Distance: 7km/4.5 miles
Time: 2-3 hours
Start: Pay and Display car park at Brereton Heath Nature Reserve: open 8:45am – 5pm winter/8:30pm summer
Map: OS Explorer 268
Terrain: Mainly public rights of way (some surfaced sections, some cross-field sections) with some country lanes, fairly level terrain.
Barriers: 9 stiles, 6 kissing gates
A route from Brereton Local Nature Reserve crossing the River Dane through to Swettenham. Moderate Walk, Distance 7km/4.5 miles. Time 2-3 hours.
The Dane Valley is one of the hidden gems of the Congleton area. The River has cut a course though the soft sand and gravels of the Cheshire Plain to create a scenic wooded valley. This is rich dairy country, with prime grazing for the county’s famous cattle.
Tucked away in the valley is Swettenham, a village which has changed little over the years. St Peter’s Church was built in the 13th century, possibly on the site of a much older building. Some of the original half-timbered structure can be seen in the north wall, although the rest of the church was encased in brick in 1720. The pub opposite was once a nunnery and is said to be linked to St. Peter’s by an underground passage.
Swettenham Mill on Midge Brook was built as a corn mill, but more recently was used to power heavy timber cutting machinery. The woods behind are known as Daffodil Dell and were a favourite outing in the spring for local people.
Swettenham Meadows above the brook are full of wildflowers all summer long, and today are managed as a nature reserve by Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
Full Address: Brereton Heath Local Nature Reserve , Davenport Lane , Brereton , Congleton , Cheshire , CW12 4SU