Helsby Hill
allertonOak  
Last updated 1st September 2013
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This is a very interesting walk of a little under 3 miles (4½ km) over and around Helsby Hill with a total ascent of about 300 ft (90 m). The summit of Helsby Hill has, perhaps, the best and most panoramic views in the whole area and there is the added interest of sheer cliffs, old sandstone quarry sites, the Iron Age Helsby Hill Fort and rather beautiful countryside. There are clear, well-trodden paths most of the way (with a few patches of slabby rock), sections of steps and short stretches of very quiet road. Some kind of walking boots would be an advantage and take your own refreshments.

The relevant Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Explorer map is No. 267. For further information on the locations visited, click on the images.

Detailed mapping and satellite photography for this walk courtesy of Bing Maps
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Park in the small car park [1] on Hill Road North at the entrance to Harmers Wood. Enter the wood, keeping to the rightmost paths where they divide. You soon come to Ben's Quarry [2]. The path emerges further up on Hill Road North, where you turn right. At the top of the road is Harmers Lake Farm [3], where you take the path to its left, passing the lake [4] on your right. Where the path divides, head up the hill to the right, where you will see Helsby Hill Fort [5]. Proceed directly to the trig point at the top of Helsby Hill with a gradually opening view over the Cheshire Plain towards the Welsh hills.

On reaching the summit of Helsby Hill [6] at 476 ft (145 m) you suddenly see the full panorama including the Mersey estuary, the Liverpool skyline, the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge and the distant Pennine Hills. The ground seems to vanish in front of you.

Tread carefully up to the edge of the cliffs and you will see that the ground doesn't just seem to vanish. Here the rocks, vertical and even overhanging in places, are at their most dramatic. Head to the left, keeping near the edge of the cliffs, to pick up a clear path that heads downhill and enters a wooded area. On the left the path that you didn't take earlier joins through a picturesque rocky cutting. Eventually you reach a gate onto Hill Road South. Walk down to where it meets Alvanley Road.

Just to the left along Alvanley Road is the entrance to Helsby Hill Quarry. Here follow the path that keeps downhill to the right. This eventually descends to the route of the tramway that once carried the rock down to the harbour at Ince. Along here you pass through a cutting leading to an impressive tunnel through the rock. Just past the other end of the tunnel, take a sharp left turn to head up another path where quarry working is evident. This eventually turns off to the left up steps alongside a wall of sandstone. Follow the path round until you are just above the tramway and then take the path to the right where there is an elaborately carved bench - a nice spot to have a rest. This path skirts more of the old quarry workings and then heads up a steep flight of steps on the right. Follow the path to the left to arrive back at the entrance to the quarry.

Walk to the left along Alvanley Road for a short distance until you see a broad path on the right signposted Helsby Hill Middle Walk just after some cliffs. Follow this as it curves around the western and northern slopes of Helsby Hill, with the cliffs towering above you about half-way along.

As the path bends round toward the south-east, several other paths merge in on either side. Keep on directly ahead and the path runs alongside a field with a lovely view over towards Woodhouse Hill and eventually emerges on Hill Road North. Follow the road to the right to reach the starting point, where there is a picnic table - a nice spot for refreshments.