Day 6

previous top next

Origin:        Wem
Destination:   Mellor, Lancashire
Waypoints:     Whitchurch, Nantwich, Leigh, Hindley, Anglezark, Brindle
Lunch:         The Jolly Thresher, Broomedge
Cake:          no cake
Accommodation: The Millstone, Mellor
Dinner:        The Millstone, Mellor
Google Maps:   part one, part two (likely to go stale/inaccurate over time)
Distance:      87.0mi
Ascent:        2910ft by Google

I had a rule when planning this trip that no day would involve both over 3000ft of climbing (by Google reckoning) and over 70mi of distance. This day rather stretched that the rule... we had nearly 3000ft of climbing, and nearly 90mi of distance.

Since it was a long day, we got up a bit earlier for a nice breakfast at the Treacle Mine in Wem. Then it was time to eat some miles up towards Whitchurch. This was the flattest country we'd yet been in, and the B-road was not as scary as the couple who briefly chatted to us (while we were temporarily stopped at temporary traffic lights) led us to believe. We took an unintended detour around Whitchurch town centre, but I've shown the intended route here.

Onward to Nantwich was not much hillier, but towards Winsford was another story... the landscape gains a considerable roll to it.

Out of Nantwich, the Reaseheath roundabout would ideally be avoided. We just took it. I don't see a great alternative way over the A51 here, but at 0.9mi further, perhaps Wettenhall Road (bypassing central Nantwich) would work (diversion 1).

Up to Winsford and Hartford, the roads are medium-quiet and pleasant, except for another nasty roundabout, this time the A54, which again we just had to take on the chin. There is a pedestrian crossing over this one though—no Toucan, but you can cycle up the extinguished side-road to reach it, rather than taking the roundabout approach, then hop through a parking area on the other side (modulo a bit of pavement) if you so wish.

Around Hartford, there are some turnings to get around the trunk roads and railway, but they work pretty well, leaving you with a left turn to avoid central Northwich and instead head up towards the Anderton Boat Lift. This involves a section on the A533, which I was uneasy about, but was actually fine. Traffic was not too busy nor fast, and was slowed further by a narrow single-lane bridge that appears after a series of wider bridges. The narrow bridge forms part of a traffic-lighted junction; once over the bridge you want the hard right turn, signed Anderton, up past the boat lift proper. The boat lift is a Victorian marvel, although we didn't take time to stop.

We're back in a bucolic land of canals and dairy farming. Great Budworth is one of the best kept Cheshire villages around. We press onwards through High Legh before stopping in Broomedge (near Lymm) for a nice pub lunch at the Jolly Thresher, courtesy of my parents. Then we pass underneath the Bridgewater Canal (I was confused by the map for a while), right-left over the A6144 and onwards to Warburton, where we cross a much bigger canal: the Manchester Ship Canal. This being a signal-controlled single-lane toll bridge, there was a big tailback here, but polite and friendly drivers ushered us on to the front. There's no toll by bicycle! I was worried how this would go, since the bridge dumps you out on the busy A57 (turn right!). However, it really wasn't that busy, and we only had a short hop, on which the traffic lights gave us all the head-start we needed. We soon peeled off leftwards onto the residential Birch Road towards Glazebrook.

Glazebrook was the answer of how to thread the needle between Liverpool and Manchester without getting caught up in suburban sprawl. This part was particularly peaceful, actually, between fields as far as the 30mph residential A-road, the A574, taking us to Leigh and beyond. The A580 roundabout (East Lancashire Road) was the only hairy part.

We missed a couple of turnings here, but not in a bad way. The first was the one avoiding the centre of Hindley; you could take several such back-roads, but the route I've shown is via Deansgate—not quite the quickest, but avoids both the town-centre junctions and a right-turn on the A58 mini-roundabout just ahead. The second was one through Hindley Hall golf club which Google wanted us to take, but clearly isn't a public road. Since the west end of that diversion looks very rutted and unpleasant anyway (Withington Lane), I've kept the route plotted as we took it, along the main road up to Aspull and Haigh. It was approaching afternoon rush hour, so the road was fairly busy, although not fast.

Through the elaborate junction at Aspull and up towards Haigh, we keep climbing, gradually enough, turning right at the brow (unsigned) onto Meadow Pit Lane, to thread between Blackroad and Adlington, under the M6 and then left along the minor road to its north, up towards Anglezarke and the Rivington Reservoirs. The traffic was thinning out all the while; we were back in proper countryside. Once at the reservoirs, Google failed us again: it suggested we take the (level but wiggly) path along the edge of the reservoir, but signage was clear that cycling was not allowed (not was the path suited to it, as far as I could see). So instead we had to do rather more climbing than planned, taking the initially very steep Moor Road. The Anglezarke viewpoint was marvellous repayment.

From there, we headed downhill, stopping briefly to lend my pump to a friendly mountain-biker who had a punctured tube to replace. He seemed to do it more quickly than I could have, and we were soon on our way. After the next left towards White Coppice (not signed), whe continued to Heapey (emerging by the lovely stone building of the closed railway station), then right-left over the A-road and into Wheelton village, then left and down towards the canal. This was the home stretch, but stretch it did. We were soon into uppy-downy territory again, through Samlesbury Bottoms (the name gives it away) further along Further Lane, and back up to the A677 for a quick right-left onto the short road up to Mellor.

previous top next

Content updated at Thu 19 Mar 15:45:00 GMT 2020.
validate this page