Real as in it was a walk for walking’s sake, not a walk to the pub!
The starting point used to be a pub though, the erstwhile Nag’s Head.
From there Cotton Lane leads to the canal.
Towpath on the left, Cotton Lane continues as a footpath on the right, both lead to the same place though.
Continuing up the towpath, past the boat yard…
…then onto the golf club car park.
Here we part company the canal for a while.
Turning right on Hassall Road and heading towards the motorway, clearly audible by now as the constant roar like breaking waves at the seaside.
Stannerhouse Lane could easily be mistaken for somebody’s driveway but as you walk away from the road the lane itself veers off to the right.
I do not think that superelevation is actually necessary here!
Beyond the bridge Stannerhouse Lane gets really muddy.
But our route takes us off to the left immediately after crossing the brook.
Up a gentle bank towards “Tall Chimneys”
and another kissing gate leads into a field.
This stile has outlived the fence it was part of.
Two more kissing gates protect the lane from walkers
heading straight across this paddock.
Yet another kissing gate. The last time I walked round this route there were stiles to climb over at each boundary crossing. I have to say that the gates are a much easier option, especially as my knees seem to be aging faster than the rest of me. Anyway, we turned left here to follow the well worn footpath around the edge of the crop.
At the next boundary crossing we met the first step stile on the walk, but it was not a particularly high one and Harvey cleared it with no trouble.
The path then climbs these steps from beside the little stream to cross another field.
From there a track leads to Hassall Road where we turned right, towards Sandbach Heath.
A short way along Hassall Road and Houndings Lane is on the left.
Here we had a choice of routes, I was originally intending to continue along Houndings Lane onto Mill Hill Lane but we were making good time so I took a detour. This path comes out on Laurel Close, we turned left at the end of the close onto Palmer Road then left again onto Condliffe Close.
From the bottom of the close an unofficial footpath runs through the bushes to the main road at Waitrose Roundabout.
Not the best crossing place!
On the other side of the bypass a fairly new footpath runs through Brook Wood.
A very pleasant bit of the walk, surprisingly quiet considering it has the bypass on one side and Townfields estate on the other.
The Brook Wood path ends near Latham Road.
At the other end of Latham Road a footpath leads to Mill Hill Lane.
This is cat country and Harvey was on the lookout.
Turning left on Mill Hill Lane took us back down to the brook. I really love the view from the bridge, it’s one of my favourite places in Sandbach.
The eponymous mill, with the eponymous hill behind it, had we taken the short route from Houndings Lane this is where it would have brought us.
Across the road from the mill another footpath follows the brook downstream towards Wheelock.
A combined bridge and stile carries the path over what was the tail race, now silted up.
Then back over it again, almost undetectable here,
and through the wood, a bit boggy underfoot in places.
A third bridge over the marshy remains of the tail race leads to another stile that has outlasted it’s fence.
When I moved to Wheelock 21 years ago the “Dancing Bridge” used to be a real mess with broken bottles everywhere. I suppose it was down to the group of teenagers in the village at that time, now grown up and moved on to make a mess somewhere else, because the bridge isn’t nearly as bad nowadays. This is an odd structure, the bridge carries the old railway line over the brook with a deck over the water carrying the footpath. I think the origin of this may have been something to do with access to the salt works that used to be between the railway and the canal.
Beyond the Dancing Bridge the brook has a stony bottom for a short distance before reverting to sand.
The path crosses the brook again before reaching the canal.
At the canal there is a choice of route. Turning left would take you back to Cotton Lane near the locks.
But that’s the wrong way for us to get home so we turned right to pass the wharf on the other side of the canal before reaching Crewe Road at the bridge.