We spent a very pleasant afternoon in the little village of Lymm in Cheshire. It is very picturesque and pretty - the centre is especially nice. The best way to explore the village and its surroundings is to walk the Lymm Heritage Trail. This is a self guided walk which is completely flat, along paths and tracks and is about 3.5 miles in length and only takes a couple of hours at a leisurely pace.
We found a free car park at the back of a church hall in Crouchley Lane. From there, you can pick up signs to the dam and the heritage trail. You walk slightly downhill to the waterside. It is peaceful and tranquil, we spotted quite a few fishermen. Just at the start of our walk, we came across a large area of exposed sandstone. There were a few children playing on the rocks, so our son joined in too and had a great time. Be sure to dress children in old clothes though - the sandstone gets everywhere and is hard to remove.
We walked the short distance to the road on the western side of the dam, crossed the road and walked into the Dingle. This is a beautiful woodland area and you walk on a path next to a fast flowing stream. We followed the footpath and it took us into the centre of Lymm village. We passed some lovely old houses which were right on the waterside.
We carried on through the village, turned right on Eaglebrow Road and came to the Bridgewater Canal. Along a little cobbled street, past some lovely terraced houses and you come to the banks of the canal. We walked along the canal for about a mile - there are lots of canal boats coming and going, so it is a really interesting section to walk.
We eventually came to Star Lane, turned onto this and then took a right onto the Trans Pennine Way. This is a cycle/walking track and was a little muddy underfoot, but very flat and not at all busy. We walked for about half a mile, then turned onto Lymmhay Lane and then onto Brookfield Road and followed the footpath for Slitten Gorge. Here you cross a little stream and find the remains of an iron slitting mill. It dates back to the 18th century.
We carried on, back through the Dingle, up the steps to the road and found ourselves back at the dam again. This time we walked along the opposite shore, to be sure we explored the whole area of the waterside. There were lovely views, lots of woodland, interesting trees and wildflowers. We found some wood carvings along the way as well, which kept our son interested and engaged.
At the southern edge of the dam we saw a sign for the Bongs. This name comes from a medieval word apparently meaning "wooded banks." We walked through it a little way, then as it became very dense, we retraced our steps. We found a very interesting concrete bridge - a little crumbling and almost too grand for this area. It was built by William Lever, founder of Lever Brothers who apparently had planned a residential development for this area just after World War I, but this never went ahead.
Once across the bridge, it is just a short walk through woodland and along the water's edge before you reach your starting point again.
We all enjoyed this walk - it was a great way to explore Lymm and the scenery was so varied - waterside, woodland, canal paths and streams. There were a few little pubs in Lymm should you wish to indulge in a beverage and a very busy ice cream van at one end of the dam. Opportunities for spotting wildlife were vast and it was an extremely pleasant family afternoon out.