Grappenhall to Stockton Heath

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Fourteen walkers met at the Springbrook pub in Grappenhall, where the staff opened up early to let us use the facilities and order our meals for the end of the walk. Ken gave everyone a print out of the route, but most of us were happy to follow Ken and Shirley who had done the recce for us. We crossed the busy A56 Chester Road and then walked through Lindi Avenue and Glebe Avenue before joining the canal towpath at Bellhouse Lane. The towpath was grass with a trodden path along but the overnight rain hadn’t been enough to make it muddy. The canal here, paralleled the A56 with just a hedge between the towpath and road. We were passed by some canal boats and some ducklings and after a couple of miles passed a small marina. At the London Road bridge we stopped for a drinks break. On the oppsite bank was a semi circular set of steps, which, in days gone by, were used by passengers alighting from canal boats when they stopped to change horses at Stockton Quay. This used to be the terminus of the canal with wharves, stables and warehouses. Going under the bridge, we left the canal after passing the marine chandlery, which used to be stables and houses for canal workers. Briefly on the A49 London Road, we soon veered off along Dingleway past St Monica’s Church and then along a path through a housing estate. Crossing Dale Lane we passed through a small copse and then into open fields were met a school party going the opposite way. We got a cheery “Good morning – enjoy your walk” from almost every child. Emerging on to Lumb Brook Road for a short spell, we entered woodland at Grappenhall Heys. The wide path meandered through the woods where we came to some wooden steps and bridge near a pool. Eventually we left the woodland and after a short walk along Broad Lane, we turned in to a field path to Grappenhall Wood. At the start of the path was a carving of a female figure holding a ball. [Haven’t been able to find any information about this carving] We had a group photo here and continued into the wood. As we left the wood, we found ourselves back on the canal, but on Canal Side lane on the other side to the towpath. Following this for a short way, we crossed the canal at Bellhouse Lane and retraced our steps along Glebe Avenue and Lindi Avenue to the Springbrook pub. As we’d already ordered our meals we had a leisurely drink until they were served. A really pleasant day – a lovely walk, the rain held off and most accommodating treatment at the Springbrook. Thanks to Ken and Shirley for organising a great day out.

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