Dee-lightful route on riverside paths
THE East Cheshire Ramblers recently undertook a linear walk with much historical interest between Chester and Holt on the Welsh border, following for part of the way paths alongside the River Dee.
Meeting in Holt, the group started off the day with a coffee stop in a local cafe before visiting the remains of Holt Castle which stands on a plinth of sandstone rock close to the river.
The castle was one of several built by Edward I on the Welsh border and is unusual as it was built in the shape of a pentagon with a tower at each corner.
Rock was cut out surrounding the castle to form a moat with water being supplied by the adjacent River Dee. Later in history the castle formed part of a Royalist stronghold during the first English Civil War but was then taken by the Parliamentarians. The castle was later dismantled with some of the stone used in the building of Eaton Hall.
Nearby, St Chad’s Church was visited to view the damage caused during the First English Civil War, including the musket damage inside the building and the loopholes cut into the wooden door on the northern side which were used by Royalists from within the church to fire at the advancing Parliamentarians.
Crossing the medieval bridge over the River Dee, the party caught the bus into Chester for the walk back alongside the riverside path with a diversion to visit the grand church at Eccleston and here a suitable lunch stop was found.
The River Dee was crossed at the ornate Aldford Iron Bridge. Dating from 1824 the bridge, spanning 50 metres in a single cast iron arch, was designed by Thomas Telford and built by William Hazledine on the instructions of the First Marquis of Westminster.
Leaving the riverside the walk now ran via the attractive and ‘designed’ village of Aldford, dominated by the fine village church of St John, to reach the village of Churton where a path was followed down to the River Dee which led back to Farndon and Holt.
For more details of East Cheshire Ramblers’ programme of weekend and midweek walks ranging from four to 15 miles in length, go to ramblerseastcheshire. org.uk.