Tour to the Cheshire Region 15-19th May 2022

The PNTA tour group with our driver, Sam (far left).

We were blessed with mainly fine weather for the tour to Cheshire. The trip was initially planned for 2020, but was postponed for two years, because of Covid.

Those travelling by coach from Pembrokeshire were met by some who made their own way there, including Jim and Margret Price, who drove from the Bristol area, where they now live. In total there were 36 of us. 

It was good to re unite with tour regulars and welcome some who were new to the experience.

We stopped, en route, at Attingham Park NT. In addition to the mansion, there were extensive grounds to explore.

The staff at Rowton Hall Hotel, on the outskirts of Chester, looked after us well. There was a spacious bar for pre dinner drinks, and we had a function room to ourselves for breakfast and evening meal.

Anderton Boat Lift

The Anderton Boat Lift, near Northwich, was constructed in the late 19th century, to connect two waterways, serving the local salt mining industry and the potteries at Stoke on Trent. After closure in 1981, a well supported appeal led to successful restoration. As a result we were able to take to a boat to experience the fifty foot descent from the Trent and Mersey Canal to the River Weaver.

Aboard the Edwin Clark at Anderton Boat Lift

The house at Dunham Massey

Later that day, the National Trust property at Dunham Massey provided a chance to explore the house, enjoy the gardens and stroll the extensive deer park.

A common sight at various NT properties was to see tree trunks and fallen timber left to slowly decay and act as “invertebrate hotels”.

Quarry Bank Mill from the gardens

We devoted a whole day to visit Quarry Bank Mill NT near Wilmslow. It is a surprise to find a working cotton mill surrounded by a valley garden. The azaleas were at their peak. Our visit also took in the apprentice house which gave a good insight into the life of a child labourer.

On the final morning in Chester, we were met by our guide, Yvonne Kirk , who joined the coach to point out the Roman walls and amphitheatre, as well as other sights. Thereafter some took a boat trip on the River Dee, whilst others stayed with Yvonne for a walking tour of the city centre. In the afternoon we went to Speke Hall NT, near Liverpool Airport. There we heard many tales about the sheltering of Catholic priests in the era of their persecution.

The laburnum arch at Bodnant

Our journey home was made more colourful by a visit to Bodnant Gardens NT. In the lower gardens we saw the effects of storm Arwen, in November 2021. Over fifty large trees were lost, including a giant sequoia. However the upper parts of the garden provided a feast for the eyes, with the famous laburnum arch approaching its seasonal peak.

Our thanks go to Margret Price for making the initial arrangements for 2020, with help from Lyn Humphries. Sam, our driver from Richards Bros, looked after us very well. Thanks also go to all those on the trip for making it such an enjoyable social time.

Report and photos by Andrew Weaver