Top nosh: The ‘hidden’ Boot Inn at Willington serves delicious food year round

For walkers, pub goers and lovers of fine food and real ale, here are my all time top five pubs on Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail.

The 34 mile Sandstone Trail sticks to the wooded sandstone ridge that runs roughly north to south through rural Cheshire and north Shropshire. This lofty walk offers ever-changing views and panoramas at every turn. But even better, are the lovely country pubs and ancient inns along the way.

The winning combination of a bracing walk and a relaxing pub lunch with a couple of beers is hard to beat.

So, what are the best pubs on the Sandstone Trail?

My all time favourite five are:

Ring O’ Bells. Not far from the start of the Sandstone Trail, this homely traditional black-and-white pub, opposite St Lawrence’s Church, is halfway up Frodsham Hill. It has always been a personal favourite for its friendly atmosphere, central bar, good beer and cracking views from the car park over the Mersey Estuary, especially at night! Bellemonte Road, Frodsham WA6 6BS. 01928 732068

The Boot Inn. Cheshire’s best-hidden pub sits in a cul-de-sac combe near Kelsall. Converted from a row of cottages, it promises great food and beer, open fires, and a sunny terrace that looks out over the Cheshire countryside towards Wales. Well worth a visit. Boothsdale, Willington, CW6 0NH. 01829 751375

Pheasant Inn. High on the hills roughly halfway along the Sandstone Trail, the upmarket Pheasant Inn has views to die for. Open fires, good food, en-suite rooms, a lovely beer garden, and excellent Weetwood beers, this popular in also has a walled terrace with perhaps the finest views in Cheshire. Higher Burwardsley CH3 9PF. 01829 770434

The Sandstone. This unexpectedly great pub deserves to be far better known. Just below the Sandstone Trail on the A534 near Brown Knowl, the Sandstone pub offers a relaxed modern  take on the traditional pub, with open fires, sunny rooms, sofas, and a conservatory. Pub quizzes, bonfire nights, barbecues and superb regularly-praised menus and top food. It has superbly kept beers, too. Give it a try. Nantwich Road, Broxton CH3 9JH. 01829 782333

Blue Bell Inn. Another hidden gem, just off the Sandstone Trail near Tushingham, this half-timbered black-and-white beauty is one of the oldest pubs in Cheshire. Great atmosphere, open fires, and lovely beer and food. Track it down but don’t tell everyone. Bell O’ th’ Hill, Tushingham SY13 4QS. 01948 662172

So what are your favourite pubs on the Sandstone Trail? Add a comment below. 🙂