The Sandstone Ridge area of Cheshire is relatively close to the region’s main concentrations of population – Merseyside and Manchester.
The M56 motorway skirts the northern fringes of the Scheme area, the main commuter route between North Wales, Chester and Manchester accommodating large flows on traffic on a daily basis. From the M56 the B5152 and B5393 trunk roads run south through Frodsham and Helsby towards Delamere Forest and then connecting to the A49, A51 and A54 main roads, which provide good road networks to most parts of the Ridge area.
Rail access to the northern part of the Ridge area is also good. Frodsham and Helsby are situated on the North Wales to Manchester, Warrington lines and operated by Arriva and Northern Rail. Mouldsworth and Delamere are situated on the Chester to Manchester line, operated by Northern Rail. Railway stations situated at Frodsham and Helsby, Mouldsworth and Delamere provide easy instant access straight out onto the Ridge and in some cases very close to the hilforts themselves. Delamere Station, for example, is situated more or less at the centre of the Sandstone Ridge. There is a significant lack of rail network in the Ridge area south of Delamere.
Walking, riding and cycling, Public rights of way (footpaths, bridleways)
There is a network of public footpaths, notably including the Sandstone Trail, which provides accessibility to the heart of the Sandstone Ridge. Within the wider Sandstone Ridge area there are 473 kms of public rights of way, and an estimated 1.4 million walking trips are made in the area each year.
The Sandstone Ridge area has a significant number of horses (c.720), stables, racehorse training facilities and other equine trades (an estimated 1500 people have links to equines either working professionally or casually). Bridleways in the area are nevertheless poor and fragmented and offer little amenity value to anyone seeking to exercise a horse or indeed enjoy the surroundings of the local countryside.
Cheshire is a perfect county for cycling, not too flat, not too hilly, and some very picturesque countryside along the way. Within the Scheme area there are a number of National and Regional cycle routes. National cycle route 45, Salisbury to Chester, passes through the Ridge area to the north east of Bickerton Hill and then to the west of Beeston Castle, taking in views of the hillforts and countryside in the area, before continuing to Chester. Route 70, a regional route ‘The Cheshire Cycleway’ also passes through the Scheme area, joining Route 45, passing Beeston Castle and the Peckforton Hills. There are a number of ‘brown routes’ which provide shorter links off the main cycle ways. There are no advertised cycle routes within the vicinity of Eddisbury and Kelsborrow. National cycle route 5 runs through Helsby along Robin Hood Lane, at the base of Helsby Hill. This National way runs from Reading to Holyhead along the Weaver valley in Cheshire. The promoted cycle routes generally follow quiet roads and are signed so they are easy to follow.
There are also a number of recreation routes within the Ridge area, primarily the Sandstone Trail which encompasses all but 2 of the hillforts. Other routes take in attractions such as Delamere Forest or link to the east of the county and meet the Gritstone Trail. The Sandstone Trail is the only linear route that publicises short circular walks through a published book. It is hoped the Habitat and Hillfort Scheme circular walk leaflets will complement this book. The routes have been investigated with the assistance of the Sandstone Trail Ranger.
• Sandstone Trail – 34 mile trail from Frodsham to Whitchurch
• Bishop Bennett Way – A 34 mile route for riders following bridleways, byways and minor roads thorough the countryside of southwest Cheshire.
• Eddisbury Way 16 mile route from Frodsham, following rights of way and quiet roads and joining the Sandstone Trail at Burwardsley.
• Longster Trail – 10 mile route from Helsby Hill via Barrow to Chester
• Delamere Way – 21 mile route following rights of way and quiet roads, from Frodsham to Warrington via Delamere Forest Park
• North Cheshire Way – 70 mile walkers’ route across the north of the county, from Willaston in the west to Lyme Park in the east. It provides a link between the Wirral Way, Sandstone Trail and Gritstone Trail.
• Baker Way – 13 mile route linking Chester with Delamere Forest Park