This weekend’s weather forecast predicts a crisp and sunny Sunday. You know that means – a fresh winter walk polished off with a hearty roast.
We have just the walk for you.
Hop just across the border into Cheshire to Styal, where The Styal Woods and Quarry Bank Mill walk is just coming into its most beautiful time of year.
The perfect escape for the Black Friday and pre-Christmas chaos, this corner of the north west is ablaze with autumn leaves right now.
Keep reading for the ultimate weekend walk, ending at a cosy fireside pub.
How to get there:
The train from Manchester Piccadilly to Styal takes just shy of 40 minutes, and will take you right to the village where the walk begins.
Travelling by car? Parking is available on the country lanes outside the Ship Inn or in the National Trust car park.
Parking is difficult at busy times, so we try suggest you get here a bit early!
The walk is two hours at a stroll and very easy on the knees with little-to-no steep inclines.
Sights include the golden Styal Woods, the banks of the River Bollin and the ancient Quarry Bank Mill.
Quick history lesson: in 1784 the valley of the River Bollin was chosen by Samuel Greg as the site for the Quarry Bank Mill.
The Mill and surrounding houses quickly became a thriving little industrial community and continued for hundreds of years.
Today, the National Trust care for it and thousands of visitors have enjoyed walking around the land.
Anyway, the walk serves up some proper autumnal scenes, and with that winter sun shining through, we challenge you to resist an Instagram.
Several routes are an option here but we think all the best walks start and end at the pub.
The Ship Inn is one of the finest country pubs in the business and will be your landmark.
Hack for the walk: the Ship Inn provide packed lunches or pre-order a meal for your return. Also grab a few walking leaflets from here if you want to explore alternative routes. Hospitality at its finest.
The route we propose, however, is as follows:
Start at the Ship Inn and continue on through the little village of Styal. Enter into the woods – don’t worry this isn’t Blair Witch Project Part 2 – everything is well sign-posted.
Amble through the leafy scenery, alongside the River Bollin, and come out at the Quarry Bank Mill. Walk around the grounds before finishing off back at the trusty the Ship Inn. Simple!
For peace of mind, a map of the route can be found at Northern Stroll.
The Ship Inn:
Finally, strip off those layers and warm up your fingers because the best part of the walk has just begun.
The Ship Inn serves up a proper, state-of-the-art Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
Feast on roast sirloin of beef (£15), pork loin (£13), Cheshire turkey (£13) or get all three in the mixed roast (£14).
The fun does not stop there – there are nut roasts for vegetarians (£12), and a whole roast chicken dinner (£25) or a quarter roast leg of lamb (£28) for people to share.
Arguably the king of Sunday roasts and sure to have your mouth watering before you even set off on the walk.
What a way to end a wonderful winter stroll.
Featured image: Instagram (@adamporternews)