Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here reporting on an afternoon hike around the village of Lymm in Cheshire. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we are still hiking locally. We decided that we would walk some of the Lymm Heritage Trail and to wander off it when the mood suited. Lymm is a pretty village with an approximate population of 12.5k. The centre of the village has numerous pubs and eateries, all of which are still closed due to the pandemic. The weather forecast was for sun and cloud with the odd shower and strong winds.
We parked in Lymm Dam carpark, which was almost full so, we imagined that we would have plenty of company on our hike especially around the dam. Lymm dam was built for Lord Leverhulme in 1824 when the turnpike road was constructed linking Warrington and Stockport. It was used originally to provide power for local industry. Today it is popular with walkers and anglers.
Before we reached the lake formed by the dam we had a quick look around the exterior of St. Mary’s Church. A church was on this site when the Doomsday Book was written but the current one was constructed in 1850 from local sandstone. War graves can be found in the churchyard dating to the two great wars along with 175 plague victims from 1652.
From the church we walked down the sandy footpath to the lakeside to join the Lymm Heritage Trail. We were correct, there was a lot of people walking around the dam. It is a pretty place with plenty of benches to sit and watch the waterfowl on the lake. Crows were cawing in the beeches and oaks that lined the footpath. We saw swans, ducks, geese and moorhens on the water and we were treated to the sight of a heron flying around the lake. Carps were jumping in the lake causing ripples to radiate from their landing points.
The walk was interspersed by lengths of boardwalk with angling points dotted along the lakeside. We passed Wishing Bridge and then crossed the water over Crosfield Bridge onto The Avenue before we continued along the opposite side of the lake. As we walked, we made way for people maintaining social distancing. It is strange how this has become the norm now when walking along footpaths. We chose to walk along the lakeside path as it seemed less popular than the upper path. Between the trees we were gifted good views of St. Mary’s across the lake.
On several occasions I wanted to have a paddle in the water but, my human was a bit wary because of the number of lakes in the area that contain blue-green algae. He wasn’t sure if this one was safe, so I wasn’t allowed in the water. We had an awkward moment when my lead became tangled in in another dog’s lead while we circled as we sniffed each other. My dad was trying to socially distance himself from the other dog’s owner and I laughed, internally, while he struggled. Humans can be incredibly clumsy at times.
On leaving the lakeside walk we crossed the A56, next to Lymm Bridge, to enter a densely wooded area called The Dingle, by way of an ornate wrought iron arch. The path follows the route of Sitten Brook to the Lower Dam in the centre of the village. Ducks were basking in the sunshine along the Lower Dam wall. We turned left over Eagle Brow to walk into a short road called The Grove. At this point there is a display housing a ‘Dinosaur Footprint’.
My dad said that we should have a short break before we moved on so, he sat on a bench while he gave me some water and a few treats. He ate a banana and complained that he needed a coffee. I thought that if he needed a coffee then he should have brought one with him. He shared my water instead. He didn’t drink out of my bowl for some reason. I don’t mind sharing with him but, he seems to be a bit over fussy about sharing. His loss!
We walked up the hill through the village to The Cross. The original cross was constructed in the 17th century with the current one being a Queen Victoria diamond jubilee memorial. It is the only Grade I Listed building in the Warrington area. Sitting on a carved sandstone base it rises above the replica village stocks that replaced the original ones dated 1775.
We crossed the Bridgewater Canal after we passed the Bull’s Head and Golden Fleece pubs. Instead of turning left to continue along The Heritage Trail, we turned right to walk along the Canal Bank. This path enabled me to run off-lead for a while and was virtually deserted, unlike the path around Lymm Dam. The banks of the Bridgewater are lined with some lovely cottages, apartments and houses with views over the water. Narrowboats lined the moorings along the canal and in the wharf, undergoing repairs and refurbishment.
When we reached Oughtrington Bridge, we crossed the canal to walk along Oughtrington Lane toward the church. Opposite Lymm High School is St. Peter’s Church with its huge spire, standing on the eastern outskirts of Lymm. Built in 1872, in the Gothic Revivalist style from grey sandstone, it is Grade II listed. It has been said that the spire is too large for the building but, it certainly dominates the skyline for miles around.
Shortly after we passed the church, we turned off the road onto a track through wheat fields. The wind was in our faces at this point. My dad said that I had ‘quarter to three’ ears as the wind blasted us. We watched the waves formed by the wind in the fields of wheat and we could see some ominous looking rain clouds heading our way.
The footpath joined the streets on the outskirts of the village after passing large playing fields. We soon reached the A56 by St. Mary’s where we crossed and dropped down to the lakeside again. We passed a sandstone outcrop under the trees before we climbed the sand covered wooden steps back to the carpark.
It had been a pleasant couple of hours in a pretty village while the sun was still shining. The bad weather had held off and had been kind to us. Till next time!