GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Widnes Walks

19 miles (30.5 km)

This Cheshire based town has some fine walks along the river and canal which run through the area. There's also an excellent waterside park with connections to the town's chemical industry history.
This walk from the town follows the Mersey Way west to visit two of the local highlights of the area at Hale Lighthouse and Speke Hall.
The walk starts at Spike Island in Widnes. This lovely local park is located next to the St Helen's Canal and the River Mersey in the town centre. The area is thought of the birthplace of the British chemical industry and is now a splendid green space on the banks of the Mersey Estuary. From here you can pick up the Mersey Way and the Trans Pennine Trail and follow the waymarked trails west towards the Runcorn - Widnes Bridge. You continue west along the river for about 3 miles before coming to the pretty village of Hale. From here you can access a footpath down to the photogenic Hale Lighthouse. The lighthouse is in a splendid position with great views over the Mersey to Ellesmere Port.
The route continues west along Dungeon Banks to Speke Hall, passing John Lennon Airport on the way. The National Trust owned hall includes a Grade I listed house surrounded by lovely parkland and gardens. After exploring the hall the route returns to Widnes on the same paths.

Postcode

WA8 0DG - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

Widnes OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Widnes Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking

Walks near Widnes

  • Hale Lighthouse - This circular walk visits the Hale Lighthouse on the River Mersey in Cheshire
  • Mersey Way - Follow the River Mersey from Warrington to Liverpool on this waterside walk through Cheshire and Merseyside.
    The trail is often walked in two stages with the first section running from Warrington to Widnes, passing Paddington Meadows, Spike Island and Victoria Park on the way.
    The second stage runs from Widnes to Liverpool, passing the Runcorn-Widnes Bridge and John Lennon airport, before finishing at Garston
  • Trans Pennine Trail - This terrific walking and cycling trail runs from coast to coast across northern England entirely on surfaced paths
  • Speke Hall - This circular coastal walk visits the National Trust owned Speke Hall in Liverpool
  • Warrington - This circular walk around Warrington includes nice waterside stretches along the River Mersey, the Woolston Cut Canal and the Manchester Ship Canal
  • Sankey Valley Park - Enjoy a super, waterside cycle or walk in this country park in Warrington
  • Wigg Island - This circular walk visits the lovely Wigg Island park between Runcorn and Widnes in Cheshire.
  • Appleton Reservoir - This walk visits Appleton Reservoir Warrington.

Pubs/Cafes

At the start/end of the walk there's a lovely waterside cafe on Spike Island for refreshment.
On the route you could stop off in Hale village to visit the popular Childe of Hale. The pub is named after John Middleton, a local giant, born in the village in the 16th century. He is thought to have been one of the tallest people in history at over 9 feet tall. Today the associated pub serves quality food and has a good sized garden area for warmer days. You can find them opposite the war memorial at 6 Church End with a postcode of L24 4AX for your sat navs.

Dog Walking

It's a fine walk to do with your dog though you are asked to keep them on leads around Speke Hall. The Childe of Hale mentioned above is also dog friendly.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

Head east and you can try the circular Warrington Walk which visits the River Mersey, the Woolston Cut Canal and the Manchester Ship Canal.
If you cross the bridge you could try the Runcorn Walk which visits Runcorn Hill. The old sandstone quarry is now a nature reserve with great views over the estuary. Head east from Runcorn and you'll find the worthy village of Daresbury. The village is notable as the birthplace of of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll who was born there in 1832. It includes the Lewis Carroll visitor centre where you can learn all about his life and try the 'Lewis Carroll's Boyhood Walk' which runs from Daresbury church to the site of the parsonage, passing through fields and lanes that the young Carroll would have known.
Just opposite Spike Island you'll find Wigg Island on the outskirts of Runcorn. The attractive waterside park is deisgnated as a local nature reserve so is popular with local birdwatchers.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Cheshire Walks and the Merseyside Walks pages.

Photos

Spike Island Widnes - geograph.org.uk - 291463

Spike Island Widnes. Looking from the St.Helens canal towards the River Mersey and across to the other side of the river is the Manchester Ship Canal, to the right of this picture is the Widnes Runcorn road bridge and next to that the railway bridge, both just out of sight. Access to the river Mersey by the boats in Spike Island is still possible but as the river is tidal this is only possible with the tidal conditions. Up until the early 1960s the river could be crossed by a few vehicles and foot passengers on the old transporter bridge. The transporter was a massive steel structured bridge high above the water, a moving platform was hung from the main structure and was pulled across the river slung some 70 feet below the main frame of the bridge. It was like a giant moving swing, and it felt like a swing whenever you travelled on it. Only a small number of vehicles could be carried on each crossing of the river, but back then the traffic requiring to cross from one bank to the other was far smaller than today's hustle & bustle.

