About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Thursday 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 Thursday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, and usually about 8 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.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Congleton Edge and Mow Cop 20th May 2017

Getting ready to shelter from the rain.
On Congleton Edge.
Part of Congleton Edge.
A Buttercup meadow seen from a tree when we were sheltering from a heavy shower, 
North east of the Nick i' th' Hill.
Looking towards Beeston and the Clwydians from the Cheshire's Close viewpoint.
The Old man of Mow.
Our first view of  Mow Cop Castle.
Mow Cop Castle from the South.
Looking North east from the masts at Mow Cop.
Berwyn Sheep near our start point.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.1 miles. Climb:1041'.
Time: 5 hours 54 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
We started the walk from a lay-by on the Congleton Road North east of  Mow Cop and will probably use this on future occasions when we visit this area.
 We set off in sunshine, tackling the marshy area North of Cheshire's Close. At least  we got the difficult route finding and boggiest part of the walk over first. No problems here this time finding the way across, although we didn't follow the path as it was on the OS map, but it was the one where many feet had previously gone.
 It started to rain as we approached Nick I' th' Hill, when we decided it was time to put on our waterproofs. This heavy shower was enough for a young lady on a horse to invite us to shelter in barn by the stables. We declined her kind offer and headed across Congleton Edge.
 It rained gently on and off for the next hour or so, and as we started aong the Staffordshire Way, we were hoping for a sheltered spot preferably with a bench.
 Thankfully just before the Southern end of Whitemore Nature Reserve we came across a pic-nic table with views towards Congleton Edge. Even better the rain stopped and we had a pleasant half an hour having lunch in sunshine without having to have waterproofs on.
 After lunch, waterproofs were required as intermittent showers continued for about another hour before we could remove them for the rest of the walk.
 As we arrived back at the car the Sun was shining, so we continued the walk to visit Mow Cop Castle before retracing our steps back to the car.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Carrion crow, Common pheasant, Common buzzard, Willow warbler, Meadow pipit, Black-billed magpie, House sparrow, Common swift, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Blackcap and Winter wren.
 Overall this was a good walk and the weather was much better than most forecasts had suggested.
  We stopped at the Farmers Arms at Kelsall, where Mike enjoyed a pint of Weetwood Bitter and I had probably the worst cup of tea that I have ever tasted! Moral of the story - stick to the bitter!

