Halton Borough Council: 0151 424 2061
Runcorn's history dates from the 10th century when a fortification was built here as protection against the Vikings. A motte and bailey castle was built in the 11th century, followed by today's stone castle in the 12th century. An Augustinian Priory was also founded here in 1115 by William Fitznigel. During the Civil War the castle was held for the Crown by Earl Rivers, falling twice to the Parliamentarians.
In 1776 the Bridgewater Canal was completed, stretching all the way from the Mersey at Runcorn to Manchester, and began to be used for transporting coal. Then in 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal, in its day was the largest navigation canal in the world, and also passing to the north of Runcorn, superseded it. During the 1960s and 70s, Runcorn was doubled in size as part of the New Towns programme, and the iconic bridge across the Mersey to Widnes was built.
Historically the town's economy has been based upon chemicals, ship building, tannery, iron foundry and engineering. Today, Ineos Chlor, chlorine manufacturer, is based here. A trendy canal quarter is being developed in Runcorn's Old Town, part of a £65 million development scheme.
The name Runcorn derives from a 10th century fort built here by Aethelfleda, the governor of Mercia and daughter of Alfred the Great, as a defence against the Danes. A visit by her to the fort site 'Runckhorn' in AD 915 is the first record of the name in history. In earlier Anglo-Saxon times it was known as Runcofan.
Cross the footbridge over the Daresbury Expressway from the station car park.
Turn right and go through the subway under Queensway.
Pass through a subway under another part of Queensway and come out on the cycle track by the side of the expressway.
Turn right at the T junction and pass through the subway.
Turn left at the far side.
Cross Heath Road and continue along the path between the canal and the expressway.
After the large road junction, bear left away from the canal.
Cross the bridge over the canal.
Turn left along the lane.
Do not turn on to the towpath, but on to the cycle track shortly afterwards where the road bends sharply to the right.
Bear left to avoid the subway.
Turn left at the road and then immediately right on to Castlefields Avenue East.
After passing under the busway take the path on the left.
Bear left away from the lake to cross the canal with the busway.
Bear right on to the path after the bridge.
Before the expressway turn right on to a cycle track which leads all the way round Norton Priory and Big Wood.
At the end turn right on to Sandymoor Lane.
Cross the canal and go straight on along the path behind the houses. This passes through two subways, then crosses a roundabout.
Take the footbridge over the busway and join Norton Lane.
Bear left and join Gooseberry Lane. Cross Windmill Hill East and take the path opposite towards the canal.
At the canal turn right along the nearside towpath.
Pass under the railway, then turn right at Red Brow Lane.
Take the first exit from the roundabout.
Turn right on to the path through the estate.
Take the second path on the left.
Take the third path on the right and join Aldersgate Avenue.
Turn left on Hitchen's Close, take the path from the end, cross St Martin's Lane and bear left to avoid the subway.
Bear left to stay on the path.
Turn right at Murdishaw Avenue.
Take the path on the left just before the busway.
Bear right to stay beside the busway.
Pass under the M56 and then follow the busway round to the right.
Turn right at the second crossroads on to Aston Fields Road.
Take the cycle path on the left where the road bends sharply to the right.
Turn left at Chester Road and cross the M56.
Bear right to the roundabout, where you turn left. Follow the cycle path beside this road until you pass another roundabout, this one over the carriageways.
Cross the road on the next footbridge.
Turn left at the far side and follow this path past the Hallwood Raven pub.
Turn right down the other side of the pub and join Eagles Way.
Turn left at the end.
Go straight on at the first roundabout, bear left at the second and turn left at the third.
Cross the road after the bus station.
Cross the footbridge over West Lane and head straight on.
Cross the footbridge over the Central Expressway and bear right along the busway.
Pass under the next footbridge and join the Runcorn Spur Road, which is straight on.
Follow this road all the way back to the Daresbury Expressway.
Turn left under the subway and retrace your steps to the station.