Swans and pleasurecraft at Spike Island, Widnes - geograph.org.uk - 40758

This is the very end of the Sankey canal just before it enters the river Mersey near to the Runcorn Bridge. Spike Island was the birthplace of the British chemical industry. In the late 19th century the area was dominated by huge factories and a maze of railway lines criss-crossed the Island. A network of footpaths has replaced the railway lines on the Island, allowing you to explore the site and enjoy expansive views across the River and up the Sankey Canal to Warrington and beyond. Many different kinds of birds and other animals can be seen at Spike Island and on the marshes towards Fiddler's Ferry. The catalyst museum is nearby and with canalside walks, acres of grassland and woodland to explore, visitor centre, picnic area, quiet spots for fishing and many water fowl this is a good spot to take the family.

Toll Booth for Transporter Bridge, Widnes - geograph.org.uk - 285623

Toll Booth for Transporter Bridge, Widnes. This is the redundant sandstone toll booth for the original transporter bridge which crossed the Mersey at this point before the building of the Silver Jubilee Bridge. The transporter bridge opened in 1905 at a cost of £137,663 6s 4d. With a span of 1000 ft and height above high water of 82 ft it took two and a half minutes to cross the river and could carry twelve vehicles and 300 passengers. It closed on July 22nd 1961 and was demolished a year or so later costing £2,000 more than it cost to build.

Spring Tide at Widnes Warth - geograph.org.uk - 374362

Spring Tide at Widnes Warth. Widnes Warth is an area of saltmarsh and mudflats, usually a green marshy area between the river Mersey and Sankey Canal but occasionally during the year, at very high tides, it is covered by the incoming water. Widnes Warth, a haven for birds and wildlife, will soon receive Local Nature Reserve status. It is designated as a Special Protection Area for birds and a Site of Special Scientific Interest and at present major environmental and visitor facility improvements are being made, including the construction of raised boardwalks with improved visitor access. Fiddler's Ferry power station can clearly be seen in the background.

Victoria Promenade, West Bank, Widnes - geograph.org.uk - 285631

Victoria Promenade, West Bank, Widnes. This promenade was popular with the Victorians before the building of the transporter bridge when the river Mersey offered fresh air and there were uninterrupted views to the Cheshire countryside.

Lighthouse at Hale point - geograph.org.uk - 40618

Hale Head Light, Merseyside (Liverpool Area). Lighthouse at Hale point. Standing on a sandstone cliff, the present Hale Lighthouse dates from 1906. It replaced a shorter tower built seventy years earlier. The 45 ft tower put the lamp chamber 70ft above mean sea level, which is not much as lighthouses go. Yet the lamp's beam could be seen from as far away as forty miles. Unfortunately, it's now many years since the lighthouse was operational. Its 250 candlepower oil lamp last shone out in 1958, when it was tentatively decommissioned on a trial basis. The trial became permanent and the lighting equipment was removed. It is now a private residence. Note Helsby Hill in the distance and the stacks and towers of Stanlow Oil Refinery on the horizon.

Speke Hall - geograph.org.uk - 47998

Speke Hall. In a most unlikely setting, at the edge of a modern industrial estate and bordering on the runway of Liverpool Airport, stands this enchanting black and white, half-timbered Tudor mansion. Having suffered long periods of desertion and neglect, it is little short of a miracle that the building has survived at all, but even more surprising is that is has remained virtually unaltered since it was first built for the Norris family some 500 years ago. It is considered to be one of the most outstanding examples of its kind. Its present form dates from the period 1490-1612, but there was an earlier house on or near the site of the present building.

Light Gantry, John Lennon Airport - geograph.org.uk - 303832

Light Gantry, John Lennon Airport. Light gantry for the runway at Liverpool John Lennon Airport which juts out into the river Mersey near Speke Hall. The known history of the manor of Speke, or 'Spec' (brushwood in Old English), goes back to the Domesday survey of 1086 which records that it was one of several properties held by Uctred in 1066. When Adelaide Watt came into her inheritance of Speke Hall, she set about developing a huge new farm complex, and was determined that such an historic property should be preserved for all time, irrespective of the massive amount of industrial development that was fast spreading out from the city. Having made a limited provision in her will to save the house, the estate was sold after she died in 1921, and the farm complex transformed into an aerodrome. It is amazingly surreal to be wandering along the uneven corridors of the hall, quietly absorbed in the atmosphere of a romantic Elizabethan courtyard house, when suddenly the throaty sounds of a 21st century jet rudely interrupts the visions of a more genteel way of life.

Video

GPS Files

GPX File

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Memory Map Route

Widnes.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Share>Save to Files)