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Hiking The Sandstone Trail: What You Need To Know

The Sandstone Trail is the ruby-like jewel in the North West’s crown when it comes to walking routes. The 34-mile-long ramble is the perfect way to take in the beauty of central Cheshire and the surrounding area. 

Created in 1974, the Sandstone Trail was voted as one of Britain’s favourite walks by ITV viewers, and given the abundance of stunning flora and fauna amid the spectacular landscapes, it is easy to see why the public are so fond of it!

The trail begins in Frodsham, an ancient market town on the banks of the Mersey and runs through Cheshire (past The Swan at Tarporley, so don’t forget to pop in and see us!) into northern Shropshire where it ends just over the county border at Whitchurch. 

Here’s our guide to tackling one of Britain’s favourite treks. 

The Hiking Essentials

The aesthetic majesty of the trail keeps hikers’ spirits high on the trek but nonetheless, it is important that those wishing to take on the Sandstone Trail take the time to prepare for the challenge. 

Footwear is a vital element of the hike, as boots can make or break the experience. It is important to ensure that your boots are broken in and feeling comfortable before the walk to avoid unnecessary scrambles for the blister plasters.   

But don’t forget that comfortable boots are just one part of the footwear dream team as good-quality socks are equally important. Woollen socks are generally considered to be the most comfortable for a hike, with the slightly thinner merino wool recommended as the best.

The Sandstone Trail does offer some tricky terrain but ensuring that your socks and boots are spot on can certainly mitigate the chances of blisters and discomfort.  

Also make sure to stock up on good food to keep those energy levels high and fill up on fluids to stay hydrated – especially on those beautiful summer days. 

High-protein and whole carbohydrate foods are always an excellent choice for a long hike as they’ll be on hand to provide you with plenty of energy throughout the day. 

The final thing to note is to remember that rain is never out of the question – it’s Britain, after all! Make sure you pack those waterproofs.

Planning Your Route

How you tackle the Sandstone Trail is entirely up to you. 

There are several ways in which you can plan your route with the official guidebook, ‘Walking Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail’, breaking the route up into seven stunning sections that have convenient start and finish points. 

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s booklet, instead, recommends that the journey is spread across three equally enjoyable days, while others decide to split the route into two. 

If you decide to split your route into two, our home of Tarporley is the perfect place to take a well-deserved rest before you take on the challenges of Raw Head and Bickerton Hills. We’re in the ideal midway point! Even if you choose for a tri-part hike Tarporley is still an ideal stop-off point, given the fact that The Swan is based there and we’re always happy to welcome walkers for a nice meal or even just a recharge drink.

The Trail

The standard Sandstone Trail route sees your journey begin in Frodsham where you will conquer Overton Hill. Upon reaching the summit, you will be treated to breath-taking views of the Welsh Hills and nearby Liverpool’s iconic skyline. 

From Frodsham you will wind your way to Willington, passing through the beautiful Primrose Hill Wood, where the northern section of the route comes to an end. 

The central section begins at Willington with the route taking you via Tarporley and offers incredible panoramas of the Cheshire countryside, as well as the Manchester skyline and Pennines in the east. 

The southern section of the walk begins at Bickerton, taking you through idyllic rolling farmland and past the quaint village of Bell O’ Th’ Hill where you can take a small detour and stop at the distinctive Blue Bell Inn. 

This then leads onto the Shropshire Union Canal, which provides the final leg of the Sandstone Trail before it ends at Whitchurch.  

Stop off At The Swan At Tarporley

If you’re taking on the Sandstone Trail, The Swan is the best place for you to take the weight off your feet and enjoy a well-earned rest. 

Whether you’re stopping for a bite to eat or just a quick drink, you’ll be guaranteed the warmest of welcomes and the friendliest of service to make your rest as enjoyable as possible. 

From magnificent Cheshire cask ales to a whole host of wines, gins and soft drinks, there is something for everyone at The Swan at Tarporley. Meanwhile, our food menu is packed with choice offering both pub classics and modern seasonal dishes using the finest, fresh local produce. 

If you’re looking for somewhere comfortable to rest your head after a long day hiking the Sandstone Trail, then why not stay in one of our sixteen uniquely designed en-suite bedrooms? You can check out the selection of bedrooms on our website

We hope to see you on your Sandstone Trail journey soon! 

To enquire about availability, call 01829 733838, email, or fill in the contact form on our home page.  

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