Login Register

End of a century of service for cafe

THE foot and mouth crisis has proved the final straw for a shop and cafe which is closing after a century of service to its customers.

THE foot and mouth crisis has proved the final straw for a shop and cafe which is closing after a century of service to its customers.

The Forest Cafe and Shop, incorporating Delamere Cycles, in Ashton Road, Norley, will close down within the next few weeks the date has yet to be finalised.

In a letter to customers, husband and wife owners Simon and Sandy Wright explained that Cheshire Wildlife Trust's decision to close nearby Hatchmere Lake to the public last summer set a downward spiral in motion.

Even though campaigners forced the trust to reopen the mere, the number of visitors had tailed off, affecting trade.

The Wrights, who live in Northwich, said: 'Trading has been going down ever since Hatchmere Lake was closed in April 2000.

'This, compounded by the introduction of forest car parking charges at the same time and the extremely wet autumn, caused us very worrying times last year. The final straw has been the foot and mouth crisis.

'Even though trade has picked up to a certain extent it is insufficient to claw back a tenable position and we have taken the decision to sell up.'

The letter explained that the purchasers were planning to redevelop the site with two houses.

It concluded: 'We wish to thank all our regular customers for your support over the last three-and-a-half years. With best wishes to you all.'

Joe Clarke, 64, of Blakemere Lane, Norley, said: 'I would say the shop dates back to the turn of the century if not before. I know this because the original owners were the Walkers who were related to me by marriage. It could go back to the 1890s. It was originally a shop and then later became a cafe and shop.

Mr Clarke said the shop would have been well used by locals in the early days but latterly was mainly for visitors.

'It's sad to see it go,' he said. 'There's no doubt the restrictions at the lake have affected the business.'

Yacov Lev of Friends of Hatchmere Lake, who has campaigned to keep the mere open to the public, is annoyed at the effect of the temporary closure on a local business.

He said: 'The closure of this Delamere/Hatchmere landmark is a sad day for all visitors to the area, who used to queue at the shop for an ice cream cone or a slice of beautiful home made cake and a cuppa at the cafe.

'The place has been very popular with cyclists from all over the region and visitors who used to rent cycles and ride in the forest and surrounding countryside.'

Hatchmere Lake was only temporarily closed last summer but even the temporary closure seems to have had a long term effect on the number of visitors.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details