A lush adventure through rural Britain – riding the Cheshire Cycleway

Bike Touring Collection by komoot

Magnificent black and white timber-framed halls, sprawling parklands once used as hunting grounds during medieval times, peaceful churches on the banks of glistening Meres – the Cheshire Cycleway is a fascinating journey through Cheshire, one of England’s finest counties.

This Collection guides you through the Cheshire Cycleway in seven stages covering a total of 214 miles (346 km). Ranging in length from 19 miles (31 km) to 38 miles (62 km), the sections are suitable for everyone, whether you are a mile cruncher or relaxed rider. You can also easily combine the sections together or shorten them to suit you.

Whether you prefer flat canal towpaths or getting stuck into a climb, you will find what you are looking for along the route. You will climb a total of 2470 meters (8103 feet) over the seven sections with only a few challenging climbs.

The Cheshire Cycleway reveals the very best of Cheshire including fascinating historical sites and beautiful nature spots. With endless green fields and enchanting woodland, Cheshire is mostly rural. Its tranquil countryside is occasionally interrupted by sleepy villages and thriving market towns such as Crewe, Macclesfield and Ellesmere Port.

Along the way, you will ride through the stunning Peak District National Park with its dry-stone walls and moody rolling hills, and visit countless Meres (lakes) which define the Cheshire landscape. You will also discover the Wirral Peninsular where you can learn about the region’s industrial past.

From singletrack to cycle paths and country lanes to gruelling climbs – cycling in Cheshire offers a varied ride. You can bring along any bike for your adventure whether you prefer to ride a racing bike or your trusty touring stead. You could also consider renting a bike in Chester.

As the route is a circular, you can join at any point, making it easy to cycle end-to-end. You will also find many train stations along the way. We have chosen to start and end the route in Chester as it shares excellent rail connections with the rest of the UK. You can travel to the town directly from London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester by train.

A picturesque town on the edge of the River Dee, Chester is a popular holiday destination. Here, you can roam its Roman streets, wander around its magnificent cathedral or indulge in one of the town’s excellent restaurants. Chester also has a huge range of places to spend the night.

Set aside some time, prepare your bike and travel to Chester – all that is left is to enjoy this relaxing journey through the green landscape of Cheshire.

For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/live/departures/chester
For more information on visiting Chester, visit: visitcheshire.com/chester

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    03:09
    30.1 mi
    9.5 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    From medieval cobbled streets to vast wetland reserves; your first day cycling the Cheshire Cycleway takes you from the Roman city of Chester around the Wirral Peninsular to Ellesmere. Covering in elevation 230 meters (xx feet) over 30 miles (50km), today is a gentle introduction into Cheshire life.

    With ancient castles, Roman architecture and Viking remains, Chester is a historic city that is well worth whittling away a few hours. Today, this thriving city is a popular destination for its mix of history and modern developments.

    You will leave Chester via a cycleway which follows the Shropshire Union Canal for X miles (9km) taking you into the surrounding countryside. Next, you will follow country lanes passing Capenhurst village and the huge Nuclear plant here. But, not to worry, the plant is surrounded by nature and, within a few miles, you will reach Burton Nature Reserve. It is worth spending some time exploring Burton’s boardwalks and paths around the wildlife-rich Mere.

    The route then takes you into Neston, known as Cheshire’s only ‘coastal resort’. Once an important port and mining town, Neston has faced much change over the past decades. The Ness Botanic Gardens in the town are a popular spot to stop for a picnic.

    Shortly after Neston, you will join a singletrack along the Wirral Way through the countryside, passing small Meres along the way, before arriving in Ellesmere Port. Here, you can visit the National Waterways Museum to learn more about the town’s history. There is also a variety of accommodation from self-catering to hotels.

    Intermediate
    02:40
    27.0 mi
    10.1 mph
    825 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Picture this: you listen to the birds sing and twigs crack beneath your tyres as you cycle through thick woodland, you pass by a glistening lake and further into the rolling Cheshire countryside. Stage two takes you to 26 miles (43 km) through some of the prettiest corners of Cheshire from Ellesmere Port to Comberback.