Walks and Dates May 2017

Thursday 4th May 2017.
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 6th May 2017.
Pendle Hill – the annual search for Dotterel.
Distance: 8.0 miles. Climb:1900’.
Start: Downham Village Car park. Grid ref: SD785442.
Leave Chester:8-30 a.m.
This is a little shorter than our usual Saturday walks.  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 few years ago.  Don’t forget to bring binoculars.
The last few times we have done this walk, the weather hasn't been kind.lets hope the weather is better this year.
Thursday 11th May 2017.
Bluebell Woods Around Parbold. 
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve on Bannister Lane WN6 9QD. Grid ref: SD503123
It is 48 miles from Saltney, so should be a little less from Chester and should take just over an hour to get there.
Leave Chester at 08-45 a.m.
This may be a little further than usual, but it is mainly on the motorway, so it is pretty quick.
This walk is a walk that we have done for the last two years, but on a Saturday. each time the Bluebell have been superb, so I thought that it was time that the Thursday walkers could enjoy them too. 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 is a walk that we have done a couple of times now. There is no description, just the OS map.  The walk includes a section around Anderton Mill and High Moor. Last time the Bluebells and wild garlic in Fairy Glen were quite stunning. Bring binoculars with you just in case.
Saturday 13th May 2017.
Cwm Eigiau from Dolgarrog.
Distance: 7-8 miles. Climb: 2000'.
Start: Road side parking on the B5106 next to Dolgarrog Nature Reserve/Memorial Trail. Grid ref: SH769676.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This is another walk from Carl Rogers' book "Walks in the Conwy Valley. This is described as  strenuous route, particularly in the accent from the valley. It is an interesting walk over quiet lower hills with good views of the nearby Carneddau. Good navigating skills needed on the upper sections of Moel Eilio where paths are feint. We have also had good views of Cuckoos on this walk in this area in past years.
 There is plenty of opportunity to extend the walk, if we feel the need!
Thursday 18th May 2017.
Maen Achwfan, Llyn Helyg, Crown Bach and Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Distance:9-10 miles. Climb:1000’.
Start:Roadside parking opposite the church in Whitford. Grid ref:SJ147782.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This is a Bluebell Woods walk we first did in 2011.
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 exploring 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 20th May 2017.
Mow Cop, Congleton Edge and More. 
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: New start Point. Cheshire's Close lay-by on Congleton Road, Mow Cop. Grid ref: SJ8673058565
Leave Chester at 08-30 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 we did in 2008. Good views from the ridges.
Thursday 25th May 2017.
Coed Pen-y-Gelli and More.
Distance:9-10 miles. Climb:700’.
Start: Roadside parking at Lloc. If approaching from Holywell on the A5026, turn left by the public house (now a private house) into St Asaph Road. Park in left. If approaching on the A5026 from its nearest junction with the A55 (Prestatyn junction), Turn right in front of the public house (now a private house) into St Asaph Road. This is just after the the Pant Y Wacco sign and the road starts to bear left. St Asaph Road is one way and can only be approached from then A5026.
Grid ref:SJ145765.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
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 will be near to 10 miles as we will only complete a small section of the usual Gorsedd Round.
Saturday 27th May 2017.
South Stacks Cliffs Nature Reserve and More.
Distance:10 miles. Climb:1326'.
Start: Holyhead Breakwater Country Park (Pay and Display). SH225833
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This is another walk that has become an annual favourite. Along the coastal section there should be  good chances of seeing Choughs, Guillemots, Razorbills and even Puffins. Bring binoculars if you can. If time and energy reserves allow we may visit the summit of Holyhead Mountain.
 As we start at the Country park, we will again do the walk in a clockwise direction,  finishing the  walk along the Coastal Path.

