SET off down the Roman road that stretches south from The Cock in Stretton, the massive bulk of Beeston Castle clearly visible on the skyline.

After passing Stretton Lower Hall, turn left to 18th-century Stretton Mill.

Here Carden Brook widens to make a mill pool with a picturesque picnic spot, and ancient cobbles still front the slate-roofed buildings of stone and wood.

Continue down the road past a wood and an impressive stone lodge, its ‘stucco’ pillars relics of past glory.

The small plant nursery returns you to the present. Here, turn left down the footpath to Clutton, passing Windmill Farm.

The track is bordered by solid, dry-stone walls of red sandstone, superb examples of a declining art.

Keep in the same direction and peer through a high iron fence at the bowl-shaped Cheshire Plain rimmed by the misty outline of welsh hills.

Turn right by a beech tree, soon you go left through a high gate to walk under overhanging outcrops of ruddy sandstone, their surface ridged and furrowed by erosion, streaks of white lime offering a sharp contrast.

Patches of scrubby gorse flank the path and Barton can be seen on rising ground above a silent lake.

The grassy path continues between grey boles of beech until you bear left through a high steel gate.

Here, turn right along a track flanked by hawthorn to the A534 and the relic of an old weathered cross.

Keep ahead down Holywell Lane passing Clutton general store, then turn left down the drive in front of Charity Farm.

Climb over two stiles to enter a large field, and keep veering right down to a line of oaks, where a bridge crosses a deep ditch into the next field.

Follow the hedge up this meadow, passing a circular water trough and then a small pond before rounding the corner of the hedge; then turn right along a cart-track (of sorts), which swings left by a reedy pond.

Leave the track at its end and cross the grass to the footpath sign in the fence.

Turn left along the lane, cross the stone bridge, then turn left at the footpath before Coddington church.

Walk across the gate in front of a farm, then turn right along the lane to pass Ivy Farm, the duck pond opposite offering a sheltered habitat for mallards, their well-adapted feet providing rapid propulsion over the murky surface.

Turn left down the footpath to Barton, keeping ahead at the farmyard entrance down a garden, dank and drenched in wintry weather, but in Spring splashed with the scarlet, yellow and blue of primula, daffodil and grape hyacinth.

Moss-covered stones point you down a path to a stile.

You then keep left down the field to another.

Bear slightly right over the next field, crossing the fence and making for the corner of a wood.

Here, negotiate the miscellany of stiles in the hedge beside a tower, then keep ahead down a further field to a wide stile, and ahead again to a roadway.

Turn right to pass a milestone, dated 1898, then an old congregational chapel, built in 1877, before the road bears left and The Cock is ahead.

Distance: 5 miles

Start: Cock o’Barton

NB: Restrictions on space mean this article provides a summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map