    Your journey begins with an easy flat stretch which follows country lanes through sleepy villages and nature. After 7.5 miles (12 km), you will reach Mickle Trafford, a lovely village with a historic Church, manor and mill. Next, you will cross over the River Gowy and continue through the countryside. Manley Mere is a lovely spot to stop for lunch.

    Shortly after the lake, you will meet your first climbs of the day which are all very manageable and gradual.

    After passing Mouldsworth train station, you will turn eastwards into Delamere Forest. The largest section of woodland in Cheshire, this is one of the most beautiful sections of the Cheshire Cycleway.

    Leaving the forest, you will continue through rural Cheshire passing the villages of Norley and Little Leigh before arriving in Comberbach, the final destination of stage two. Here, you will find a Post Office shop and pub. Comberbach has limited accommodation options but you will find some holiday rentals available on Airbnb.

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  • Intermediate
    03:10
    32.3 mi
    10.2 mph
    1,100 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your third stage of adventure will take you 31 miles (52 km) from Comberback to Prestbury guaranteeing peaceful countryside, beautiful parkland and stunning views across Cheshire. With one longer climb towards the end of your ride, today is one of the hillier sections, climbing 340 meters (1115 feet) in total.

    Setting off from Comberbach, you will skirt around the historic Marbury Country Park to Great Budworth, a great place to stop for breakfast.

    Next, the cycleway follows quiet rural lanes through patchwork farmland and meres. After 15 miles (25 km), you will reach Rostherne where it’s worth taking a small detour to visit Tatton Park, a regal estate with extensive parklands owned by the National Trust. You can bring your bicycle into the parklands for free.

    After rejoining the route, you will cycle to Ashley village and continue through rural Cheshire. As the route runs adjacent to the railway line, you will often pass closeby to stations such as Mobberley.

    After 27 miles (44 km), the route starts to climb up Artists Lane towards the Armada Beacon. As the beacon once had to be seen across the region to warn of impending danger, it has incredible panoramic views over the rolling hills of Cheshire.

    From here, you will cycle through Over Alderley and around Hare Hill Gardens before reaching Prestbury where you can relax your legs for the evening. A thriving market town, Prestbury has various eateries and accommodation to ensure you have a comfortable stay.

    Difficult
    02:16
    19.5 mi
    8.6 mph
    1,950 ft
    1,875 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    From fascinating museums to beautiful reservoirs and gruelling climbs to gushing waterfalls – stage four of the Cheshire Cycleway is a varied 19 mile (31 km) ride from Prestbury to Macclesfield.

    Today, you will climb 590 meters (1935 feet) through stunning landscapes as you enter the Peak District National Park. With dry-stone wall lined farmland and wild scenery, the Peak District is a haven for cyclists.

    Setting off from Prestbury, you will cycle through the green belt between Macclesfield and Prestbury before entering the Peak District National Park just after Bollington. Nothing welcomes you to the Peak District like a tough climb: you will climb for 2 miles (4km) into the park. But, the views both on the way and at the top are fantastic and will keep your legs motivated.

    As you won’t find many supplies in the park, it’s a good idea to carry enough food and water with you from Bollington. You will cycle through remote landscapes and serene wilderness surrounded by more sheep than cars and people for the next 9 miles (15 km).

    Aside from two short climbs: one after Lamaload Reservoir and just before you leave the National Park near Allgreave, you will descend through the incredible rolling hills.

    When you arrive in Sutton Lane End, you have reached the end of one of the most stunning sections of the Cheshire Cycleway. The road will become busier, but manageable, as you head into Macclesfield. A bustling town, Macclesfield has heaps of restaurants and accommodation options to suit any budget.

    Intermediate
    03:51
    39.0 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,275 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On stage five of the Cheshire Cycleway, you will cycle 37 miles (60 km) from Macclesfield to Crewe. Today, you will discover Cheshire’s rich past as you visit medieval halls and Tudor houses.