Walks and Dates June 2017

Thursday 1st June 2017.
Thursday 26th November 2015.
Llanarmon-yn-Ial, Eryrys and Moel y Gyw.
Distance:8-10 miles; Climb:1500'.
Start:Pistyll Gwyn Quarry car park. 1 mile north of Llanarmon-yn-Ial. Grid ref: SJ189574.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk uses two walks taken from Carl Roger's book "Walking in the Clwydian Hills". We have completed both walks before, but have never tried to link them together before. The Eryrys walk is described as exploring the lesser-known limestone hills separated from the main Clwydian ridge by the Alyn Valley. Views throughout the walk are superb! The second walk involves the ascent of Moel Gyw which also has superb views of the Clwydian Hills to both the north and the south.
The last time we did this walk in November 2015, we had to negotiate a path that was partially flooded in order to get to a footbridge over a river in spate. Hopefully at this time of the year it shouldn't be to bad underfoot. Last time out we reduced the walk to about 8 miles, so there is agood chance we will do the same today.
Saturday 3rd June 2017.
Mynydd Garthmyn and the Fairy Glen.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1600'.
Start: Main car park at Betws-y-coed. Grid ref: SH795565.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk was originally planned for February 2017, but had to be postponed due to bad weather. Hopefully this won't happen at this time of the year.
This version is taken from Carl Rogers' book "Walking in the Conwy Valley" and only varies a little from the walk that we usually do. Both walks are described as being varied walks with stunning views, especially to the West.
Thursday 8th June 2017.
A Ceiriog Trail - Pontricket-Tregeiriog-Pont-y-Melbion
Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 1700'.
Start: Pontricket, Layby, Grid ref: SJ186343.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines Pontricket Walks A and F.  It starts on a path on one side of the Ceiriog between Pontricket and Treceiriog and returns along the other side of the river. The walk then heads for open moorland and on to a drovers road, Sarn Sws (The Kissing Way).
The descent from the drovers road is on the South side of the River Teirw and eventually joins the riverside path at Pont Meibion. The return section is described as being via two tumbling valleys. This is a walk that Mike and I did in March 2017 and thought that it would be better done in Summer conditions, when open moorland is less hostile!
Saturday 10th June 2017.
 A walk on this date will be arranged if there is any demand.
Thursday 15th June 2017.
Prestatyn, Talacre and The Point of Ayr.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start at Prestatyn Barkby Beach.. I suggest that you park at Beach Hotel car park, (£2-50 less than the pay and display car park!) on the large parking area by the PC,  Grid ref: SJ068839
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m. You will need to go into the hotel to purchase a car park ticket.
This is a walk that is always on the list at this time of the year, as it is always a good time to see Little terns, so bring binoculars with you. Hopefully we will see orchids too.
As a change, we will complete the walk in the opposite direction to the one that we will normally take. 
High tide is at about 15-30, and is about 26', so we go through the Golg Course, Caravan Park and The Warren Nature Reserve on the way to Talacre and the Point of Air.We will take lunch using one of the picnic tables along the path leading to the Point Of Air. We will decide on the day whether to extend the walk as far as the RSPB observation point. Our return route will be along the beach. 
Our return route will be through The Warren Nature Reserve, Caravan Park and Golf Course.
Saturday 17th June 2017.
Marbury Country Park and More.
Start: Marbury Country Park car Park (Pay and Display £2-50 last time). Grid ref: SJ652763.
Distance: 8 miles. Climb: 500'.
Leave Chester at 09-300 a.m.
This is a later start than usual because we will be calling in at Focal Point Optics at Higher Whitley before we start the walk, and they open at 10-00 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
The walk is taken from an old Country Walking Magazine. It is described as a varied walk with exploring contrasting aspects of Cheshire's varied landscape.  Including the Meres and the Anderton Boat Lift.. The terrain is easy going, along field paths, back lanes and along the towpath, although it can be marshy around Pickmere.  There is a short section along the main road before picking up the towpath at Wincham. Bring binoculars with you if you can.
Thursday 22nd June 2017.
Eglwyseg Escarpment and Trevor Rocks.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb:1200'. Can be made shorter if need be.
Start: Off road parking on the Panorama road just East of the monument. Grid ref: SJ247426.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This must be one of the best walks in the Llangollen area, especially on a sunny day. a walk that makes you feel like you're  on top of the world with superb views in all directions, including the Dee Valley, Dinas Bran, the Llantysilio Mountains and the Berwyns. Always a favourite walk and on the
list at least once every year
Saturday 24th June 2017.
Aled Isaf and More.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Off road parking just before the dam on Llyn Aled. Grid ref: SH916579.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk was originally planned for the end of last month.

This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks on the Denbigh Moors" or his slightly newer book "Hidden Heart of North Wales". The walk explores the expansive  tract of moorland and upland pastures around  Llyn Aled and  Aled Isaf. The route in part follows tracks not easily seen and is for experienced walkers only.  At one point the walk follows a delightful upland path via Llys Dymper, before returning South over the moorland top of Foel Lwyd. The extension allows us to explore moorland paths over Moel Bengam and Cefn Du along paths that I have wanted to explore for some time. Has been known to be boggy, but hopefully not too boggy at this time of the year. As an extra challenge we may complete this walk in an anticlockwise direction, the opposite way to the way we normally complete the walk!
The last time we did this walk in October 2015 we shortened the walk to 9 miles and a climb of just under 800'.
Thursday 29th June 2017.
Moel Arthur and Around Moel Plas-yw.
Distance: 8.0 miles; Climb:1250'.
Start: Car park area West of Cilcain. Grid ref: SJ170652.
To get to the parking area, at the crossroads in Cilcain turn right (Eastward), past the White Horse, Church and Village hall, at the end of a few houses on the right turn, left and the parking area is a few hundred yards further on on the right. 
This walk is one we did last year and includes most of  one of the walks from Dave Berry's book ""More Walks on the Clwydian Hills". The Moel Plas-yw walk impressed us last time with its excellent views and delightful woodland valley paths. I suggest a visit to the summit of Moel Arthur could be an extension at the end of the walk for most of us or maybe not!
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.

