Distance: 1.6km/1 miles and 8km/5 miles
Time: 30 mins–1 hour and 2-3 hours
Start: Both walks start at bottom car park adjacent to Swan Inn PH. Parking also available at Red Lion PH.
Map: OS Explorer 257
Terrain: Country lanes and public footpaths. Terrain uneven in places.
Barriers: Approximately 26 stiles.
Come and enjoy these 1.6km (1 mile) and 8km (5 miles) circular walks along country lanes and public footpaths. For both walks start in the bottom car park next to the Swan Inn in Wybunbury.
The route takes you through quiet, rural Cheshire along footpaths and country lanes through the patchwork landscape of several ancient parishes.
Local parish names show the strong tradition of farming in the area. Walgherton was Wealhere’s farm, Hatherton was Hawthorn farm or enclosure, and Lea was a clearing.
Wybunbury was known as ‘Wigbeorn’s stronghold’ and was an important Christian centre in Saxon times. The church of St Chad dates back to the 7th century. The famous leaning tower, built in 1470, has been straightened several times. It is 120 feet high and is all that remains of the church which in its heyday could hold 1,600 people. However, the body of the church was demolished in 1976 due to subsidence.
Thee remains of two medieval moated houses can be seen in fields near to the church. These were ‘safe houses’ for visiting clergy from Lichfield.
From the footpath you can look over Wybunbury Moss National Nature Reserve, a very special wildlife area. The Moss lies within a hollow left at the end of the last ice age, but salt subsidence has since played a part. Rare plants that live in this unusual but dangerous mossland habitat include sundew, bog asphodel and bog rosemary. During the summer, look out for colourful dragonflies hunting along the pathways as you walk around the Moss.
The boggy area at the west end of the Moss is all that remains of Tomwall Well or Town Well. This supplied drinking water to the north end of the village, in the Middle Ages.
The A51 was once a turnpike road from London to Chester. The Crown Inn at Nantwich was the last staging post on the northward journey where the horses were changed.
Wybunbury Brook is another special landscape and wildlife feature. The water is of high quality and is stocked with Brown Trout. At one time the brook was used as a source of power for corn milling and iron production.
Over 500 tons of wrought iron were produced by the charcoal firing and puddling process in 1717. The Doddington Iron Company made steel and specialised in hammers, axe heads and anvils. This foundry manufactured tie beams to hold Audlem church together after earthquake damage in 1777.
There are fine views over Jubilee Pool back towards the church and the Peckforton Hills beyond.
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