    Shortly after leaving Macclesfield, you will find yourself in the countryside once more as you cycle past Sutton Reservoir and over the Macclesfield Canal in Oakgrove. From here, the road descends gradually through the countryside until Gawsworth where you will find the National Trust woodland Maggoty Woods as well as the beautiful Gawsworth Hall timber-framed house.

    From Gawsworth, you will continue over undulating hills through the countryside before arriving in the second historical house of your ride, Capesthorne Hall, after 11 miles (17 km).

    Next, you will take Congleton Road towards, you guessed it, Congleton. This road can become busy, especially during rush hour, but you will only follow it for a couple of miles before turning off onto peaceful rural lanes once more.

    On the outskirts of Congleton, you can relax by Astbury Mere before pedalling further into the heart of Cheshire. The final 15 miles (24 km) take you over the Trent and Mersey Canal, and through more peaceful countryside. You will pass through villages such as Oakhanger and Weston, each with its unique charm, before arriving in Crewe.

    Once an important engineering and railway center, Crewe is an interesting city to end your fifth stage of adventure. You could visit the Crewe Heritage Center to learn more about the city’s past. There are also a range of accommodation options and restaurants to suit every budget.

    Intermediate
    03:42
    38.7 mi
    10.5 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Quaint villages, tranquil canals, and calm lakes await you on your sixth day cycling the Cheshire Cycleway. Today, you will ride 38 miles (62 km) from Crewe to Tilston.

    You will leave Crewe via minor roads and cycleways and find yourself surrounded by countryside within a few miles. Your first stop is Hough, a sleepy village with a friendly pub and historic hall. From here, you will follow lanes through Wybunbury and green farmland before reaching Audlem, a large village on the Shropshire Union Canal.

    From Audlem, the route runs parallel to the River Weaver as it continues through the countryside. After 14 miles (23 km), you will leave the river and arrive at Comber Mere. On the side of the peaceful waters, you will find Combermere Abbey which is worth a visit.

    Next, you will reach Marbury, a small village flanked by two meres, before crossing over the Llangollen Canal and wiggling through the green landscape following hedge-lined lanes.

    You will pass through No Mans Heath, named so as it once had acres of common land with no specific owner, before arriving in Malpas. Here, you will find a few friendly pubs where you can stop for lunch.

    From Malpas, the route descends towards Threapwood and passes through Shocklach before arriving in Tilston. This quiet village was once a Roman town called Bovium before passing into the hands of the Anglo Saxons after the Battle of Hastings. Today, you will find a friendly village with a great pub, the Carden Arms, which offers overnight accommodation.

    Intermediate
    03:04
    28.4 mi
    9.3 mph
    1,475 ft
    1,575 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Roman ruins, Iron Age forts and beautiful hills – the final stage of your adventure cycling the Cheshire Cycleway leads you through centuries of history from Tilston to Chester. Today, you will put your muscles to good use as you take on two small hills, climbing 450 meters (1476 feet) over 27 miles (45 km).

    The route starts with a small loop into the countryside passing through Tilston twice. If you wish to shorten today’s ride, you could cut this out. Next, you will climb for a few miles towards Larkton Hill. At the top, your effort will be rewarded with panoramic views over the countryside as well as a visit to Maiden Castle.

    From here, you will have a small downhill before climbing once more to Rawhead. Steep in places, this is a tough climb. If you wish to avoid it, you can continue on to Harthill village. Next, your muscles will be rewarded with a downhill stretch into Burwardsley.

    You may want to stop at the Pheasant Inn for a water top up and lunch as you will not pass many villages for the next 11 miles (17 km). The next stretch takes you through quiet rural Cheshire, passing Beeston Castle and following the Shropshire Union Canal in places.

    At Christleton, you will join the canal once more as it flows into Chester marking the end of the Cheshire Cycleway. Chester has great transport links with the rest of the UK. With direct connections to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, London and Cardiff, you can easily return home by rail.

    For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/live/departures/chester

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    215 mi
  • Duration
    21:53 h
  • Elevation
    8,100 ft