Sunday, November 25 – Hawarden

This morning was a little foggy, terribly cold and frosty, but a glorious morning.  For the third Sunday in succession I took the Lowton-Winwick road to Warrington, and then the Chester road.  The fog had now entirely lifted, and keeping a decent pace, I soon reached Frodsham, Helsby and Mickle Trafford.  I had to dip my shoes in disinfectant before I entered the little farm for lunch, a precaution against foot and mouth disease, which at present abounds in the district.  The cold air outside, after lunch before a fire, set me shivering.  Coming to Chester, I passed the Castle, then over the Dee and along the tram-lined route to Saltney.  Beyond Broughton, the scenery improved, and soon I was skirting the walls of the Hawarden Estate, and in a field near here, I saw two shaggy, ferocious looking oxen.

The fine castle, (modern), peeped through the trees, and the old castle tower beside it, just as I was entering the little town of that name.  The park was closed (Sunday), so I took the byroad beside the main gate, which leads to Caergwrle.  It led me into a wonderful vale, clad in autumn garb, then uphill out of it.  I had the full view of the Clwydian range before me, with the 1,800ft Moel Fammau, as the crowning summit.  At Pen-y-Mynydd, I turned towards Dodleston, soon reaching the village.  Although I searched exhaustively for the Castle ruins, I saw none.  Perhaps it was a ‘site of’.  A long run through the bylanes brought me to Rossett, on the Chester to Wrexham road.  The packed main road was not my ‘meat’, and at Pulford I turned into a little lane which ran beside the Eaton Estate, eventually entering the grounds at Poulton.

The woods made a fine picture in the gathering gloom, and the twigs and leaves on the deserted road crackled beneath the tyres.  Soon I came to the fine old hall itself, then the Iron Dee Bridge, which I crossed, taking the Bruera approach.  In one place the road passes over the Chester-Aldford road.  Rabbits bounced away from the road as I appeared, but beyond that no other sign of life was apparent.  Reaching Bruera, I took a bylane which led me to Saighton, the main road to Handbridge, and Watling Street into Chester.  On leaving the City, I lit up, and proceeded along the Frodsham road to Mickle Trafford and Dunham Hill, where a cosy Inn welcomed me to tea at 5.30pm.

At 6.15 I started again on an intensely dark road.  It was slow going, my eyes being strained to their utmost to make out the lines of the road.  More than once I had to stop when a motorist came in sight, the powerful headlights absolutely blinding me.  From Helsby to Frodsham, through Sutton Weaver to Daresbury was a continual strain, Warrington being reached at 7.40pm.  The bylanes from Winwick passed, I reached Lowton, where I spent half an hour with a rear hub which had become loose.  That road through Leigh and Atherton is best passed over on paper, rather than tyres!  Got home about 9.30pm.                                                                            140 miles, 12.5 hours