I suggested a ride out to Little Warford near Alderley Edge which would clock up about 50 miles round trip from Utkinton. The only response from those present was Little ……? And so Little Warford was agreed with The Stags Head earmarked for lunch. I led out on the well-used route through Cotebrook, passing Oulton Park motor racing circuit and on to Whitegate where we turned right to use the wooden bridge crossing of the Weaver Navigation. From here we took the rough track under the west coast main line up to Moulton where we rejoined the lanes to Davenham, Lach Dennis, Lower Peover and eventually Great and Little Warford to arrive in good time at 12:15.
There were two removal vans outside The Stags Head when we arrived and the pub tables were being loaded into the first of the vans. “Have you closed?” “No we’re just taking the tables away. They’re reopening this lunchtime.” Inside we found that the refurbishment was slightly behind schedule and that we were the first customers. Judging by the plush new upholstery, new tables, polished timber floor and carpets we were not the type of patrons they were aiming to attract. This is practically Alderley Edge after all! That aside, we were made more than welcome as we discarded wet clothes, and the choice of ales put aside any lingering doubts on our part. Food service was a little on the slow side but we had plenty of time and when it came, the quality justified the wait.
We left The Stags Head at 13:30pm in the rain and headed south to Goostrey with the choice of continuing on to Holmes Chapel or Middlewich. I decided on Middlewich with the intention of trying the link over the River Wheelock to Stanthorne Mill that looked doable on the map. In Middlewich we were forced to go through the centre, eventually reaching the turnoff for the Wheelock. “It’s a no through road”, followed by “No it’s a Harry route.” Well it looked OK; a wide grassy lane that led us down to the bridge after which the track narrowed eventually becoming an increasing narrow footpath. After 50 yards of pushing we reached the Mill and continued the ride on to Winsford and the Whitegate Way. By now talk was about where we should stop for afternoon tea. We decided on the Shire Horse Centre café but Ivan, in a hurry to get home, left us just before Cotebrook.
The remaining three of us relaxed in the café over tea and carrot cake while discussing the implications of Brian Lowe’s resolution passed at the CTC national AGM. When we emerged the rain had stopped but the wind was getting stronger! It was only a few miles from here to Utkinton where we left Norman to collect his car while Clive and I fought the strong head wind back to Chester.
Today proved once again that despite the damp weather CER provides a great day out. A round trip of 50 miles from Utkinton or just over 70 miles for those of us riding from Chester.
See route map and/or gpx file download.