunch as is the norm for these Holywell walks was taken in the Memorial Gardens, where we could take advantage of the benches available.
 Arriving at St Bueno's Well, it had been marked out with red and white tape, and a note informing that an archaeological dig on the site was taking place. Perhaps one day we will find out if they found anything of interest.
 Although the walk description didn't actually go to the trig point on Pen-y-Ball Hill we decided that the small detour to visit it was well worth while. 
 The views from Pen-y-Ball Hill towards the coast, Pen-y-Ball Monument towards the Clwydians and from near the tumulus across the Dee Estuary, were all superb.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Willow warbler, Great tit, European robin, Barn swallow, House martin, Common coot with cootlets, Mallard, House sparrow, Feral pigeon, Woodpigeon, Pied wagtail, Jackdaw, Grey heron, Jackdaw and Common buzzard.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn at Halkyn, where we had to sit outside for them to open or so we thought. The door was open, neither of us had the strength to open the door, we had to be let in by a young lady helping in the bar!
 Overall a good walk on a day when we expected the worst!