Splendid winter sun alongside river
THE city of Chester originated in 79 AD as an important Roman military port and camp, called Deva Victrix.
At that time, the River Dee was deep enough for ocean-going vessels to reach the port.
When the Romans left around 410 AD, it became a civilian settlement.
Today, the city has many historical points of interest to remind us of its past. Chester and the River Dee featured on a recent walk led by Peter Riley, when 14 East Cheshire Ramblers met near the Duke of Westminster’s estate at Eaton Hall for an eight and a half mile walk.
Blue sky and sunshine accompanied us as we followed the River Dee northwards, admiring some beautiful riverside properties, and listening to the sounds of the river – especially the rhythmic splash of oars dipping into the water as several groups of scullers, like us, enjoyed the warm morning sunshine.
Crossing the suspension bridge, known as Queens Park footbridge, we came to Chester’s oldest church, St John the Baptist.
Founded in 689 by Aethelred of Mercia, it became the city’s first cathedral in the 11th century, then a parish church after the Reformation.
Moving on, we saw the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, then walked through the municipal ‘Roman Gardens’ with their archaeological excavations of Roman bathing halls, hypocaust and stunning circular mosaic commemorating the 2010 golden jubilee of the Civic Trust.
Soon we were walking on the city walls, looking down at the quaint, bustling streets below and enjoying the views from our elevated position.
Our route took us past Chester racecourse, the Roodee, amazingly once the site of an important harbour.
After our picnic lunch beside the river opposite the weir, we returned through woodland along ‘The Drive’– the former carriageway for Eaton Hall, and then the pretty estate village of Eccleston.
We completed our walk with a short stroll along the river bank, where we were surprised to see two hardy swimmers braving the wintery water!
Back at the cars, everyone agreed it had been a most interesting and enjoyable walk.
For more details of East Cheshire Ramblers’ programme of weekend and midweek walks go to ramblerseastcheshire. org.uk.
●● Ramblers on Queens Park Footbridge crossing the Dee