If you’re a lover of the outdoors and exploring too, you might very well recognise the scenario of opting out of sorting stuff at home in pursuit of an outside adventure. We have been falling into that trap for years, which is something that we are now addressing. As such, we dedicate part of our weekend to chores and house stuff then treat ourselves with a local walk. The other week it was Dunham, this week it was a wander around Wilmslow.
Quarry Bank Mill
We are very lucky as National trust members as there are so many properties in the area. This is mainly down to the Industrial Revolution and our wonderful canal systems. Quarry Bank Mill is one of these amazing places, and it is only a short drive from home. This means that it is a perfect destination for a post chore wander.
As we are there quite regularly due to this fact, it is nice to head out into Styal Country Park and onto Wilmslow for a wander for a change. I didn’t take many photographs on the wander (but you can catch some snippets in the weekly vlog) It was a wonderfully warm day and although there were plenty of people about, it was pleasantly quiet.
The sound of rushing water
Whenever we visit Quarry Bank Mill, we are always drawn by the sound of the rushing water over the stepped weir. It is not just the sound that is interesting about this part of the grounds, it is that is also houses the Kaplan Turbine. The Kaplan turbine is a hydro power station (in basic terms) and generates enough electricity to supply half the needs of Quarry Bank Mill. The amount could power the mill for 200 days. So not only are you getting to immerse yourself into nature, you get to learn about historic industry and modern technology all in one place. Pretty cool.
The walk we takes up back up the hill from the water towards the woods. A welcoming shade when the sun gets intense during midday. It is a simple path to follow and way markers are in place to keep you on track.
To be totally honest, I was in awe at the number of people opting to stay in the sunshine! Maybe I’m far to pale and northern for this kind of temperature? That or I walk far too fast for temperatures above 17 degrees? Either way, I was enjoying the cool breeze offered beneath the canopy of trees.
Bringing back memories
As we wandered through the woods, we reminisced over our beloved first borrow dog, Belle. We used to bring her here all the time to send her into the water for a swim and to explore the woods, sniffing out every fox trail and scent marking. It reminded me that I need to sort out borrowing more dogs, as I do miss their company on wanders like this one. One of the funniest memories was Belle doing a huge poo right in the middle path at the end of the drive of one of the massive houses! Of all places!
Wander towards Wilmslow
Our shady sanctuary was to come to a rather abrupt end as we neared the main park. There were definitely more people in this part of Styal. Crowds of people lined the banks of the river. People sunbathing and picnicking on the verges.
Only on further investigation did we discover that there was a village fete and duck race going on. The park was buzzing with the excitement of children splashing in the water with delight, dogs barking at the splashes and the hum of people chatting in the sunshine. It was how you imagine all parks should look and sound on a day like that. It is days like that when you pick up Right Move and start checking out local house prices.
After soaking up the atmosphere for as long as we could handle the heat, we ventured on towards Wilmslow Village.
Having grown up in a very small village, I do enjoy one with a bit more to it (sorry, Willaston!) We took a shortcut through the church yard as I always find it interesting to learn about an area from the graves that are there. And there were some grand ones here – not overshadowing the ones in our local Philips Park Cemetery, but very impressive all the same. Especially for a village.
Once in Wilmslow, we meandered through the streets via the local shops and plentiful coffee shops. People laughing and chatting. It certainly has a different feel to it that we get in our district centre, but really there is no comparison.
Of course we browsed through the window of the estate agents at the million pound homes, wishing that just one would give us a small plot for the Dwelle house we would like to build, before making our way forward on our mini adventure.
Back to Styal
Although interesting and fun walking around the housing areas, it is not so cool to be taking photographs, so you will just have to imagine of nip over to Google street view for a virtual tour.
We started to make our way back to Styal Country Park in a zig zagging route to make the most of the walk back. Before we knew it, we were being greeted by that delicious cool canopy again. A welcome break from the sunshine and a nice place to be finishing our walk.
Chance for a different take
One of my favourite things about walking the same route in both directions is how different it seems from another angle. As we walked back to Quarry Bank Mill, you could very easily thought it was a different route. The light was softer, the greens more vivid and for some reason, the plant popped a lot more than earlier. The foxgloves growing from the soil in the roots of a fallen tree was something of a highlight in the discoveries on our way back.
Getting things done
Rather than taking you back to the car park, I’ll leave you mind in the woods with the foxgloves and dappled sunshine. It really does go to show that the local places can be a heaven for getting some outdoor time. And it doesn’t have to be a the expense of the chores at home or the work that needs doing.
Life is about balance and finding what works for you. We knew that we loved spending time outdoors, but we would have it with that little niggle in the backs of our minds that we “should” have been doing some of the other things. Now though, with this new approach, we can get the best of both worlds. We can explore our local area, in directions we may not have experience before, and also sot some bits on the house.
We now have a nice(er) space to come back to from our wanders and adventures. Which, honestly, is a really good thing!
Are you someone who can get whisked away on days outside rather than sorting home bits? Or are you the other way round?
How would you like to split your time doing both?
Let me know in the comments.