Local: Peover Hall from the Snowdrop Café at Grasslands Garden Centre
Dating back to 1585, the Elizabethan manor house of Peover Hall is hidden away in the small parish of Peover Superior. The hall is a private house and not open to the public; but there are numerous footpaths and bridleways that pass through the estate and are a pleasure to walk.
My favourite Nordic walk, is a circular route from the Grasslands Garden Centre, looping through the Peover Hall estate and the surrounding countryside and back to the Snowdrop café for tea and cake.
In any season, there is always a good walk to be had in this beautiful and delightful part of East Cheshire. The footpaths can be muddy in Winter, but this is soon forgotten when we see the sheer delight of the snow drops and later the bluebells covering the ground in spring.
Adjacent to the church, at the back of the hall, there is a quaint pet cemetery where generations of estate dogs have been laid to rest. There are some fantastic names, and this never fails to make me smile.
Much of what delights me about walking in this area are all the family memories bringing our son Jack to walk and learn to cycle in the area. Great Wood was a firm favourite for a Sunday afternoon; often playing Pooh sticks from the bridge over the Peover Eye.
We have cycled the bridleways and raced down the lanes on our bikes with the riding progressing from, me encouraging Jack when he was 5, to him laughing and encouraging me he was 12.
We liked it so much, we recently moved to Goostrey, so this beautiful countryside is now on our doorstep.
Further Afield: Aiguille du Midi to Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France
The Chamonix alpine valley and mountains lie in the Haute Savoie region of Southern France. Having visited here a few times with friends and more recently on a Nordic trip in 2016, I found the scenery to be incredible and walking anywhere in this valley is stunning, with Mont Blanc a visible presence on many walks.
My favourite walk is the high alpine hike along the Grand Balcon Nord, from the Aiguille du Midi – ‘Plan de Aiguille’ cable station, to Montenvers and the Mer de Glace, returning to the Chamonix valley below along walking tracks or via the funicular railway to the start. It is a relatively flat traverse, overlooking the entire Chamonix valley and the mountains on the other side.
A trip to the top at the Aguille Du Midi is a must on a day out, which takes about 20 minutes by cable car. You can stand in the valley in 25OC heat and arrive at the top and step out into 0OC, surrounded by snow caped mountains all around. From the viewing platform the mountains take your breath away, both metaphorically and literally, as the air is so thin when you are standing at 3842 metres. From here you can see the ant like trains of climbers ascending and descending Mont Blanc, across the ridge to the Italy’s Grands Jorasses and the Swiss Alps further afield.
The most memorable time I walked this undulating route was in early June with a couple of friends. It was glorious sunny day, without a cloud in the sky, sporadic snow beneath my boots and alpine flowers bursting through the wild rocky landscape, revealing the first signs of summer. While the air was crisp and clear, it was still warm enough for shorts and several Marmots popped out to say hello along the way after their winter hibernation. The panoramic view was magical and the pure majesty of the mountains that reared up all around were awe inspiring.