On Sunday I went into Manchester. I took a train to Victoria Station and then went over to the Arndale to pick up a birthday present. Afterwards I went to see an excellent photographic exhibition that had recently opened at the City Art Gallery. I was going to write up the latter on Tuesday, but then Monday night happened. An awful event somewhere I knew and where I used to stand waiting for my daughter to come out of concerts when she was a teenager. It shook me up. The write up will have to wait.
Tuesday was a hot sunny day and I was working in Chester. On the way home I decided stop and to take a walk in Delamere Forest to get some exercise and clear my head. The forest, which is between Chester and Northwich and managed by the Forestry Commission, is Cheshire’s largest area of woodland. I ‘d never really though about going for a walk after work when I’ve been in Chester, usually driving down the stretch of hell that is the Thelwall Viaduct and M6 between Warrington and Wigan at rush hour. But I’d been reading of Mark’s jaunts after work in his blog Beating the Bounds, and thought that I’d follow his example. It was definitely a good idea – thanks for the inspiration Mark !
Delamere, means “forest of the lakes” and it was originally a mixture of woodland, arable land, meres (small lakes), marshes and bogs. The land was drained in the early 19th Century and it was planted with oak and Scot’s pine. It was decided in 1992 to restore Blakemere Moss as a wetland environment, which was achieved by felling trees, clearing the land and allow it to become flooded. Since then efforts have been made to restore other meres and bogs.
It’s quite a few years since I last walked in the forest, before the mosses and bogs were restored. It’s also been commercialised with a Go Ape high ropes course, bike and Segway hire, marked trails, an “extreme” mountain bike trail and even a summer concert venue.
I drove past the Delamere train station(on the line from Altrincham to Chester) and parked up near the cafe. A quick change into my walking gear and I set off for a walk on a very warm, pleasant evening.
Soon I came to Blakemere Moss, now a large area of open water frequented by large flocks of birds.
I carried on through the woodland.
A glimpse of another mere between the trees
Through more woodland and over the railway line and I came to Black Lake.
This restored “quaking bog” is one of Delamere’s two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) . It’s a type of bog in which the vegetation forms a raft which floats on top of water.
Heading back through the forest I came across this resident
I looped past Linmere Moss, the Forest’s other SSI and made my way back to the car park. I’d completed a circuit of about 5 miles and could have stayed out longer, but it was time to head back home. A good walk which had helped me to wind down and de-stress and prepare myself for a long couple of days away from home on Wednesday and Thursday. I think it’s something I need to do more often.