I always believed if I stepped from my driveway and trekked northwards I would reach John o' Groats, or turning west arrive at Land's End, simply by using the ancient footpaths and green roads of Britain. But alas I've just discovered that I have been under a serious delusion all these years. Not that I ever intend to carry out such a feat of endurance in my wildest of nightmares. I've been a bit of a rambler though in my time - encouraged I must say by my late wife, Joan, whose father was one of the leaders in the great Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout and a founder member of the Ramblers Association. My kind of walking has been of the more genteel sort. Some people might remember that in Town and Country Post I featured a local ramble every month for many years. According to Roger Dyke, a leading light in the very worthy Goostrey Footpaths Group, I would soon have got into difficulties had I wished to use a footpath to the north as beyond the village boundary I would rapidly become
Signposts and bridges help the walker
stuck in the mire! South, yes it possible I could travel via any number of public rights of way. But north was a no-go area across some of the area's most delightful countryside because of a one and a half mile breach between Goostrey and the Peover Superior ( for those readers outside Cheshire it is Peever not Peeover) foothpath network. I recall when I lived in Mill Lane I often thought what I should do when I reached the end of the lane. Risk the wrath of some angry landowner or a yapping dog by nipping across his fields in an act of sheer folly.Often as a youngster with a like-minded gang of semi-rural urchins such notices to keep out were ignored in pursuit of scrumping apples from the farmer's orchard! Now through the efforts of the footpaths group, a plan mooted by Goostrey Parish Council and the residents' association in 1995 to establish a link between the parishes has been completed. Woodland and hidden countryside denied of access for generations of walkers has been dedicated as a public right of way by Cheshire East Council. With work and funding by the footpaths group, as well as financial help from the council and Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund, the route has been created, waymarked,signposted and bridged. There is even the odd kissing gate for those romantically inclined! The link provides a walk of between three and six miles depending on which route is chosen to return to Goostrey. The milestone is to be marked by the official opening this Saturday (May 11) of the village's first new public footpath since possibly the stone age! (journalistic license) Council mayor George Walton is performing the ceremony at the Bogbean, near the start of the route at Mill Lane, followed by snipping a ribbon at the new bridge in Galey Wood.
Goostrey Footpath Group prepare to sign the path
+An illustrated leaflet of the new path in colour is available free at Margaret Kettle's shop and village post office and from Nigel at Goostrey News. Still available from local shops is the foothpath group's local walking bible "More Goostrey Walks and Strolls" - a bargain at £3.95