Route: Bate’s Mill Bridge – Crimes Lane – Moathouse Farm – Peckforton Estate – Beeston Village – Beeston Market – Shropshire union Canal.

Distance: 8 miles.

Start: Shady Oak (SJ 533603).

By Car: Take the A54 (the Northwich road) from Chester, and branch right onto the A51 from the Tarvin by-pass. At Clotton turn right onto Crooked Lane and, after passing through the hamlet of Huxley, take the next right turn to the Shady Oak.

Leave the Shady Oak pub and turn left over Bate’s Mill bridge.

Continue down the road towards Beeston Castle, crossing the railway, passing cottages, then looking out for a footpath on the right signposted to Crimes Lane.

Walk over the field, veering slightly right towards an oak tree in the facing hedge, where a plank stile spans a deep ditch.

Continue on, making for evergreen trees and another stile.

Walk beside these trees to pass a pond, then climb over a further stile to reach Lower Rock Farm.

Follow the footpath sign to Horsley Lane and Wickson Lane.

Beeston and Peckforton castles loom ahead, so different in style and origin, as you follow the hawthorn hedge to the stile at the field’s end.

Continue down the next field to a stile and plank bridge, then turn left at the oak here along a track of grass and gravel (signposted to Horsley Lane).

Leave this track shortly to cross to a stile in a barbed wire fence.

Then pass between two oaks and keep ahead parallel with the hedge to a stile at the far end of the field.

Cross the next field to a stile between oaks in the facing hedge.

You soon pass renovated outbuildings and an old byre of rough-hewn sandstone before turning right along the road.

After a short distance go left through the gate into Peckforton estate woods, following the Sandstone Trail towards Bulkeley Hill. .

You soon glimpse the cottage roofs in Higher Burwardsley and the craggy, sandstone cliffs of Raw Head.

Climb over the stile at the summit and your way is ahead, leaving the Sandstone Trail which turns right.

Passing under the supposedly haunted bridge down here can be an eerie experience.

Ignore the notice saying ‘strictly private’ at the second turning on the left and walk to the signpost.

Turn left, and have a glimpse of Peckforton Mere, nestling among grassy slopes as you pass the sandstone walls and cobbled drive of Garden Cottage.

Turn right over a stile towards Beeston Moss and Bunbury.

Veer left across this field with Beeston and Peckforton castles to your left. Head to a stile signposted to Bunbury.

Make for the lone telegraph pole and the stile to its right in the facing hedge.

Do not climb over this but turn left alongside the hedge.

Then, at a dog-leg bend, strike out over the field, aiming for the house where a plank bridge and signpost lie to the right of an ivy-shrouded oak.

Turn right along the road, and immediately right again towards Bunbury and the A49.

Cross the country lane and the cattle grid here, then continue down the farm road towards Beeston Hill Farm.

You soon turn right over a stile and drop down through a plantation of evergreens to skirt a field.

After crossing a final meadow climb over a stile into Beeston cattle market (the Smithfield of the north), which is held every Wednesday and is well worth visiting.

Turn left along the A49, passing under the railway bridge and over the Gowy before dropping down to the towpath on your left.

A gentle stroll from here completes the walk, taking you back to the Shady Oak.