Willington and Primrose Hill
Last updated 5th March 2013
 Home Page: merseyWalks       Home Page: allertonOak      

This pleasant 6 mile (10 km) ramble around the beautiful and peaceful Cheshire countryside has the added bonus of starting and finishing at the Boot Inn in Willington, one Cheshire's finest pubs with some of the best pub food you will find. Refreshments may also be available towards the end of the walk, subject to opening times, at Summertrees Tea Room. The route is on well-defined footpaths that may be muddy in places, broad forest tracks and a few stretches of quiet country lane. Some sort of walking boots would be advantageous. There is a total of 600 ft (180 m) of gentle ascent and the way skirts the Iron Age Kelsborrow Castle and several deep combes caused by glacial action, including Boothsdale (also known as Little Switzerland) and the noteworthy Urchin's Kitchen. Information on the Boot Inn's website, which I duly acknowledge, helped me construct this walk.

The relevant Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Explorer map is No. 267. 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 at the car park of the Boot Inn [1] and follow the road that runs in front of it. Where this bends to the left, take the track straight ahead. At a farmer's gate, follow the footpath that forks off to the left. This comes out onto a road (Gooseberry Lane), at which you take a sharp left. Soon a footpath diverges off to the left and rises up the side of Boothsdale. At the top of Boothsdale, the path turns to the left and goes up some steps, where there is a nice view back down the valley.

At the end of this path a kissing gate leads to more open country. Immediately on the left are the remains of the ditch and embankments of the Iron Age Kelsborrow Castle [2]. Follow the path across the fields to a crossroads by some houses. Go straight across and turn right when you reach Waste Lane. This passes Delamere Farm and curves to the right and then a forest track goes off to the left at King's Gate [3] signposted Delamere Loop.

Follow the track to enter Primrose Hill Wood and reach a crossing of the ways. Follow the Sandstone Trail to the right signed Beeston and Whitchurch and a short way along on the left look out for a sign on the left pointing to the Urchin's Kitchen [4]. This is a short detour to an atmospheric little rocky ravine. Return to the main path and continue east. Where the forest track takes a clear course downhill to the left, follow the much less distinct path up the hill straight ahead. This soon reaches the fence of a farming enclosure [5] (Primrose Hill House). Follow the path around the boundary, first north and then east, with a nice view towards Hangingstone Hill in the north. At the north-east corner of the farmland, keep straight ahead to Harrow Hill [6], another crossing of the ways, where you turn right. The path eventually turns right to reach the entrance to Primrose Hill House. Follow the road to the left here to reach Tirley Hollow [7], where it takes a right and goes uphill. At a T-junction with another farm entrance, go left to reach the crossroads on Tirley Lane.

Follow Tirley Lane to the right past the entrance to Tirley Garth estate (sometimes open to the public). Just past this, take the footpath downhill on the left, signposted John Street, that follows the western boundary of the estate. You can glimpse the house [8] along the way. The path comes out onto the road to Rough Ground Farm and then John Street, where you turn right. Eventually you see the Sandstone Trail coming in from the left. Just past this, opposite Rock Farm, follow the Sandstone Trail to the right, signposted Delamere Forest.

Follow the trail gently uphill through fine open countryside until you come out on Tirley Lane by a pond on the left. Follow the lane to the left, where it takes an immediate left turn by Summertrees Tea Room [9]. A little way along at Waste Lane, go left again. Follow the lane steeply down the hill past Roughlow Farm and Pearl Hole [10] on the left. In front of you at the bottom is Willington Fruit Farm [11], where you turn right into Goosberry Lane. You soon reach the footpath on the left that leads back to the Boot Inn. You have now officially earned an excellent pint or two.