Chapel in the fields: Lonely St Chad’s sits in fields on the line of an old Roman road
Sandstone Trail: Larkton Hall to Willeymoor Lock
Distance: 9 kilometres/6 miles
Duration: Allow 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy: Gently undulating field paths
Parking: National Trust Duckington car park, Hether Wood
Refreshments: Pub and cafe in No Man’s Heath; Blue Bell Inn, Bell o’ th’ Hill, near Tushingham
Outline: Rolling Cheshire farmland, flooded sand quarries, old coach road, Bickley Brook, subsidence pool, Roman diploma, lost chapel in the fields, ancient inn, ice contact slope, pre-glacial lake bed.
Away from the southern end of Cheshire’s Sandstone Ridge, the Sandstone Trail heads south across undulating farmland towards Whitchurch.
Walk past Larkton Hall Farm, where cheese is still made daily, past a series of overgrown ponds that started life as sandpits where glacial sand was dug for making cement and footings for local buildings.
The Trail circles Manor House Farm, now a stud farm for racehorses, owned by a famous footballer. Beyond Hampton Green, the route crosses rolling farmland to Bickley Brook, then traces its bank south to Bickleywood.
Blue Bell Inn
Further south, the Sandstone Trail runs past the mysterious Barhill Fall, and on to Old St Chad’s — the tiny ‘chapel in the fields’, now cut off from any roads.
A short detour here takes walkers to one of the oldest and most atmospheric inns in Cheshire: the distinctive black-and-white Blue Bell Inn at Bell o’ th’ Hill. Past half-timbered Pearl Farm, the Trail drops down to meet the Llangollen arm of the Shropshire Union Canal at Willeymoor Lock and its isolated waterside tavern.
Ahead, the Trail follows the quiet rural canal on into Whitchurch to reach the southern end of the Sandstone Trail.