Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Sankey Valley, Cheshire - Part 1.

Sunday was the kind of day where a walk was needed after lunch. My Mother-in-Law made a huge roast dinner, and even though I ate every morsel (it was delicious!) I really did feel like I needed to hibernate for a few months afterward. It didn't help that the weather was a little feisty and the wind was incredibly strong - the tail end of Storm Imogen rattled the Pennines and I had to endure commuting back over them to Bradford before the day was done.


Because of this hibernation urge, we decided to go for a walk instead. The area will be local to me in a few weeks anyway, and how better to get to know the area than a lazy Sunday stroll? The story behind this area is that the canal that ran beside the town has been.. Well. Partially filled in, as you'll see later on in the post. This area hasn't been filled, and you can walk beside it towards St Helens or the opposite way - towards Warrington. You can view where we started on the map below, and if you want to follow our route you can do so by following the 'Sankey Valley Trail' which is marked close to the .


We headed towards Warrington. Mike used to run this route when he was younger, so he was incredibly familiar with the area - pointing out lots of local landmarks that held a lot of childhood memories for him.





This is where our stroll started. Its a lock (I think!) that has been filled in, aside from the small amount of water you see flowing over the waterfall pictured. It was built in 1868, and although I'm unsure of the time it was filled in, the plaque commemorating its opening is still there. The local wildlife seem to enjoy it here - we interrupted a family of swans all feeding!




Some of the local fauna - I have a little bit of a fascination with wild mushrooms. They terrify me (because hello, fungus) and intrigue me completely. Whenever we go out wandering with the camera I have to make sure we get a photograph!


See? I'm terrible, when walking in woods you can almost always find me trying to capture the image of a toadstool because they're the pinnacle of awesome fungi.. That's a phrase I didn't expect to ever make it onto my blog!

The picture below is one of Mikes landmarks. Apparently, as a child in the 80's/90's it was great fun to ride in a rubber dingy down this patch of water. I'd have been absolutely terrified, but he assured me it wasn't that deep and that was the only patch of water that got a little scary. Another 'game' was to walk over the beams above the water. None of those sound remotely fun to me, but maybe that's because of my irrational phobia of fish? When I was young, it was all about tree houses and mud and dens - not risking my life, nor securing a rubber dingy to do so.




Further down the path, you can see it starts to open up and quickly become much more rural. At this point, the canal has stopped. Its been filled in and covered in scrub. The pathway was actually bustling with people who all had the same idea as us, working off those Sunday lunches. There were lots of dog walkers on this route, some with dogs who were only just getting used to being on the lead - so keep that in mind if you come down here for a wander yourself.





Above you can see where a lock once was, the wooden gate still there and half buried in the soil they filled everything in with! This really confounded me as I didn't see why they should leave half a gate just.. Stuck out of the ground, but I guess if they didn't I wouldn't have it to photograph and feature!
Hopefully we'll be walking more of this route when I'm wearing better footwear - I did this in wellies and I still have painful blisters - so you'll be exploring more of Sankey Valley with us as we extend our wanderings (I wonder if walking wellies are a thing?). Not long after we managed to get back to the car in the stormy weather, I had to leave to the station which is always very emotional. No pictures of that I'm afraid. The countdown has begun for the move over the hills though - 10 more days to go!
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