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Communities put best foot forward for Sandstone Trail 40th Birthday

Local schools and groups join three day celebration

Bickerton Primary School and Windsor Primary School in Harthill at the Sandstone Trail 40th Birthday

Three days of celebrations saw communities from across Cheshire come together to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sandstone Trail.

Schools, environmental craft and education groups and historical actors joined forces to bring alive parts of the modern and ancient history of the walking route.

Starting last Thursday, Luke Neal from the Meres & Mosses Landscape Partnership walked much of the 34 mile trail from Whitchurch to Delamere visiting communities along the way, and carrying with him a hand-crafted giant white-faced darter dragonfly.

Frodsham Festival of Walks Group headed south from Frodsham on Saturday to meet Luke at the finish and join the celebrations.

 

The rare white-faced darter dragonfly has a special new link with the trail, as it has recently been reintroduced to Delamere Forest – after ten years of absence.

After setting off from Whitchurch, Luke Neal joined pupils from Tushingham Primary School at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s new Bickley Barn education centre near Malpas, as the youngsters learned about dragonflies and other creatures on the charity’s wildlife-friendly farm.

On Friday Harthill joined the celebrations, as pupils from Bickerton Primary School and visiting Windsor Primary School from Merseyside joined The Earth Skills Project based in the village to present a musical and poetry show on the village green, in front of parents and visitors from Bolesworth Estate.

The schools also joined Harthill resident John Brown as The Earth Skills Project officially opened a new all-access section of the Sandstone Trail, leading out from the centre of the village, thanks to funding from Cheshire West and Chester Council, The Sandstone Ridge Trust, The Bolesworth Estate and Global Industries with much of the work being undertaken by further education students and Duke of Edinburgh award participants.

The final day of Luke’s trek saw a visit to English Heritage’s Beeston Castle where a traditional medieval huntsman greeted visitors.

The three-day event came to a bustling finish on Saturday at the Forestry Commission Delamere Forest, where the Sandstone Ridge Trust offered country crafts and costume demonstrations giving families the chance to get up-close to ancient skills like metal casting, wood-working, sword-fighting and archery, along with discovering how modern-day archaeologists connect with the history of the Sandstone Trail.

Gary Ball, project co-ordinator for the Sandstone Ridge Trust’s Ridge, Rocks and Springs Heritage Lottery Funded Project said: “Such a fun, interactive hands-on event was a great way for families and youngsters to discover the unique landscape of Cheshire, its rich history and wildlife in marking the 40th anniversary of the Sandstone Trail.”

To find out more about the Sandstone Ridge Trust visit www.thesandstoneridgetrust.co.uk . You can still get involved or donate to Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s white-faced darter appeal at www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/white-faced-darter .

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