On a day off from work we set off for a walk around Delamere Forest.
Delamere Forest comprises over 950 hectares of mixed deciduous and evergreen forest, open grassland and wetlands. It is the largest wooded area in Cheshire and lies within the Mersey Forest. It is a haven for wildlife including the beautiful small tortoiseshell butterfly, greater spotted woodpecker, white faced darter dragonfly, green woodpecker, siskin and southern hawker dragonfly.
Delamere derives from the French ‘of the meres’. Tens of thousands of years ago kettleholes were formed by melting ice blocks left behind by the massive ice sheets that covered Britain in the last ice age. These became the meres and wetlands that are found across Cheshire.
At Blakemere Moss the Forestry Commisssion have recreated the original lake. It was originally two kettle holes but they gradually filled with peat. The site was cleared and re-filled in 1998. There is a colony of nesting black headed gulls on the lake. You can hear them from a distance before you actually see them.
Delamere Forest is all that remains of the great hunting forests of Mara and Mondrum established after the Norman Conquest of England.
The forest lies on sandstone and has sandy soils. The natural woodland was originally Sessile Oak mixed with birch, alder and some pine. In the Eighteenth Century oak trees had been planted suitable for shipbuilding by the Government in woods owned by the Crown. The oaks didn’t thrive and there was little timber produced for the navy. Following this land was claimed for agriculture but from the early 1900s the area was replanted with various species of pine. Since the 1950’s Scots pines have been replaced with Corsican pine trees which grow faster and yield more timber. The forest is managed and produces timber from thinning and felling which ensures there is a mix of mature, middle aged and young trees.
The forest has a network of walking and cycling trails. The 34 mile Sanstone Trail long dstance footpath passes through Delamere Forest where it links Frodsham in the north to Whitchurch further south in Shropshire.
You can walk as far as you want to depending on which trails you choose to follow.
You just have to be careful that you don’t go round in circles and get lost. We did realise our mistake and managed to get back to the car parked at Linmere Lodge.