Walk 2 - Redesmere, Fanshawe Brook and Lingard Farm

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Henbury, Cheshire

Easy, with some road walking and a useful shortcut.

This is a circular walk: start anywhere and go either way. We describe it counterclockwise, starting at Redesmere (G.R. 850 715) where parking is easy. We also describe two possible extensions, of one and two miles respectively.

From the Redesmere duck-feeding area walk S.E. towards the A34. 50 m beyond the end of the mere go left over a stile by a gate. Follow the field edge to another stile and go half left up to a stile 50 m to the right of the top left corner of the field. Continue along the same line, making for the leftmost of the trees ahead, to a stile by a gate out onto the B5392 road by Simonswood Farm. Go left on the road for 1 km. Opposite Henshaw Lane on the right, take the stony access track on the left just before a house. There is a path to the left after 200 metres; this is theshortcut* which we describe below. Straight on, follow the track to pass Hazelwall (3 houses) on left and curl left round the last one of these through a kissing gate into a short wooded lane leading to a stile. Over the stile drop down a field to a stile in the copse and cross Fanshawe Brook by a footbridge and another stile.

Fanshawe Brook is the Parish boundary between Siddington and Henbury. Originally it was fed by the Bag Brook (behind the Cock Inn), but in 1717 William Meredith of Henbury Hall diverted the Bag Brook into his estate to feed a water mill, to the annoyance of John Ward whose Capesthorne mill was fed by Fanshawe Brook via Redesmere.

Climb the field with hedge on left and, at the top with farm buildings on the right, go over a stile to Fanshawe Lane. The next lane to the right has a short connecting footpath to Sandbach Farm, and on to Huntley Wood and Bearhurst. The lane leads on to Henbury Moss Farm, with another footpath leading south to Thorneycroft.

Opposite the lane are Fanshawe Cottage (the home of Maria Rathbone, whose tragic death aged 8 on a shopping expedition in December 1822 is recounted in the Henbury History) and Apostle Cottage, which once housed a Sunday School: the yard between the two cottages used to be called Hallelujah Square!

Continue north on the road, past a track on the right (to Sandbach Farm) and on for another 400m to Lingards Farm on the left.

Henbury Moss, with its closely packed farms and cottages is believed to be the oldest part of Henbury. The earliest record of Lingards Farm, where the house once contained wattle and daub, is a lease by Sir Fulk Lucy and Dame Isabella of Henbury Hall to John Harrop in 1667. The premises were conveyed in 1713 to John Lingard, a blacksmith of Monks Heath. Later the farm was sold to the Capesthorne estate, and a recent occupant thought that an earlier tenant used to do the Capesthorne laundry.

Take the rough track to the left on the far side of Lingards Farm and over a stile by a gate. You are now on an ancient carriageway from Capesthorne to Macclesfield. Continue with the hedge on your right to another stile in 15 m. Keep the hedge on your right and in 100 m you come to a green lane. Stay on the track at this point (ignore the stile a little to left). You pass a track to Marlheath Farm on right.

Marl Heath, or Marl Earth Farm is a timber framed farmhouse, dating back at least to the 17th century, when it was called Cragg's Tenement. At various times it has been owned by the Henbury and the Capesthorne estates.

Keep with the track to pass Henbury Lodge and in ¾ Km you come to the A34 opposite Capesthorne East Lodge.

Henbury, Cheshire

Capesthorne, the seat of the Bromley-Davenports (open to the public at certain times) is worth a diversion. The present house, built in 1722, replaced a 15th century building nearby. The Davenport and Ward families, ancestors of the present owners are believed to have lived on this site since Domesday times.

Go left on the road for ½ Km and where the road bends right go left on a track, through a gate and so to Redesmere on your right. When the fence on the left curls off left go straight on towards the Sailing Club entrance. Pass the entrance to a facing gate ahead to a path through trees.

Fanshawe Vicarage can be glimpsed through trees on the left. Although it used to be the vicarage for Siddington, it actually lies within Henbury Parish. A vicar's son, Wilfrid Elstobb who lived here was awarded the D.S.O. in 1917 and a posthumous Victoria Cross in March 1918 for valour on the front line at St Quentin.

Go over a footbridge and in 50 m, when the bridle path goes off left to Fanshawe Brook Lane, go straight on over a stile to a path which takes you between fence and wood to another stile and on across field to a stile out on to the road. Go right and back to the car: there is usually an ice-cream van as a reward!).

*The shortcut from Hazelwall is a direct route across fields, well marked by stiles, to a muddy crossing of Fanshawe Brook at the start of Fanshawe Brook Lane, which leads to Fanshawe Vicarage and the end of the main walk. On this lane there are some attractive thatched cottages, including Glebe Cottage which must at one time have belonged to Siddington Church.

Henbury Society

Extension 2a. Start from Redesmere by walking south 300 m along the A34 and turn left on the B5392. After 80 m take the driveway to Siddington Church on the right, and on down a path facing the porch, through a gate into a field. Go slightly right across fields via 3 stiles; over the third go down the field leaving the fence on the left to reach a stile by a pond. With the bank on your left, cross a stile on your left and make for Northwood Farm. Take the stile just before the farm gate, skirt the farm and turn left along a farm track for 1 Km to Marton Lane.

Follow Marton Lane to the left for 400 m; just before a wood turn left on a track to Crabtree Moss Farm. Go through the farm yard and through a facing gate. Follow a hedge and take the track to the right through two gates. Approaching Henshaw Hall Farm, ignore a path to the right, and after 100 m turn right, through the farm outbuildings to the access road, which becomes Henshaw Lane. Cross the B5393 to rejoin the main walk.