Anderton to Marston

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Eighteen walkers met at the Stanley Arms in Anderton, where we’d started and finished the last walk. As on that walk the staff let us use the facilities and order our meals before we set off. The weather didn’t look promising with grey skies, but the rain held off. We crossed the bridge towards the Anderton Boat Lift but turned on to the Trent and Mersey Canal towpath and headed north. Shortly, we passed a sluice and once we left the noise of the running water behind, it became eerily quiet apart from the sound of our footsteps. There was no wind and not a ripple on the water. Overhanging trees flanked the towpath and after a bend to the right, we came upon Uplands Marina on the far bank. Within a few yards we had to cross a bridge as the marina extended to both sides of the canal. After a double bend, the canal had dense trees on both sides but the lack of views was lessened by the spotting of a sparrow hawk perched on a branch of one of the trees. Soon the far bank lost the trees and we had views over open farmland. The skies were brightening as we reached bridge 193 and after passing under it, we left the canal and had a drinks break in the cafe of the Lion Salt Works. The salt works was one of the last open pan salt mines until it closed in 1986. It’s now open as a museum. Suitably refreshed we set off through the village of Marston and entered Ashton’s and Neumann’s Flashes, part of the Northwich Woodlands. We were now in sunshine as we circled round to pass the edge of the Neumann’s Flashes with views across the lake. Turning left we passed Haydn’s Pool (formerly known by the less exotic sounding “Marbury No.1 Sludge Bed”) and followed Witton Brook which eventually joined the River Weaver. What looked at first like a slipway into the river on the far side turned out to be the foredeck of a sunken barge. We kept to the riverbank on the edge of Anderton Nature Park, passing over two wooden foot bridges then making our way up, away from the river past the boat lift and back to the pub. We were ready for our food and drink and were served by name by the friendly and efficient staff. Thanks to Anne and Sheila for organising. Looking forward to our last one of the year next time.

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