Sandstone Trail: Frodsham to Manley
Distance: 9 kilometres/5½ miles
Duration: Allow 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate: Some steep ascents and descents
Refreshments: Pubs and cafes in Frodsham; Ring O’ Bells opposite Overton Church, Frodsham; Manley Farm Shop, Manley; Goshawk, Mouldsworth
Outline: Along the wooded sandstone ridge: steep ascent, estuary views, clifftop paths, sandstone staircase, Iron Age hillfort, wildflower meadow, open woodland, nature reserves, old hall, green lanes and common land.
Overton Hill Panorama
The Sandstone Trail starts in Frodsham’s tree-lined Main Street whose traditional weekly market draws people from a wide area. The route climbs steadily past St Lawrence’s Church and the charming Ring o’ Bells pub, before ascending steeply through the woods to the breezy summit of Overton Hill.
The view from here is stunning and takes in the Mersey Estuary, the Welsh hills and Liverpool’s distinctive skyline.
Beyond Overton Hill, the Trail skirts a series of sandstone bluffs along the upper rim of the wooded hills before dropping down steps into atmospheric Dunsdale Hollow.
Beyond Scout Rock, the Trail loops around the decayed earthen ramparts of Woodhouse hillfort, the first of six impressive prehistoric hillforts that dominate the hilltops along the Trail.
The route drops down through the Woodland Trust’s dappled Snidley Moor Wood, past the Scout Camp, and crosses undulating fields to Alvanley Cliff. The ever-changing views to the west along this stretch are a delight. Past half-timbered Austerson Old Hall, the Trail runs past tiny Yarrangall Green and around the boundaries of the New Pale’s medieval deer park at Manley Common.
Ahead is vast and ancient Delamere Forest, now a popular destination for walkers, mountain bikers, day trippers and picnickers.