Same guide Riverside Rambles along the Mersey by Ron Freethy; difference is, this time I used http://wheresthepath.googlepages.com/exploreabiggermap.htm, a must for walkers, to map out the walk before we left home.
Whatever you do, if you buy this book, don't depend on either the text or the map; from what I've experienced so far either one or the other is correct but not at the same time!
This time the map is wrong on the return leg; you need to leave the towpath at Norton Town Bridge not Norton Bridge! Be warned.
Armed with map and guide we set off from the opposite side of the canal to a boatyard; it wasn't Preston Brook Marina, as stated in the guide, but was the correct place to start on the map and in the text. Just totally the wrong name!
We made our way towards Norton Priory along the Runcorn arm of the Bridgewater canal.
The fruit laden hedgerows (apples of various types but mainly crab apples, hawthorn berries, elderberries, etc.) and wildflowers were in abundance including the Purple Loosestrife shown below.
Little did we know, as squirrels, moorhens, ducks, jays, magpies etc. crossed our path, of what lay in store for us as we neared Norton Priory.
I thought I'd gone back to my childhood; here we had a wildflower meadow reintroducing 'cornfield flowers' such as corncockle, corn marigold, corn chamomile and poppy. When I was a boy.... Mmmm memories. What a pity the flowers were past their best, although the bees didn't think so!
The Priory wasn't open, we were a tad to-early, but the cafe was; tea and cherry scone for Chris and coffee and choc-chip muffin for me.
The Residents were a little shy...
The last time we visited was with Ben and Neil when they were both at Summerhill; many changes and perhaps a place to visit when it is too wet to walk.
We retraced our steps leaving the canal at the correct place and heading across fields, under two railway bridges and up onto the Manchester arm of the Bridgewater canal.
There was evidence of early growth of fungi probably due to the very wet summer or should that be 'global warming'?
Farmers are still trying to gather the harvest and two 'Holland' Combine harvesters were hard at it.
Another enjoyable walk and a note to revisit Norton Priory in the not too distant future.
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