These are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Cheshire’s popular Sandstone Trail.
Where is the Sandstone Trail?
The Sandstone Trail is in northwest England, in the UK, and runs roughly north to south across the counties of Cheshire and northern Shropshire, between the picturesque, historic market towns of Frodsham and Whitchurch.
It’s probably the best walk in Cheshire and Shropshire.
How long is the Sandstone Trail?
The Sandstone Trail was extended in the 1990s and now stretches for 55 kilometres/34 miles, between Frodsham and Whitchurch.
What is the Sandstone Trail like?
Just lovely. The Sandstone Trail is a constantly varied, elevated walk with amazing panoramic views across the Cheshire Plain and the Dee Valley to the Welsh mountains to the west, and away to the Pennines and Peak District to the east.
The landscape along the Sandstone Trail includes the wooded sandstone ridge, open woodland and ancient forest, streams and meres, green lanes, lowland heath bright with heather and gorse, undulating farmland, canal towpaths and quiet paths and bridleways.
What are the best features along the Trail?
The most popular section of the Trail is probably that between Beeston and Bickerton. Medieval Beeston Castle on its lofty crag has arguably the best views from any ancient monument in Britain. Nearby is Victorian Peckforton Castle and the wooded hills that culminate in the National Trust managed lowland heath on the Bickerton Hills.
Other favourite spots include Overton Hill at Frodsham, sun-dappled Delamere Forest, wooded Bulkeley Hill, and the Llangollen arm of the Shropshire union Canal to Whitchurch.
Is the Sandstone Trail clearly marked?
Yes. Very clearly. The Sandstone Trail is fully waymarked and signposted along the whole route. The distinctive yellow Sandstone Trail waymarker disk features a black bootprint stamped with the letter ‘S’.
What other information is there along the Sandstone Trail?
More than twenty distinctive, blue metal framed Information Boards appear at intervals along the Sandstone Trail. Each contains a route description, map, photographs of the key points of interest, transport information, and the latest news about the Sandstone Trail.
There are also occasional ‘interpretation panels’ at intervals that explain or highlight particular places or themes. Some look at sandstone geology along the Trail; some explain hillforts and wildlife; another explores ‘Whitchurch Waterways Park’.
How accessible is the Sandstone Trail?
Mostly pretty good. The Sandstone Trail varies in difficulty from easy to moderate, depending on the terrain. Short, steep sections include those at Frodsham, Beeston Castle, Higher Burwardsley, Rawhead and Bickerton. Timber and stone steps climb the steeper parts.
The easiest, flattest sections are those in Delamere Forest Park and alongside the Llangollen arm of the Shropshire Union canal between Willeymoor Lock and Whitchurch.
A full access audit was done in 2008. Stiles along the Trail are gradually being replaced with kissing gates.
What is the best way to walk the Sandstone Trail?
The Sandstone Trail offers unbroken walking over some of the finest countryside in Cheshire and northern Shropshire.
Most people choose to walk the Trail in sections to suit their individual style and pace.
The route can be joined at numerous places along the way, and the well managed and waymarked side paths give easy access to towns, villages, pubs, cafes and other amenities.
What maps do you need to walk the Sandstone Trail?
The best maps for exploring the Sandstone Trail are those published by the Ordnance Survey.
Two Explorer maps cover the Trail: 267 Northwich and Delamere Forest