Walk 2512 - printer friendly version
Acton Bridge, Woodhouse Hill & the River Weaver Walk
Author - Mike Bexley
Length - 13.0 miles / 21.1 km
Ascent - 0 feet / 0 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SJ593757
Lat 53.276709 + Long -2.6118183
Postcode CW8 3QU (approx. location only)
This is a walk on the beautiful plains of Cheshire. The route passes through large farms, villages with thatched roofs, and finishes along the navigational River Weaver visiting one of its famous lock systems. The start is in the village of Acton Bridge (Grid ref SJ593757), just off the A49 Warrington to Whitchurch road.
After parking walk to the north-west of the village. The road bears left at the end of the village and then goes down under the railway (Grid ref. SJ585758). Just as the road turns right take the bridleway ahead which leads into a path. Go over a stream using a footbridge (see important note in last paragraph) and up the field to arrive between some houses at a road (Grid ref. SJ577754).Turn right along the road for a short way and then left along a narrow path between fences. This path heads south-west over a farm track and a field. Go through the hedge, then right following the path alongside the hedge over stiles to a road (Grid ref. SJ571754). Turn left at this road and then right following a footpath across the fields cutting the corner to a gate at another road. Turn right, heading north-west, to take the next footpath on the left. This path heads straight over the open fields to an old mill with its own reservoir - a good place to enjoy your sandwich and feed the ducks.
Turn right on the road then left along a narrow path beside a hedge in a south-west direction. This brings you out at a lane with a very difficult double stile (Grid ref. SJ560747). Turn right along this lane into the village of Kingsley. As you get into the village take the road left, cross over and take the fork right up the slight hill in a south-west direction to a cross-roads (Grid ref. SJ544741). Cross over the main road (B5152) taking the minor road opposite to pass Castlehill Farm. Staying on the road, take the first right and then first left. The road climbs steadily to bring you to Newton. This hamlet consists of a couple of houses and a farm dominated by a very high radio mast - one of two that act as a navigation beacon for planes entering our country. Take the road to the left of the buildings maintaining a north-westerly direction. Where the lane turns right at a corner go straight on following the sandy lane. This leads you down to cross the main road at Shepherds Houses and the onward bridleway into the woods (Grid ref. SJ514755).
Keep to this wide path in the woods, it is joined by a path from the left then climbs up, still in the woods, to Woodhouse Hill. This is the site of a large Iron Age Hill Fort. In the left undergrowth are the foundations of the defensive walls and buildings. Keep straight and slightly left through the woods until you reach the edge. Here you can sit on the bench seat with its commanding views over the M56 to Liverpool with its two cathedrals the Airport and the sea. This must be one of the best views in Cheshire.
Continue with the edge on your left for a short way until you reach the golf course on your right. Turn right, with the fence on your left, then through the fence on to the golf course. There is a notice that you have 'right of way' but I would still watch out for golf balls! Head for the right hand corner of the course, over a stile and up the lane passing Mickledale Farm (Grid ref. SJ517768).
At the road turn left and then over a stile on the right from the road into a field. The path goes straight on following a hedge in a south-east direction. On reaching a road turn right then left along a lane leading to your second radio tower. Go through the gate and follow the hedge to cross a stile on your left. The path goes over this and continues through the woods to a road. Turn left to reach the main road. Turn left again and take the next right (Grid ref. SJ535756). Continue down this lane towards Belleair. Here you keep to the left of the buildings continuing in the same direction across fields to cross a track/road. Keep straight on until you reach the river.
At the River Weaver turn right along the footpath with river on your left. At the caravan site go over the stile into the site, right up the road to the entrance gates then left back down to the river. Continue under Dutton Viaduct to reach the large Dutton Locks system, large enough to take coastal ships up to the salt and chemical factories. Don't cross over but go through the small gate at the end of the lock following the footpath up to Manor Farm and a lane which brings you back to the start.
As of early June 2014 - after the footbridge (SJ 5802 7572) the path is impassable unless you fancy sinking well above your ankles in thick mud! Suggest route be modified by taking the footpath which is on the left as you come under the railway bridge (SJ 5489 7581) and go across the field behind Ash House Farm. Continue along the lane to a point where the lane turns left over the railway. Turn right onto the bridle path (SJ 58887 7540). Continue on the bridle path to a footbridge over a stream. (SJ 5834 7497) Just after the footbridge turn right and cross the field to a stile. (Note this is just past the footbridge sign which is buried in the hedge). Cross the stile and keep heading in the same direction till you come to a lane. (SJ 5800 7513) Turn right onto the lane and follow the lane to Yew Tree Farm (SJ 5775 7538). You are now back on the original route. This diversion will add an extra mile to the walk which has been re-classed as moderate in view of the distance and the difficulty of crossing stiles and fields because of overgrown vegetation in a number of places.