Walking: Race around Chester
Train operator Northern has launched a series of walks, which start and finish at railway stations, in time for the start of the spring walking season.
Working with experts from the popular TV series Walks Around Britain, Northern has developed a range of walks to suit all abilities.
They include city walks, coastal walks, walks suitable for young children and scenic walks – all of which can all be downloaded from Northern’s website and include step-by-step guides, time guides, difficulty grading, dog friendliness and map including OS references please visit www.northernrailway.co.uk/walks for more details of all walks.
This week’s walk is to visit the magnificent Roman walls of Chester providing a fantastic vantage point to see the sights of this lovely city – and all a short distance from the railway station.
1) From Chester Railway Station, head left and start walking down City Road. After a while, City Road crosses over the Shropshire Union Canal Main Line and shortly after reaches Chester’s funny square roundabout – The Bars. Use the subway on the left to cross underneath it and turn right onto Foregate Street.
2) Walk along Foregate Street away from The Bars, and notice how the buildings get increasingly older as you journey further into the heart of the city. Eventually, Foregate Street turns into a pedestrianised area, with cars coming from the right down Frodsham Street. Carry on along Foregate Street until you reach the archway bridge.
3) This is Eastgate – a part of the city’s famous walls – and above the archway is a clock, designed to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria in 1897. Take the steps on the right between the wall and the Clarks shop, to reach the top of Eastgate – and turn right to start walking away.
4) Soon, Chester’s magnificent Cathedral is on the left – which can just be seen through the trees. This building dates back to 1093, and has been modified several times since. Keep walking, and soon you reach the first corner of the walls, marked with a building called the King Charles Tower – or Phoenix Tower.
Once a medieval watch-tower, it was the meeting place for a group of painters, whose badge was the phoenix – hence the fine carving above the door.
5) Carry on along the walls, and on the right directly below is the Shropshire Union Canal in association with again. Soon, the walls become a bridge - and this is Northgate – traditionally the highest point in the city of Chester.
You are still able to take in the view however the bridge is currently undergoing renovation. Take the stairs to the left and follow the diversion signs until you climb up the stairs back onto the wall on Water Tower Street.
This bridge was built between 1808-10, using local sandstone from Runcorn. Further along is Morgan’s Mount, a distinctive square tower with steps you can climb leading to the platform on the top.
6) Once you’ve crossed over the Inner Ring Road using the 1960s bridge, and the railway, you’ll reach a tower called the Water Tower at the next corner. This was one of two towers built to defend the port of Chester.
The bridge is currently undergoing work so take the path to the left using the crossing to get over Watergate Street and rejoin the walls on the other side of the bridge.
The walls cross over the railway again, and on the right is Chester’s Racecourse – the oldest still in use in England. Continue ahead, and after the pedestrian crossing, you’ll see the buildings of the Crown Court and the remains of Chester Castle. Once on the other side, keep to the left on the flagged path.
7) The next section is the only missing bit of the walls inside the city, so follow the paved walkway across the road and follow it alongside the River Dee on your right. Then, continue to follow the paved walkway as it crosses back over the road, and onto the raised walls again to walk over Bridgegate – the main route into the city from Wales.
8) The wall follows the River Dee for a while, and then turns left to head northwards.
Soon the city’s Roman Garden is on the right; built in 1949 to display fragments from the Roman fort of Deva. Further on, and by looking to the right on Newgate, you should just see another Roman part of Chester- the Amphitheatre. It was the largest in Britain, and well worth a visit.
9) From Newgate, the walls continue on between shops and hotels until you reach Eastgate. Climb down the same steps you walked up, and turn left to head down Foregate Street. Use the subway again to reach City Road, and follow it all the way back to the Railway Station.
Chester City Centre walk
• Distance – 3.2 miles / 5.2 km
• Minimum time – 1 ½ hours
• Grade – Easy – city roads and old Roman walls
• Map – OS Landranger 117 / Explorer 266
• Dog Friendliness – Always keep on leads
• Nearest station – Chester