Plemstall and the Gowy Marshes
Last updated 11th November 2010
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This is a lovely short walk of 2½ miles (4 km) for a fine clear day, when you will be able to see for miles around and enjoy the big skies. It leads from Little Barrow on its hill across the open expanses of the Gowy Marshes (traversed by the tranquil River Gowy) to the ancient church of St. Peter in Plemstall and back by a different route. It is located entirely in peaceful, not to say isolated, countryside that will be of great interest to bird fanciers and local historians. The route is mainly level and is a mixture of hard surfaces, crop fields, paths and nice firm grass. A few parts can be muddy, so waterproof walking boots are advisable. Much of the way is clearly marked by Cheshire County Council's waymarkers. I am indebted to Tony Bowerman's book Walks in Mysterious Cheshire and Wirral as the source of this walk.

The relevant Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Explorer map is No. 266. For further information on the locations visited, click on the images.

Detailed mapping and satellite photography for this walk courtesy of Bing Maps
Printer friendly page for this walk (no photos)

Start in the centre of Little Barrow by the Foxcote Manor pub [1] (closed down when I was last there). There are a few parking places on the roadside. Head down the sunken lane opposite the pub, which descends between sandstone outcrops. Near the bottom there is a gate on the right [2] with a good view north. Opposite the gate is a steep flight of stone steps. Go up the steps and across the field, keeping to the hedge on the right. Along here [3] there are superb views over the Gowy marshes to the Clwydian Hills in Wales.

Follow the hedge down the hill where it turns to the right. At the bottom of the hill [4], turn left onto the narrow, overgrown and ancient track known as Ferma Lane. The path turns right and then slightly left at a field boundary. A short way along, turn right through a large gate into the field [5].

Ahead you come to a crossing made of railway sleepers that goes over a drainage ditch. Walk over this and go straight ahead across the field, making for a low concrete wall in the distance and the buildings of Holme Farm beyond. By the wall you will reach the tranquil River Gowy [6]. It is a lovely spot, from where you can look back to Little Barrow on its hill. Head off to the right along the river bank.

You soon come to a bridge over the Gowy [7]. Cross over this and head across the field to a stile by Holme Farm [8]. Go among the farm buildings and then follow the road right to the railway line. Cross carefully (this is an unmanned crossing) and follow the road round to St Peter's Church in Plemstall [9]. This is a beautiful old building, much of it dating from the 15th century rebuilding. Take time to explore the atmospheric graveyard and do not miss the curious 14th century tomb at the back.

Leave the church and follow the road straight ahead to a bridge over a brook. Just on the other side is St. Plegmund's Well [10], allegedly dating back to the time of King Alfred (849-899). Return to the church and follow the road that you came in on to the right. As soon as the hedge on the left runs out, turn left along the left-hand side of a field to a bridge over the Gowy [11]. Go over this and cross the next field, keeping the drainage ditch on your left. There is a nice view back over the marshes to the church. You eventually cross another bridge [12] and bear slightly to the left.

You soon reach another ancient track [13] known evocatively as Wildmoor Lane. Turn right along this and go past the nurseries [14] to reach the main road back up to Little Barrow. Follow this, passing Barrow Lodge [15] on the right. Go over the railway bridge and note the disused Tarvin and Barrow Station [16] on the right.

Continue up the hill past the old Methodist chapel on the left (now a private house) to reach the starting point of the walk.