The Weaver Woods walk follows the Trent & Mersey Canal and Weaver Navigation to form a circular walk that takes in quiet woods and manmade structures such as Dutton Viaduct and Dutton Locks. Both waterways run parallel to each other giving the option to shorten the walk.
Distance: 10.3 km (6.4 miles)
Time: 2.5 hours approx.
Start: Bartington/Leigh Arms , grid Reference: SJ 6016 7603
Parking: Limited roadside parking but private parking at the Leigh Arms and Davenport Tea Room is available by arrangement only and if you are paying for food and drink.
Toilets: No public toilet but local pub and cafes at start and midway on route. (Please check for opening times.)
Train: Acton Bridge Station about 1 mile away from the route start. Warrington/Runcorn to Crewe line.
Cycle: National Cycle Route 5, Local Route 70
Accessibility: Weaver River section is accessible by bike/mobility scooter. Other sections are towpath, paths that can be muddy with steps, stiles and gates.
- Starting at the Leigh Arms in Little Leigh walk under the Swing Bridge on the No. 5 National Cycle Route. Once under the bridge turn right and walk up to the main road taking the 1st road on the left at the Bartington sign. Take Bridge Lane on the left just before you reach Davenports Tea Room and follow this lane for approximately 200m until you reach the humpback bridge (No. 210) on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
- Turn left onto the towpath with the canal on your right and continue walking for approximately 2.3km. The canal is a haven for wildlife and this section has occasional views overlooking the Weaver Valley and the Dutton Railway Viaduct.
- Pass under humpback bridge No. 213 and continue along the canal for approximately 1km. Continue along the towpath ignoring the locked gate on the left and go past the first entrance to Longacre Wood which has a footpath sign until you reach the interpretation board where you turn left down the steps into the woods.
- As you progress to the top of the far side of the dip bear left walking parallel with the canal and at the first junction turn right heading towards the railway embankment. At the fork bear left and with Longacre Brook on your left, keep left ignoring any minor paths you pass on your right. You’ll come to a gate leading onto a bridleway track – part of the National Cycleway Route No.5.
- Go through the gate and turn left and follow the track uphill to Dutton Lodge and Lodge Lane. At Lodge Lane turn left and walk along the lane, passing a stile on your left, to Bluebell Nursery which has toilets and a small cafe. (check beforehand for opening times).
- Turn right onto the footpath opposite the entrance to Bluebell Nursery through a small wood that follows a stream. At the far side of the wood go over the stile and turn left on the track ignoring the cycleway (route 5) that goes through a field on the left. Follow the track uphill passing through a main gate marked private and then turning immediately left through a kissing gate to enter Dutton Park.
- Follow the track up the hill past a post commemorating the Scouts back to the main track and turn left away from the farm and over the railway bridge. Continue straight on down the wooded track and you’ll come to a junction where a few woodland tracks meet. Continue down the track that’s straight on bearing slightly left and ignore any side routes.
You’ll reach the edge of Dutton Park Wood and be rewarded with a fantastic view of the River Weaver ahead, the Dutton viaduct to your left and far in the distance Old Pale Heights at Delamere. To the left is a bench to sit down, relax and admire the view.
- Go straight down the hill, cross the stile and turn left on to the footpath/bridleway with the river on your right. Continue under the Dutton Viaduct until you reach the junction with cycleway route no.5. Continue following the main river over the bridge to Dutton Locks.
- Dutton Locks is a great place for a picnic especially if you’re lucky enough to see a boat come through the locks. With numerous tables and a tap to replenish water bottles it’s worth spending 5 minutes to read the interpretation panels on the Weaver Navigation’s history. Once you’re ready continue following the path (now tarmac) with the river on your right and go over the original course of the river on another pedestrian bridge. Continue along the single track road for approx 1.6km before you see the familiar Acton Swing Bridge. Go back under the bridge to return to the Leigh Arms and your starting point.
This walk is reproduced by kind permission of the Woodland Trust.