Hello again people and pooches. It’s Joe the Cocker here reporting on another walk from our front door during the Covid-19 restrictions. We recently walked and reported on a trip to Norton Priory so on this little outing we decided to visit Norton Village. The village is close to Norton Priory but, just a little too far to combine the two places in one walk with the limitations laid down by the government. So, it was on another warm and sunny April day that we set off with our bag of treats, to walk to Norton. Our bag of treats consists of a couple of Penguins for the big feller and a few Markies for me, with a bottle of water to share. Not exactly a feast but, enough for a short walk.
The way that we chose to walk to Norton Village took us through Halton Village. We have written a blog about this area recently, so we won’t repeat the description of the walk. Once we had walked the length of Main Street we turned left at the junction with Norton Lane. We followed the lane for a short distance until its termination at the entrance to the Town Park. The sprawling parkland contains wooded areas, grassy meadows, a sports complex with dry ski slopes and a miniature ride-on railway. It is a pretty country / urban park that is well maintained and popular with the local residents. We walked along the old Norton Lane, that is nowadays closed to traffic, until we came to St. Bertaline’s Wood. The Woodland Trust maintained area is an old part of the Mersey Forest that is a haven for many of our indigenous tree species including oak, sycamore, horse chestnut, birch and beech, among others. As usual, it was the grey squirrels that attracted my attention. The little tree rats always manage to stay one step ahead of me. One day, one day!
‘Good Day Sunshine’ by the Beatles rang out from my dads annoying vocal chords. I wish that he could only bark like me. However, it is fortunate that I can communicate the words that I want him to type for these blogs!
At the end of the lane we came to houses in the relatively new development of Norton Cross that were constructed in the 1970’s. Immediately after passing a small children’s playground we turned right along a footpath. We crossed over a small brook via a wooden footbridge to follow a wide green avenue with the iconic Norton Water Tower at the head. The tower is a landmark that can be seen for miles around. This red sandstone cylindrical tower was built between 1888 and 1892 as a balancing reservoir for the Runcorn and Liverpool areas. It is supplied directly from Lake Vyrnwy, 80 miles away in North Wales. The top of the tower contains 650,000 gallons of water and is 30 metres tall. If you have ever driven through this area of Cheshire on the motorways you will have seen this Grade II listed structure from many directions standing proudly on the top of Norton Cross.
Before we reached the top of the green avenue it was zoomies time for me. I was off-lead for a while so I could have a good sniff around in the long grass at the sides of the wide grassy avenue. I found a discarded plastic water bottle that I ran with and crunched in my teeth. I loved the feel of freedom off the lead and enjoyed my mad ten minutes. We turned left at the head of the green avenue into Norton Cross and then right onto Norton Lane again. We soon arrived at Norton Village on our left. The village is now engulfed in the new town area although the one road, named Norton Village, still retains its charm. Being only a few hundred yards long it contains a mix of the old and the new. An early 18th century building stands in the middle of Norton Village called Norton Lodge and is Grade II listed. The charming Old Coach House is a few doors further down the road. The road manages to retain its village ambience even though it is surrounded by newer houses.
We left the village on the right and crossed over Windmill Hill Avenue before dropping down a footpath to the Bridgewater Canal. This would take us most of our way home on the well maintained towpath. We passed the grounds of Norton Priory on our right along with Big Wood and skirted by Phoenix Park on our left. It is a nice and gentle walk with swans, geese, moorhens and the odd heron adding to the beauty of the canal itself. The cherry trees are in bloom and with the weather being so pleasant it made for an easy walk. We were passed by a few people exercising on their bikes and others walking toward us. Everyone was giving others a wide berth due to the social distancing measures but, saying ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ as we passed each other. I think that people are avoiding petting dogs because I don’t seem to be getting the attention that I usually get. Maybe it’s because I am starting to look like a Black Bear with my long coat. I’m not sure. Till next time people.