The best way to see all of historic Chester and beyond is by foot or bike, with a variety of trails both in the city and further afield. As the gateway to North Wales, walks around Chester can take you past wild moorlands, ancient trade routes and even let you cross countries into Welsh territory.
The Sandstone Trail
The Sandstone Trail is one of the best country walks near Chester. The long-distance hike connects the nearby towns of Frodsham and Whitchurch and is a lovely scenic walk where you’ll be rewarded with views of sandstone ridges and sweeping panoramas across the Cheshire Plain. It’s classified as a moderate to difficult walk although the trail has been divided into three manageable sections of around 11 miles each (Frodsham to Willington, Willington to Bickerton, and Bickerton to Whitchurch). Signposts and blue information boards mark your way and gives a detailed local history about the nearby towns and landscapes.
Chester City Walls
If you don’t feel like venturing out to the countryside, there are still several walks in Chester itself. The Groves – a large open waterfront promenade that follows the River Dee – runs from Grosvenor Park to the old Handbridge. It’s a leisurely 15-minute stroll but if you’d like to continue further, you can walk around the Old City Walls, built 2,000 years ago in Roman times. The two-mile walk follows a rectangular-shaped circuit with a continuous elevated walkway and a few stairs. You can see famous Chester attractions such as the Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower, Pemberton’s Parlour, Morgan’s Mount, Kaleyard Gate and The Recorder’s Steps.
Edgar’s Field Park
On the other side of the River Dee is a lovely Chester walk that will take you past some of Chester’s unique sandstone geology, as well as one of the city’s big attractions, the Minerva Shrine. If you start in Edgar’s Field Park, just opposite the University of Chester Riverside Campus, you’ll come to the Grade I listed building, an ancient shrine dedicated to the Roman goddess Minerva. Dating back to the 2nd century, the shrine has been intricately carved into the face of a sandstone quarry next to a small rock opening known as Edgar’s Cave.
Chester Railway Path
If you’re looking for Chester cycle routes, you should try Chester Railway Path, a scenic bike trail connecting the town of Chester to the Wharf at Connah’s Quay. Ideal for even the most novice of cyclists, the 8-mile trail is completely tarmacked and blocked off from traffic. It’s best to start at the Hawarden Bridge in Wales and cross the River Dee to follow the old Mickle Trafford to Dee Marsh railway line. As you cycle, you’ll pass through the beautiful farmlands and the Clwyd Hills before coming to the border, where you can cross easily into England and onto Chester.
For expert hikers, there’s a challenging route in Bollington, a small village located in Cheshire East. Set out from one of the main roads in Bollington and continue up a steep path to the White Nancy lookout, with views over the Cheshire Plain from Kerridge Ridge. White Nancy itself is worth a photo or two – this Grade II listed building was thought to be built in 1817 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo and was once used as a folly or summer house. The route also leads you past Macclesfield Canal towpath and Redway House and Cottage.