Make sure you take binoculars! Walk to the countryside rangers’ office and, with this to your left, go along the drive and turn left at the junction towards the bird hide.

Divert down the steps on the right to the bird hide at the edge of Budworth Mere.

Return to the terrace and turn right, tracing the drive around to the main road. Turn right and cross to a way-marked stile beyond the old bus shelter. Climb the stile and walk ahead, with a hedge on your right. The path drops into a wooded dingle, crosses a footbridge and rises to a stile beyond.

Keep ahead up the gentle hillside, more stiles bring you to Cogshall Lane. Turn left along this.

Take the stile on the right opposite the lone house. At the far side of this field turn left along the hedge-line to find a stile and sleeper-bridge near a wooden pylon. Cross these and go ahead to another stile at a corner, then three others (all way-marked).

At the extreme far side turn left alongside the fence, take the gap by a gate and walk to the road. Turn left, then right along the lane to the Stanley Arms. Not far past this take the footbridge across the canal and keep the water to your left.

In a short distance turn right to find the Canal Exhibition Centre.

Return to the canal towpath and turn right. Stick with this for about a mile, briefly leaving it to cross a canal arm leading to a boatyard.

Soon after passing beneath pipelines, leave the towpath at a concrete bridge, cross this and take the footpath, right, for Big Wood.

Keep right at any junctions in the woods to find a wide, sandy path, along which turn right. This comes close to the canal again before veering off into Big Wood.

Keep left at a fork near massive sycamores and beech trees (staying well above a stream), then right at a fingerpost for ‘Mere and Car Park’.

Pass by a pond on your left, then fork right to a mereside path, following this all the way back to the car park.

Start: Marbury Country Park

Parking: Pay and display

Distance: 3½ miles (5.6km)

Time: 2 hours

Route features: Level walking on good paths. Canal towpath and minor roads, two stiles.

Refreshments: Pub, shops and tearoom along the way.

Public toilets: At start, including disabled access toilet.

Ordnance Survey Maps: Explorer 267 (Northwich and Delamere Forest)
It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.

From Jarrold Short Walks – leisure walks for all ages, by author Neil Coates. Published by Jarrold Publishing, available from local bookshops, and Jarrold Publishing, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TR, or e-mail: