Cheshire West and Chester Council Cycling Officer: 01244 977440
The landscape of Ince, Helsby and Frodsham Marshes is unique. The sea used to inundate this area of low-lying former coastal marsh. In Roman times, the Gowy estuary would have been much wider and at high water only land above a certain height would have been visible.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, the monks of St Werburgh's in Chester and the Cistercian Abbey at Stanlow reclaimed land from the sea. They excavated extensive networks of dykes and ditches, many of which were subsequently destroyed by storms and flooding. Despite these setbacks, land reclamation carried on through the ages.
The Manchester Ship Canal was opened to vessels in 1894 and its banks, and subsequent canal dredging deposit dumps, provided perhaps the most effective man-made defence against flooding.
Common reed, widespread on the Marshes, was once harvested on a grand scale to provide thatch for roofs. The Marshes today are largely used as grazing land, with a small area used for grain crops such as wheat and barley. Root crops, such as potato, can be found on the drier fringes of the area.
Emerge from the station car park.
Turn right on Church Street.
At the A56 turn left.
Just after passing Helsby High School on your right, turn left on to Old Chester Road.
At the junction with Robin Hood Lane, head straight on.
Turn left when you reach the A56 again.
Bear left at the junction with the A5117.
Turn right at The Dunham Arms PH along Hob Lane, crossing the railway.
At the crossroads, turn right on to Cryers Lane.
Turn left almost immediately on to Thornton Green Lane.
Arrive at the A5117 in Thornton-le-Moors, the end of the route.