Today Mum, Guinness and I set off for a walk to explore pastures great and new, equipped with a free leaflet by the Cheshire East Rangers.
We started from Alsager and headed along the Saltline. A frequent dog walking route for us. The Saltline can sometimes be as busy as the M6, especially on a warm, sunny bank holiday, however it wasn’t that bad today.
At the end of the Saltline in Hassall Green we passed the pink church and hopped onto the Trent & Mersey Canal, heading towards Sandbach.
On the canal we passed under the M6 and past Malkin’s Bank Golf Course until we reached the fabulous sign that indicates the way to the Wheelock Trail. Forgetting about the M6, there is some stunning Cheshire agricultural countryside along this stretch of the canal, with grazing pastures of cattle and horses and buzzards and swallows flying overhead.
The Saltline is also very pleasant to walk along, under a shady canopy with fields and woodland either side. You can also take an easy detour and pass by Borrow Pit lake which sits alongside the Saltline.
Once on the Wheelock Trail you quickly reach a road to cross. This is the A534 and it is very fast and busy. Get your dog on a short lead and your children close by! The nice Ranger people have put a full fenced gateway on both sides of the road, therefore dogs that are walking ahead of you shouldn’t accidentally wander onto the road. However I wouldn’t take any risks and have your dog on a lead in plenty of time before the crossing.
The Wheelock Trail is noticeably narrower than the Saltline and was much busier; with families, cyclist and joggers galore. This makes sense as the Wheelock Trail runs into Elworth and Sandbach and some large housing estates, so it is a nice indication that people are getting outdoors.
We followed the Wheelock Trail under bridges and alongside a shallow water trench until we reached Sandbach FC, indicating the end, and stopped for lunch.
Then it was time to turn around and head back home!
A lovely walk along a different part of the canal and the Wheelock Trail. Overall it was about 9 miles and at a reasonable pace with snack and lunch breaks, it took us 4 hours. All sections are suitable for off lead walking (with a trained dog of course), but be aware of a few road crosses, neighbouring fields and many cyclists, picnickers and families.