Today’s walk was something a little different, rather than majestic mountain ranges and vast vistas, the views would be of aircraft….lots of aircraft.
At 9.30am, I parked up in the Styal country park/Quarry bank mill car park. According to the website the car parking charges are £5*, however, when I arrived the booth was unmanned and I parked for free.
After a quick scout round in case there was a Pay and Display machine hidden away, I left the car park the same way I drove in then, taking a road to my left, headed North, with the Quarry Bank Apprentice House to the left.
I spent a little bit of time looking around this part of Styal which was built in the late 1700s by Samuel Greg for those working at his mill.
After passing the two churches, I headed in to Styal Woods and on to the North Cheshire Way.
I later discovered the North Cheshire Way is a Long Distance Path (71 miles) starting near my home in Wirral, past the airport and on to Disley Station in the Peak District. Might be one to complete in the future!
This part of the route is a pleasant woodland walk following and occasionally crossing the River Bollin. There is a fairly steep climb up the steps to cross the river at Giant’s Castle Bridge.
Emerging from the trees, passing a field of cows, I could here the distinctive noise of a couple of jet engines powering up. Up until now, it was difficult to visualise a large, international airport was just the other side of the trees.
I must admit my aviation nerdyness got the better of me and I did leave the path, waking up a grassy embankment to take a look over Runway 2 05R/23L. Unfortunately all aircraft movement was on the far runway, Runway 1, 05L/23R but I still got some great views of the departing aircraft (unfortunately, arriving aircraft were just a bit too far away).
Returning to the North Cheshire Way, I continued until I reached a roundabout.
To the right is a dual carriage way passing underneath the runway, however, the route continues almost straight across this fairly busy road.
The raised grass section just off the road looks over towards the airport and is a good spot for photos.
Continuing along part of the walk allows you to get right up close to the runway, albeit from the other side of a high metal fence.
The path passes around one of the airport’s fire station and follows along the entire length of the runway.
The path swings round to the opposite side of the runway. There are no views of the runway on this part of the walk but you do have departing aircraft fying just a few feet over head at the location marked ‘1’ on my route map
The path joins a quiet road which continues in the direction of the runway before crossing the River Bollin. I took a right, following the river through the tunnel , beneath the runway.
This brought me out near the fire station and I retraced my steps back towards the roundabout on the main road, however, rather than return following the river I stayed closer to the perimeter fence, climbing an embankment to look right across the airport.
The runway path stopped at Altrincham Road which I followed in to Styal, a picturesque village with thatched cottages and cosy pubs.
After taking a right on to Styal Road, I took the footpath at the end of Holts Lane back to Quarry Bank Mill.
The GPX file for this 9.5 mile/15km walk is available to download
* Prices August 2016