Whitley WI Walking Group (WI members only)

Our Walking Group usually meet on the Tuesday following the main meeting. Members can join at Whitley Village Hall at 10 am, or at the walk start point – please look on the calendar to check details.
Ann O’Brien leads the group and always finds an interesting walk for us, usually around 4 miles.

We walk at a leisurely pace and there is always the opportunity for lunch at the end of the walk. Members who aren’t able to join the walk are always welcome to come along just for lunch. Please make sure you let Ann know if you are coming and whether you will be at the Village Hall or start point so we know who to expect – there is always a sign up sheet at the main meeting.

Our Next Walk

Watch this space for news of our next walk, due to take place on Tuesday 9th April

Recent walks

After a very wet February when our walk had to be cancelled, Ann decided to take the group on to much ‘better’ surfaced paths around Appleton. Even there the paths were fairly wet after overnight rain so caution was needed.

There is always lots to see around the Pewterspear area – with drifts of daffodils coming out everywhere and some early blossom. Thanks to Sue for sharing her local knowledge of the area. Lunch at the Cat & Lion was enjoyed at the end of the walk – with the weather much better than recently.

On a lovely bright but somewhat chilly Tuesday morning in January twelve lady walkers enjoyed a section of the Whitegate Way which was an originally an old railway line that has been transformed into a pleasant place to stroll or ride which stretches for six miles from the heart of Winsford to Cuddington.

We started from the car park at Whitegate station and headed towards Winsford passing many people stepping out in the sunshine. The Way offers easy walking for all ages with varied routes off the main path. Shaded wooded cuttings contrast with open embankments offering spectacular views across the Cheshire countryside. We eventually came to a seat and after a fitting photo we retraced our steps back and had a lovely lunch at the Station House Cafe were we were looked after extremely wel

December 2023 – Christmas Lunch at Ann’s house

The Walking group took a break from the great outdoors and had a wonderful Christmas gathering, hosted by our leader Ann. We each brought a contribution to our shared table, Ann was the perfect hostess and we finished off with a very enjoyable game of charades. Thanks so much to Ann for a lovely afternoon.

November 2023 – Moore Nature Reserve – cancelled because of the weather

October 2023 – Neumann’s Flash

On a lovely autumn morning with weather more like a summers’ day we set off to walk in the woodlands in Marbury Park alongside the Budworth Mere. Although we were walking on some fallen leaves in places most of the trees still had their full complement of leaves, some starting to change colour.

We made our way to the Trent and Mersey Canal going over the bridge and turning left on our way to Neumann’s Flash going along paths with Dairy House Meadows on the right.

On reaching our destination we came across ducks, swans and their cygnets on the water. After going to the nearby hide we started our way back walking between an avenue of silver birches. We had a lovely walk of approx 7 km then a well earned lunch at the Stanley Arms.

July 2023 – Runcorn – “Walking in Sunshine” . . . not quite

Think of Runcorn and for most people the initial thought is of the intensity of the chemical industry along the banks of the river Mersey. Look closer and you will realise that the history and geography of the area has resulted in major areas of beauty which members of the public can access.

For their July walk, members of Whitley WI headed to the parkland area of Runcorn Hill Park and Nature Reserve. Rising above the town, Runcorn Hill is a unique combination of Formal Park and Local Nature Reserve in the heart of industrial Runcorn.

Once extensively used for quarrying, the WI members noted the huge sandstone walls within the quarry, as well as taking a selfie picture besides a ‘bogie’ truck. Walking through the woodlands and scrub lined paths, they eventually reached the top of the hill where its elevation gave spectacular views to the Welsh Mountains, the Mersey Estuary and North Cheshire.

Interestingly the park includes the largest area of lowland heath in North Cheshire. Our members enjoyed the unique mosaic of habitats. Broom bushes were in abundance, resplendent with ‘pods’ of seeds, some being black and some being white and hairy. At a few locations there were areas of sand …. Whitley WI wrote their name in the sand!

Wandering back down, a tree was noted that was a shrine to many dogs that must have enjoyed their local walks, had recently passed away, although their memories live on.

Finally, after escaping the promised rain, all WI walks end with a coffee and a lunch. Runcorn Park Café was a busy and most suitable venue, to share thoughts with happy chatter.

Thank You to Ann for her reconnaissance and leadership.

June 2023 – Anderton Nature Reserve

What a lovely day to go for a walk! This is what a lot of members of Whitley WIs walking group thought as they took the short journey to visit the Anderton Nature Park. They were not disappointed. The sun shone as they entered the park through several pillars decorated with dragonflies.

The path took them through a wooded area. past a bench with various sculptures and into an open wildflower meadow. This was in full bloom, buttercups were nearly waist high, and lots of stops along the way recognising various species, and wondering what the others were. One was definitely recognised as hemlock.

The main track then led them to Marbury Brook which they crossed via a footbridge surrounded by trees. Eventually they reached Witton Brook, which is a very reedy tributary of the river Weaver. Shallow steps then led all to a path alongside the river Weaver. Lots of old rusted pipelines a reminder of the former salt chemical industry of which Cheshire is famous for. After passing several fishing stages, it was time to picnic! Lunch was enjoyed in the fresh air with lots of chatter. Then back to the car park via The Anderton Boat lift…an ice cream stop for many. In conclusion, great company, sunshine, a very pretty and varied walk woodland, meadows and riverbanks. What more could you ask for?

May 2023 – A walk around Glazebrook

Having parked towards the back end of Bents Garden Centre car park 9 walkers headed along a right of way path towards Windy Bank Woods. On reaching Jennets Lane we turned right and crossed a bridge over Glaze Brook where we reached a tarmac road. Turning right we continued along between two fenced fields, cows on one side and sheep with their lambs on the other.

