257 am Shotton to Neston

I arrive back in Shotton on a damp and misty morning. I walk through the railway stations (both of them)…

01 train station, Shotton, Ruth's coastal walk

… and have a little difficulty finding the correct path. It’s unsigned, at the end of a platform, and soon I’m walking down the remembered cycle way, hemmed in by metal fences…

02 Ruth's coastal walk, Shotton

… back to the banks of the Dee. No shortage of signage here. But instead of turning right towards Chester, today I’m going to cross the Hawarden Bridge.

03 Hawarden bridge, Ruth walking the coast River Dee

I’m back on the National Cycle Network Route 5 , but not for long.

This next section of my trek has been a vague worry at the back of my mind for weeks. Because, after nearly two years of following a clearly waymarked trail (the Wales Coast Path), I’ve grown lazy. Now it’s back to reading the map and plotting my own route.

There is no footpath along the north bank of the Dee, according to my OS map, because it’s all marsh and reclaimed land, including a firing range. So I was anticipating walking a circuitous route inland along footpaths and roads, via the villages of Shotwick and Burton, until I reached Neston.

But then I discovered there’s a new cycle track open. Hooray! Route 568 – also called the Burton Marsh Greenway. It’s not yet marked on my OS map. And here is where it leaves Route 5.

04 cycle-walkway to Chester, Ruth's coatal walk

The beginning is not very promising. Fences with wasteland and industrial units beyond, hung with ‘Private’ signs and threats of surveillance cameras (just when I realise I need a wee!).

05 fencing, Ruth's coastal walk to Neston

It’s the first week in August and there are plenty of wild flowers still in bloom. This turns what could have been a tedious trudge into a pleasant experience.

06 wild flowers, cycleway to Neston, Ruth's coatal walk

As usual, I take far too many photos. No wonder it takes me so long to get anywhere. [You can see a few of my flower photos on my Ruthless Ramblings site: here.]

I don’t meet any other walkers, just the occasional cyclist.

07 Deeside industrial park, Ruth's coastal walk

And then the cycle way joins a road. This is Deeside Industrial Park, but I’m walking along quite a pleasant tree-lined avenue.

08 Ruth walking through the Deeside Industrial Park

I wonder if the trees were here first, or whether they’ve been planted. They look well-established. I pass a Toyota unit, with huge gates. I can’t see any cars. And then a Morrison’s Farmer’s Boy plant. Doesn’t look like a farm.

09a welsh flag, Ruth Livingstone in Deeside

A flag reminds me I’m back in Wales. Originally I thought the River Dee was the border, but that’s not strictly true.

09b wind sock, Ruth Livingstone in the Dee Industrial Park

And, above a hedge, I spot a wind sock. It sits on the edge of a car park and is surrounded by buildings. Seems out-of-place. Why is it here?

Is it for aircraft? Maybe for helicopters? (I imagine rich bosses flying in to inspect their factories.) Or maybe for the benefit of high-sided HGV lorries?

I reach a T junction and check my Garmin. To my surprise, this road is called Tenth Avenue. (Cue Bruce Springsteen.) Now I have that tune playing in my head… but that’s fine. It’s a great track, and cheers up a not-so-great road.

10 Tenth Avenue, Dee industry, Ruth hiking The Wirral

As I leave the Deeside Industrial Park, I walk past a ‘Hazardous Area’. Beehives.

11 beehives, Deeside Industrial Park, Ruth Livingstone hiking

And then pass through a tunnel under the A548 – my old foe – I hate that road. I share the tunnel with the railway line, and some rather un-inspired graffiti.

12 bridge uder the A548, Ruth hiking to Neston

Now it’s time to pass under the railway line. A sign with an arrow informs me this little road leads to the ‘Sealand Range’, the ‘Danger Area’ marked on my map. I think the sign looks surprisingly amateurish for an MOD firing range.

13 to Sealand Range, Ruth hiking to Neston

I follow the tarmac track.

14 new access for walkers, Ruth hiking from Shotton to Neston

On my left, across the fields, are the four towers of the Power Station, on the other side of the River Dee.

16 over the fields to Flint Power Station, Ruth hiking the Wirral

This track is called ‘Ralphs Way’. Why? Who was Ralph? [Later I search the Internet but can’t find the answer to this question. Does anyone know?]

17 Ralphs Way, Ruth hiking to Neston

On my right is a railway track and an old rail car. Love those old wagons.

18 old railway car, Ruth hiking to Neston

No walkers here, but I meet several cyclists. Ahead is a crest of land. Once this area would have been under water. Would that hillock have been on the edge of the shore?

19 cyclists on the new cycle way to Neston, Ruth's coastal walk

To my left is a panoramic view across green fields covered in sheep. The targets on the shooting range are visible beyond a bank. The Dee is invisible, but the power station still dominates the landscape.

20 across the fiedls to the Dee and Connah's Quay, Ruth hiking to Neston

Ahead is an official-looking signpost. ‘Welcome to England’.

21 welcome to England, Ruth Livingstone trekking in The Wirral

Once again, I’m leaving Wales behind. This time for good.

[To be continued…]

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 16 Anglesey and North Wales and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 257 am Shotton to Neston

  1. John Gale says:

    Hi Ruth – You are doing well! The Burton Marsh Greenway, well you were lucky. That was certainly not there when I walked from Parkgate (Neston) through to the A548 back in 2012. I actually did manage to walk along the north bank of the Dee which involved pushing my way through 8′ high reeds. Then, because it was a Sunday, I ‘trespassed’ through the firing range, but had to climb over the security gate (unmanned) which is not to be recommended!
    For your interest, I have reached Rochester and now have less than 100 miles to go, aiming to reach Tower Bridge (where I started off) on Saturday 17th September, which will be day 405 and a total mileage of about 7,200 miles.

  2. I will look forward to reading your blog about the Wirrall. I’ve walked round the Wirrall from Birkenhead to Hooton (using The Wirral Way route). I’m interested to see what you do with Ellesmere Port & crossing the Mersey 🙂

    • I’d never been to the Wirral before, but it’s been a lovely experience. And the Wirral Way is a wonderful track. I’ve only followed parts of it, but it would make a lovely day’s walking.

  3. Marie Keates says:

    The new cycle path was a stroke of luck. Well done for finishing Wales for a second time 🙂

  4. Karen White says:

    I love the old rail car.
    What a huge achievement to finally finish Wales.

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