Friday, 19 May 2017

A Bluebell Wood Walk Around Whitford 18th May 2017

A lake on the Downing Estate North of Whitford.
The waiting game - a Coot on its nest.
Bluebells in a wood North west of Ffriddoedd.
Interest in Maen Achwyfan.
Looking towards the Dee Estuary on the way to Coed y Garreg.
here is always someone looking to take a rest!
A Buttercup meadow on the way to Glol Wood.
Bluebells in Glol Wood.
Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
More Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Walking through Coed Pen-y-Gelli. West of the Nature Reserve.
Orchids in the North east spur of Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.6 mils. Climb: 640'.
Time: 5 hours 15 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Jim and David S.
This was the first of our Bluebell Wood walks on our local patch and with the considerably dry period we have had of late we weren't sure whether the would have survived. Thankfully they had, although many looked as though they would relish a bit of the wet stuff.
 I decided to take a few short cuts from our usual walk, but I we had lunch near Crown Wood, I realised that we were in danger of getting back to the cars a little too early! At this point I decided that we would explore Coed Pen-y-Gelli a little more than on the original planned route. This turned out to be a bonus as the Bluebells here were the best that we had seen, especially when the rays of the Sun infiltrated the trees and shone on them.
 It was good to see the Purple spotted orchids flowering in a part of Coed Pen-y-Gelli that we hadn't visited before.
 However it was after exiting Coed Pen-y-Gelli that we encountered route finding a little difficulty through a property that warned of Guard dogs and no route markers. The "stiles" weren't easy either!
 We arrived back at the car just before 15-00, having had a good walk and no more than a few drops of rain. This was very fortunate as just down the road at Halkyn they had had 20 minutes of very heavy rain.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Rook, House martin,Barn swallow, Shelduck, Mallard, Greylag, Common blackbird, Common coot, Common whitethroat, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Black-billed magpie and Common buzzard.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn in Halkyn, where Bluebell Bitter No.4 from Settle went down well, but the most popular drink awas a non-alcoholic ginger beer!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Cwm Eigiau from Dolgarrog 13th May 2017

Part of the Afon Porth-llwyd seen on the Dolgarrog Memorial Trail.
Surf Snowdonia, seen from the zig-zag path through Coed Dolgarrog.
Not the best location for a footpath pointer!
The zig-zag path through Coed Dolgarrog
More of the zig-zag path through Coed Dolgarrog.
Following the pipe line.
In open country with views along the Afon Conwy as far as the estuary.
Moel Eilio and the Coedty Reservoir.
Stonechat  and Bluebells on the Southern slopes of Moel Eilio.
The green track leading to the Cowlyd Reservoir.
Our first views of theAfon Porth-llwyd Valley.
Looking back towards Cwm Eigiau.
More Bluebells as we descended the Afon Porth-llwyd valley to Dolgarrog.
A waterfall on the Afon Porth-llwyd - not at its best.
Emerging from the woodland path at Perthi onto the Dolgarog road.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.0 miles. Climb: 2000' (2500' wind assisted on the GPS) .
Time: 6 hours 34 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Ed.
We started off the walk by following the Dolgarrog Memorial Trail, but ended up retracing our steps when the way forward looked a little risky. This was the start of our route finding problem.
 Finding the exact start of the walk description and then deciding what to do when the paths we wanted were closed for safety reasons. Eventually we were able to decipher the suggested alternative on a path that went around the back of Taylor Avenue and we started what turned out to be a steep zig-zag path through the wood that seemed to go on for ever, but eventually joined the described route by the pipe line above the restriction. Route finding would be plain sailing from now, or at least we thought it would be!
 At least now we were in open country and could enjoy the views as we battled against the welcome wind that cooled us after that slog up the path through Dolgarrog Wood.
 Having passed Coedty Reservoir, we heard a distant Cuckoo calling as we headed around Moel Eilio towards the Cowlyd Reservoir. We left the reservoir, shocked by seeing it so low, and took the track heading towards the Cowlyd Reservoir. This started of as a stone track, but eventually turned in to a pleasant green track as it descended in to the valley, but became less distinct as we got nearer to to the pipe line  Having negotiated the pipe line we ended up taking the obvious track, but soon realised that we were getting too close to Cowlyd, and decided to take lunch behind a stone wall to protect us from the wind that had become pretty strong and felt cold by now.
 After lunch, rather than retracing our steps, we took another path that linked with the one we should have taken on the way to Cwm Eigiau.
 At last now, the route was easy to follow and again we could enjoy the views as the wind assisted us on the way back to the Coedty Reservoir.
 Soon afterwards we met a couple, who had been exploring a Medieval Township on Moel Eilio.  Ed knew then. They joined us briefly, but when they headed back towards Cwm Eigiau, as we headed back down the valley towards Dolgarrog.
 Although not planned as a Bluebell walk, we saw plenty, many of them in swathes across the hillside and of course hearing the Cuckoo three times was a bonus, although we didn't actually see one.
 Weather conditions were pretty good, not too cold despite the wind and occasional glimpses of the Sun towards the end of the walk.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Barn swallow, Common blackbird, European robin, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Winter wren, Stonechat, Common whitethroat, Willow warbler, Grey heron and Cuckoo.
 Conditions underfoot were good and firm and we only encountered one boggy patch which was easy to get round.
 Overall a really enjoyable walk with Ed having seen Cowlyd for the first time, but it won't be a walk that will be repeated, that climb through the woods from Dolgarrog is one to assign to "the don't do again" file!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where Blue Bell Bitter revived my spirits before heading home.