The walk was very varied meandering on the paths in the woodland, passing ponds and seeing lots of long grasses and many wild flowers in the meadows. The pathways were very good only a few areas that had muddy places.
After our walk most of us could not resist going into Bents for a well earned sweet treat in their restaurant.
Thanks to Melanie for the suggestion and leading the walk where we all agreed it was well worth the journey from Whitley.

April 2023 – A walk around Whitley

The walking group had a lovely sunny walk around Whitley, crossing fields behind St Luke’s church and heading across to Little Merryfall before returning via Back lane. We rounded off the morning with coffee and a chocolate Easter nest at the village hall just as the April showers started! Thanks to Melanie for volunteering to lead this walk and give Ann a well earned rest.

March 2023 – A Walton Walk

The Garden Interest Group and the Walking Group combined in March and 13 members met to enjoy a walk around Walton Gardens.  On our doorstep for many, but we were impressed by the improvements made in recent years.  It was a glorious Spring Day (though temperature more like winter).  We walked around the pond, through the woods and formal gardens and across the parkland to the small animal farm and the restored Victorian Greenhouse, with lots of Bromeliads which had won a prize at Chelsea. 

The spring bulbs were out, though a return visit in the next few weeks will see lots of daffodils and tulips come into flower.  Trees were just coming into leaf/blossom, so there was some discussion about just what they were. We finished with a drink/light lunch in the Heritage cafe – a lovely social stroll. For more pictures see the Garden group page

Map Links

A selection of useful maps can be seen on the Links/Map Links page.

Walks during 2023

January – Walk cancelled due to adverse weather but lunch was enjoyed!
February – The Whitegate Way with lunch at The Whitegate Station House Cafe
March – Walton Hall & Gardens
April –
May –
June –
July –
August –
September –
October –
November –
December –

A few walks from previous years:

Walks during 2022

February – Moore Nature Reserve with lunch at The Stag Inn, Walton
March – The Whitegate Way with lunch at The Plough
April – Dunham Massey was cancelled due to weather, lunch at The Partridge
May – Little Budworth Common with lunch at The Red Lion
June – Little Budworth Common with lunch at Tarporley Garden Centre
July – Tarvin (Little Switzerland) with lunch at The Vale Royal Abbey Arms
August – Anderton Boat Lift (led by Pat Sharp) with lunch at The Stanley Arms
September – Blakemere Trail with lunch at Delamere Station Cafe
October – River Weaver and canal walk with lunch at The Leigh Arms
November – no walk
December – a walk around Whitley with lunch at the Hatton Arms

January 2019 – Whitegate Way

Our January walk on a bright cold and sunny day took us along the Whitegate Way.

The old railway station

We started at the old railway station which is now a coffee shop and walked North West along the old disused railway line to just past Kennel Lane Bridge.

Afterwards the eight walkers were joined by three other WI members for lunch at the Plough at Whitegate.

A very enjoyable walk to blow the cobwebs away after the excesses of the festive season. Once again thanks to Ann for organising both the walk and the good weather.

December 2018 – Great Budworth

Beautiful Great Budworth in the winter sunshine

A bit of morning drizzle mist, didn’t deter the dozen members of Whitley WI who eagerly met for the December Walk or was it the chance to choose our lunch at The George And Dragon in the beautiful village of Great Budworth before we set off?

Our group tramped and trudged through winter fields, squelched our way through gate ways, and climbed over monster styles.

High up enjoying the views… we can just see Budworth Church

The views were stunning and happy chatter accompanied the great feeling of being outside in the fresh air. The route was changed several times when areas got boggy, and alternative ways were found. Ann’s map helped with this, as did Rita’s extensive knowledge of the area.

This road really was closed!

Whitley WI walkers are never beaten…. that’s what we always thought! So seeing a sign saying “Road Closed”, we paid no attention… however this road really was closed. It had been undermined by the local badgers, and construction workers were digging a hole to make a permanent badger tunnel…. so we headed back, and finding a gate to climb over (not very elegantly) we all made it safely back to the car park and lunch at the George and Dragon.

The long walk back

The end of a splendid year of walks, and all thanks to Ann for her untiring commitment to researching walks, making  sure we enjoy a huge variety of different Cheshire areas.

Belonging to Halton Borough Council, Daresbury Firs is community woodland in the heart of The Mersey Forest. It was designed to balance wildlife and recreation value with timber production… as well as looking stunning in the sunshine of this brilliant October day.

This is where Whitley WI started their walk, led by volunteer leader Rita…. Where was Ann?

I’ll not tell you she was cruising!

The Bridgwater Canal was reached, with its many hump-backed bridges. Other groups were enjoying the weather and we waved as they floated past on a canal barge….Thinks!! ”May be our walking group should hire one and wave at other walkers”… An idea for the future.

Views all around showed off England’s Green and Pleasant Land to perfection.

Around the corner we noticed hundreds of ducks and swans…the reason was soon revealed… A lovely lady, with a matching smile, was feeding these birds. They obviously knew her, and she explained that she goes there every day, with a shopping-trolley full of bird food…spending far more on the birds than on herself. It was delightful to chat to this lady, who happily agreed to have her photo taken with us and the birds…her smile was even broader after this unexpected encounter.

The walk continued back towards Daresbury Village, through the fields that six weeks previously, had been the supper muddy “Creamfield’s Music Festival”. The grass had regrown… nature does repair itself, and the munching sheep were suitably happy.

Thanks this month go to Rita for sourcing a truly interesting walk, as well as booking the Ring O’Bells for an enjoyable lunch to finish off the morning.

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