Monday, 27 May 2013


The steam engine rattles along Blackden Lane
What's that in the tree, Grandad ?
What difference a day can make! Friday I was huddled against a whip-lashing wind, booted. hatted and scarved in temperatures reminiscent of winter, waiting for the village circular bus to arrive. Then Saturday and Sunday it was summer with  tee-shirts and shorts and burnt knees, as the temperature rose, if agonisingly slowly, towards the mid-sixties. And I know why I am really glad to live in Goostrey. Today it will be a different tale though – a typical rained-off Bank Holiday Monday is promised by the weathermen and I am dreaming of lands far away where sunshine is wall-to-wall, but just now the sun still shines!  In the spirit of grab-it-while you can I set off Saturday to take a few snaps of the village in this rare (this year) glow. Wondered why Blackden Lane was so quiet and it soon became clear. Birdsong in the great lime trees was replaced by a deep-throated tum, tum, tum as a steamer rattled in view, belching smoke, and followed in procession by a gaggle of vehicles in the narrow lane. A shriek of a greetings toot on the whistle and he was gone – labouring up Church Bank on a journey to who know where. Apart from a brief a pit stop and another steam-powered toot at the Crown where the monthly farmer’s market was in full swing! I’d planned to stroll through the village but the temptation on offer of a beer from Simon Kalton, joint owner of the inn, and the sight of Chris, the manager, with a painted tiger face was too good to resist!  Simon tells me the Dog at Over Peover  -formerly the Gay Dog in days when it meant something of a jolly good time – which he and his partner, Edward Barlow, took over and refurbished is, like the Crown, doing great things in the village. So much so he hopes to get together with the gooseberry shows held at the pubs to put on some kind of bash after this season’s battle of the berries. I’d spotted a picture in Margaret Kettle’s window showing the bongs carpeted in  a mass of bluebells, but it must have been taken either last year or several weeks ago. As you will note from my picture they were a bit of a limp disappointment when I ventured into the ancient woodland. But then again perhaps I shouldn’t have loitered over a beer on such a wonderful day!
Chris "tiger Face" Jennings 
+Click the pictures to enlarge 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

 I hear there has been a tremendous response to Goostrey's new footpath  highlighted in my last blog. One villager I encountered had just attempted the footpath - by bike! Not the best or ideal way as getting stuck in  one of the new kissing gates encumbered by the machine could have had a less romantic end! However, I am assured by the gentleman concerned that he will be walking next time. He says it  was  wonderful to experience the delights of the new public right and can certainly recommend it.  Sadly, I did not get to the official opening on the Bogbean but Roger Dyke, a member of Goostrey Footpath Group, has kindly sent me a report and several pictures of the event which I am only too pleased to publish as the rest of this blog.


From Roger Dyke

Forty folk defied the rain to witness the Mayor of Congleton East, Councillor George Walton, present Goostrey Footpath Group member Bill Owen with a plaque commemorating the opening of the new public footpath linking Goostrey to Over Peover.
At the Bogbean in the shelter of a gazebo that had to be held down against the wind, Goostrey Guides provided light refreshments and then Bill Owen outlined to the Mayor the long history of the project, from the Parish Council and Residents Association original initiative in 1995 to the present day, and thanked the County Farms team and the County’s Public Rights of Way team for their wholehearted support of the project, without which nothing could have been achieved.  
Particular thanks were also recorded to the Manchester Airport Community Fund, for its substantial financial contribution to the actual construction of the path, with its many bridges and kissing gates.
In return the Mayor congratulated the Goostrey Footpath Group on the tenacity with which the project had been pursued over the 17 years, and complimented Bill on the key role he had played personally in the extended negotiations.
The newsmen’s cameras clicked and flashed as the Mayor presented Bill with a Commemorative Plaque, and the new footpath was declared officially Open.
With the weather improving the party made its way down Mill Lane and along the new footpath to Valley Farm Wood, where a token ribbon was cut for the benefit of the press photographers.  
Despite squelchy conditions underfoot the Mayor walked with the ceremonial party through Valley Farm Wood and on into Galey Wood where he joined in the installation of the Plaque on one of the many new bridges.
The first new public footpath in Cheshire East for four years was definitely Open for Use….
Colour leaflets describing the path (and outlining two walks) are available – free – from Mrs Kettle’s, Goostrey News and Goostrey Home & Leisure.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


A map of Goostrey paths with the new link

    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