Friday, 12 May 2017

A Bluebell Walk Around Parbold 11th May 2017

Bluebells in Hunter's Hill Nature Reserve.
On the track heading South West from High Moor.
More Bluebells South West from High Moor.
Looking East as we crossed the Leeds - Liverpool Canal for the first time.
This is the section missed out today, but would be part of the shorter route.
Crossing the meadow, South of Prior's Wood Farm.
Celia's pink flowers - Pink purslane.
Three of the four large ducklings seen as we had lunch at Appley Bridge.
The sign to those travelling on narrow boats along the Leeds- Liverpool Canal as they approach Apply Bridge.
Lunch with the luxury of a back rest.
Small ducklings on the Leed-Liverpool Canal.
Small ducklings on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
Looking back towards Appley Bridge as we crossed the Leeds-Liverpool Canal for the second time.
Bluebells as we entered the Fairy Glen.
Ramson alley in the Fairy Glen.
One of the waterfalls in the Fairy Glen.
Bluebells in a wood North of Sparrow Hill.
Walking through a wood North of Sparrow Hill.
Walk stats: 10.5 miles. Climb: 1003'.
Time: 5 hours 33 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Celia and David S.
This was a really good day for walk, probably the warmest walk day this year with temperatures in the low twenties at times when I was glad to walk in the shade whenever it was possible or enjoy the gentle breeze that blew occasionally!
 As Bluebell walk this lived up to its name, although many of them looked as though they could do with a drink.
 Conditions underfoot were very dry and muddy areas experienced on previous visits were baked hard ensuring that our boots remained clean, but presenting at times somewhat uneven patches to cross.
 Lunch was taken at Appley Bridge, where three three benches allowed us to bask in the glorious warm sunshine watching a pair of Mallards on the Leeds - Liverpool Canal as we had lunch.
 This pair of Mallards had four quite large ducklings, our best family of Mallards was to come after lunch. This time there were sixteen very small ducklings dashing about madly trying to catch the hordes of insects flying close to the surface of the water.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Hose sparrow, Common blackbird, Common whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Rook, Carrion crow, Common kestrel, Red-legged partridge, Oystercatcher, Black-headed gull, Woodpigeon, Common pheasant, Song thrush, Grey wagtail, Treecreeper and Lapwing.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Netherton Hall, Frodham, now open again after its refurbishment.
 Overall a great walk, except for that final half a mile climb up the road back to Hunter's Hill Car Park.