5 Feb 2020 Round Sandbach boundary Leader: Stephen, Length of walk: 11 miles, Driving Distance: 0 miles, Number walking: 25
Click on this link to see the route on a map.
The walk was intended to follow, as closely as possible, the boundaries of Sandbach parish in a clockwise direction When Stephen calculated the walk as 15 miles he decided to curtail it to avoid any unpleasantness.
The route took in Palmer Road, Houndings Lane and Hassall Road before leaving solid tarmac for the familiar terrain of muddy fields. At the canal locks near Wheelock the group paused to see the workmen knocking lumps off the piers before crossing Crewe Road to follow the path alongside the river Wheelock. At a riverside beach the group stopped for refreshments to be delighted by tiffin and flapjacks from Simon and Lynda. The variety of birthday snacks increases but nobody has so far brought any kue* yet.
Refreshed by the cakes, the group passed Fields Farm with its mouldering piles of garden waste. Cheshire East Council used to send the contents of garden waste bins to farmers to compost on their fields but the method of disposal may be different now that the bins include food waste.
Where the railway crosses the river Wheelock, Stephen explained about the subsidence caused by brine pumping and pointed out the construction of the bridge as an example of coping with unstable foundations.
From the railway, the path followed the canal to Mill Lane and included a lunch stop where the mossy canal bank stones provided a good seat. When the walkers stood up, those with non-waterproof mats were identified by the damp patches to the rear. Winter sunshine is never likely to dry out the moss.
Mill Lane and Elm Tree Lane took the group over the railway to a series of muddy fields that led to Pillar Box Lane. The question arose: did the lane acquire its name because of the pillar box or did Royal Mail erect the pillar box there to make the name make sense?
A casual use of the phrase “horny-handed sons of toil” led to the user being accused of intellectualism and the realisation that nobody knew who first uttered the phrase. Google shows many instances of people using the phrase as if it were in common parlance but it was actually ex-prime minister Lord Salisbury who first made it public in 1873 referring to Irish labourers in a speech on Home Rule for Ireland.
When the group arrived at Congleton Road in Sandbach, the scent of the Waitrose car park proved too much of a draw for 15 of the group who left, but the remainder walked the proper route that passed the building which used to contain a derelict water company house and which is now humming to the sound of an estate of 12 houses going up instead.
*KUE an Indonesian bite-sized snack or dessert food [3 letter Scrabble word]
Pictures to follow