After a sodden Saturday and a slightly sicky child we were all starting to get a bit of cabin fever, so Sunday afternoon we donned the walking boots and headed to one of our favourite places for a walk and to clear the cobwebs.
Chapel Woods/Styal Country Park which is accessible from the village of Styal near Wilmslow, Cheshire or from the National Trust property Quarry Bank Mill is our go-to venue. It is only a 15 minute drive for us and a regular walking spot so I thought it high time I write about it.
Quarry Bank in itself is a great day out but this post is just about the lovely woods.
We always park just up from the Ship Inn in the village (which is also a good place to end with a nice cold refreshment after a bracing walk) and then make our way along the beautiful mill cottages which were the original mill workers residences, passing the quaint little Norcliffe Chapel until we arrive at the entrance to the woods.
I think every time we walk through the gates to the woods we feel a sense of calm and also familiarity. This feeling, without a doubt is due to the number of times we head here – hubby and I have been here since our dating days, we brought Tyler many times before Ella arrived and we brought Ella as a teeny, tiny baby wrapped up in the baby carrier.
So on arriving in to the woods you are faced with a left or right path decision. Nine times out of 10 we head left and today was no exception. We go hunting for walking sticks and the ritual begins.
You hit the 39 steps down to a little bridge (if you wonder why there is a restaurant in the village with this name – here is your answer). Ella is eight now and still loves hanging around this area as she can venture under the bridge to the “beach” and back again over the stepping stones.
Moving on a little bit and her favourite (and ours) is finding the best sticks for our traditional Pooh Sticks contest over any of the number of bridges over the water. My little lady is a cheat though – I play fair and square and pick the best sticks (winners) and she will throw them on 2 rather than 3 (where does she get that from ….. Daddy???)
Over the years we have trod pretty much the same path but as “little legs” is starting to enjoy her walks more and more we decided to stretch it out a bit and took one of the paths that leads to the airport perimeters.
Ella decided to be a tour guide of the woods, but as a fairy. The next 30 minutes were spent listening to my gorgeous girl’s imagination run free in the woodland. Every turn, every bridge, every plant, every flower enhancing the story. The magic of Chapel Woods brought to life.
Chapel Woods leads on to a pathway that takes you to Manchester Airport and right alongside the runway so if you love planes then it is a great place to see them take off. The perimeter fence leads back to a road taking you into the village so a good circle but may be a bit long for smaller/younger children.
If you have smaller children there are shorter walks that stay in the woods – all delightful, all offering an element of magic and if you are close by will all have you returning time and time again.
Give Chapel Woods a try – you will not be disappointed.