Delamere Forest & Old Pale Hill

Blakemere Moss

An easy to moderate walk ascent up a small hill for views to seven counties, then a descent to explore the delights of Delamere Forest the largest woodland in Cheshire. This walk takes advantage of the hourly train service from Manchester to Chester. The railway station dropping off in the centre of the forest at the start of the walk. An abundance of wildlife buzzes around the forest that is full of birds, bees, dragonflies, butterflies. The route takes a suprisingly easy ascent up Old Pale Hill before dropping down through meadows to Eddisbury Lodge and then in to the enchanting Delamere Forest itself. The end of the walk takes you around the incredible Blakemere Moss, a constantly changing large bog that is home to colonies of gulls and many other bird species. En route through the forest you will visit a rare Quaker Bog known as Black Lake, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to a rare species of Dragonfly. It is a great place to go during winter for solitude and atmosphere, but even greater in summer when the path sides and meadows are beaming with colour from hundreds of wild flowers.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from Delamere railway station at grid reference SJ 555 703. There are regular trains both ways every hour between Manchester and Chester.
  2. If you are getting to the start of the walk by car then from the Knutsford junction of the M6, junction nineteen, head west along the A556 towards Northwich. Travel for twelve miles until you reach the junction with the A49.
  3. Cross this junction staying on the A556 for just over another mile until you reach a junction with the B5152. Here turn right to head north and you will reach the car parks by Delamere railway station after just over a mile.
  4. To start the walk head west from the train station through the car park. At the far end of the car park continue along the path through the wood keeping the railway on your right and the road on your left.
  5. This path will rise up to the road at a railway bridge. Here do not cross bridge, instead cross the road and follow the signs pointing the way of the Visitor Centre and Bike Hire area.
  6. Continue along the road passing the Visitor Centre on the right and then the Bike Hire area on the left. You will also pass the Forestry Commissions depot on the left before eventually reaching the Old Pale Hill car park.
  7. When you reach the Old Pale Hill car park, stick to the road and walk past the car park to its far side. Here turn left and head up the new ascent track to Old Pale Hill.
  8. The ascent track winds its way up an easy ascent. It is a wide stone track at first and has a few picnic and viewpoint benches. The path narrows as it gets higher. It is well worth stopping at times to look behind you, the higher you get the views open up over Delamere Forest.
  9. You will reach the summit of Old Pale Hill sooner than you think. The summit does have three rather ugly transmitter masts, but they don't really affect the experience. The walkers summit which you reach first is at the north end and the messy mast area doesn't need to be visited.
  10. The summit has a brilliant set of standing rocks that point you in the direction of each of the seven counties that are in the circling view. The English counties of Derbyshire, Lancashire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Welsh counties of Denbighshire and Flintshire are all represented by a standing stone. In the centre of the summit platform is the biggest standing stone, representing Cheshire itself.
  11. Around the circumference of the platform there are topographical plaques pointing out all the surrounding summits and noteable features in view such as Moel Famau in the Clwydian Range and Shining Tor the highest point in Cheshire. It is well worth walking around the summit and having a look at the plaques.
  12. To descend from the summit head south west from the summit on a track that splits in two, take the descending track to the right. The track passes through a field then reaches a path coming up from the right.
  13. Turn right along that path now switching back on yourself and heading north. The path descends past birch woodlands and through a few meadows before eventually reaching a road above Eddisbury Lodge.
  14. Turn left along the road until you reach a road junction at the entrance to Eddisbury Lodge. Carry on along the road passing the entrance. After around thirty metres and you will see a footpath on your right.
  15. The path is clearly sign posted as the route of the Sandstone Trail. Head right on to this footpath which is narrow and over grown at first. The path makes its way through a lovely wooded area passing Eddisbury Lodge farm always on the right.
  16. After around two hundred and fifty metres the path reaches a road. Continue north along this road for only around a hundred metres where you will reach a junction of several paths heading in all directions from the road.
  17. Do not continue along the Sandstone Trail route on the road which crosses the railway. Instead take the second path on the left in a north westerly direction.
  18. This path will take you towards Black Lake. To reach Black Lake, after two hundred and fifty metres head left up a small track. Black Lake has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The lake is actually a Quaking Bog famous for being the home of a rare breed of Dragonfly.
  19. Return to the original path after visiting the Black Lake bog. Turn left and continue heading north west to reach the Battleaxe Road track. Turn right along the Battleaxe Road track to cross the railway bridge.
  20. Once over the railway continue along the road. You will round a sharp bend to the right then a sharp bend to the left to join a major track which is the Sandstone Trail route you left earlier.
  21. Continue heading in a north easterly direction on the wide Sandstone Trail route track. You will cross a crossroads of major tracks, here continue straight on until you reach another junction.
  22. At this junction you can go either left on the Sandstone Trail or right on the Delamere Trail. Turn right to head along the Delamere Trail.
  23. The path winds through the forest until it descends to another path junction. Here turn right again sticking to the route of the Delamere Trail. Along most of the forestry tracks, wondering off in to the enchanting forest can be great fun.
  24. The lively, beautiful and ever changing Blakemere Moss is now to the left for the next kilometre and a half of the walk. There are a few spots where you can head left out to its edge though it is dangerously boggy in places. One of the best spots its around grid reference SJ 549 710 where a rib of hard land sticks out in to the waters.
  25. Above you in the trees as you near the end of the kilometre and a half walk along the south shore of the moss you will hear the odd scream. If you look up in the trees you will see the terrifying tree top assault courses of the Delamere Go Ape.
  26. After a kilometre of forestry track you will reach the far eastern end of Blakemere moss. Here head up towards the busy B5152 road. Turn right on a woodland path just a few metres before the road and walk parallel with the road heading south for three hundred metres until you reach the campsite.
  27. At the campsite head back up to the road and walk along the roadside heading south until you reach the train station, back to the start of the walk.
  28. The train station has a small cafe open during most days selling food, drinks and ice cream. If you are after a more substantial option then you can't beat the perfectly situated Carriers Inn by Hatch Mere just a mile north up the B5152.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer 267 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 117 Map Click to buy Circular Walks Along the Sandstone Trail Click to buy Pathfinder Guides Cheshire

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.