Cheshire – A Dog Walker’s Guide Start: The Swan, Marbury.

Parking: Roadside in Marbury or use the Swan car park, with the landlord’s permission.

Distance: 6 miles.

Ordnance Survey Maps: Explorer 257 Crewe and Nantwich (GR: SJ561457).

Dog Factors: Road walking: About 600 yards at the start to reach Marbury Lock. If that’s too much for your dog, consider starting at Steer Bridge (Point 2) where there is roadside parking close to the canal access. Other than that, you have 200 yards on the lane in Wirswall and 200 yards in Marbury at the end.

Livestock: Sheep likely to be grazing two fields on the descent from Wirswall Hill, and possibly by the field beside big Mere.

Stiles: None. There are stiles on the descent from Wirswall Hall, but each has a latched gate alongside.

Nearest vets: Leonard Brothers veterinary Centre, Whitchurch.

The Walk

1   From the Swan, head uphill then turn right into School Lane, signed to Norbury. Continue for about 600 yards to the canal bridge and go through the gate on the left to join the towpath beside the lock. Continue on a fine stretch under the larches to Steer Bridge.

2   Carry on along the towpath and in about a mile pass under the main road just before reaching Quoisley Lock. Continue for almost another mile to Willeymoor Lock with the pub of the same name alongside.

3   Cross the canal on the little bridge and walk down the pub access road. Cross the A49 with care, going diagonally right into Bradeley Green Lane, which soon becomes a sunken high-banked lane climbing Wirswall Hill. Nearing the top keep left through a gate, then finally bend right to meet a narrow tarmacked lane.

4   Turn left on the lane and continue for about 200 yards to a sharp left-hand bend with a small picnic area on the bank beside. Go through a gate on the right here into a field with a view. Immediately bear right to go through a gate into a second field and continue downhill over the humps and hollows to a gate and stile at the bottom edge. You can see Marbury ahead all the way. Cross the next field in the same direction, pass another gate/stile, then cross the next field on its lowest ground to go through a gate.

5   You are now in a field with many springs that feed the mere just beyond. The driest path goes to the left, then bends right to go through a gateway into woodland beside Big Mere. Continue on this obvious track passing more gateways until you emerge on a field with Marbury church on the hill ahead. Bear right across this field to a gate in the far right-hand hedge. On the lane, turn left to return to Marbury.

From Cheshire – A Dog Walker’s Guide, by author Judy smith, is published by Countryside Books, available from local bookshops, Countryside Books, 3 Catherine road, Newbury, Berkshire; (ISBN 978 1 84674 302 3).

It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.