A figure of eight walk passing near to the site of Bellaport Hall and Bellaport Old Hall.
The walk takes you over some of the beautiful ancient landscape surrounding Norton in Hales and you should allow a good 2 hours. You will climb up to near where Bellaport Hall once stood, overlooking parts of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire, and then descend to pass by Bellaport Old Hall. This is very old settlement and originally part of Bearstone Manor.
You also go over an area where a wind farm was recently proposed.
The walk starts from the centre of the village on the road leading to Audlem. Walk up this road and over the old railway bridge. This bridge has been re-built to take heavier lorries and has re-used the old sandstone for the parapet.
From the bridge the old station can be seen, now converted into a private house, and a little further away, the station master’s house. After the group of houses known as ‘The Croft’, take the stile on the right at the end of the hedge and cross the field diagonally, to a stile in the far corner. Into the next field, a similar line will take you to a gateway part way along the right hand hedge with a small tree visible just beyond. Pass through the gate and cross the field following the same line, heading for a large hawthorn bush in the far fence, to the left of some scattered hedgerow trees and where a new hedge and fence meets the old.
The next part may not line up with your map, if you have one! The line of the path was changed some years ago, so cross the field on a heading for Bellaport Home Farm buildings, diagonally to your right, to two oak trees on their own in the field. Then bear slightly right and head uphill to some more oaks on the skyline, well to the right of the farm buildings, and a kissing gate in the corner of the field.
On this part of the walk, you will see the buildings of Bellaport Home Farm. The Hall itself no longer exists, having been demolished in 1939. As you turn sharp right through the gate, the views can be quite far reaching over the Cheshire Plain, but on walking along the hedgerow to your right the view is in the opposite direction, towards the ridge of Ashley Heath.
Cross the next stile by a pond and descend the field heading to the right of the next farm, to a stile part way along the hedge. Having crossed this, aim to the left of the farm towards a large ash tree where you cross a small bridge and stile.
From here, head uphill past a stag headed oak and a young, fenced, tree growing in the field and eventually a field gate will be seen through which the path goes. You will have seen Bellaport Old Hall to your right when climbing the hill.
Turn left through the gate and the path continues on the right hand side of the hedge and eventually comes to a stile and plank over a stream. Walk across the next field on the same heading, until you are level with the end of a lane to the right, which has double gates into your field. This is Poplar Lane and you should now turn right in the field towards the lane. Walk down the lane until an old cottage is reached and just beyond it is a stile in the hedge on the right. Cross this and you are into the wettest part of the walk! Pick your way to quickly cross the next stile. Cross this field on the same line to a plank bridge, after which, cut across the corner of the next field, to the left, where you should find a stile part way along an overgrown hedge. Cross the stream, then the stile and head up the next field to a stile to the right of some trees growing in the fence line. Now follow the fence leading to Bellaport Old Hall, passing through a gate and along the back of the farm silage pits. Eventually a kissing gate will be reached, leading onto the farm drive.
Follow the drive, but do not follow the left hand bend. Instead, continue straight on, passing the point where you were earlier! However, this time walk straight on following the fence on your left. After crossing a bridge and stile, keep roughly parallel to the fence on the right, but bear a little to the left. If it is a clear day, head for the Wrekin, which can be seen in the far distance. Continue on this line to the next stile by a pool. After climbing the stile the path is to the left. At this point, stop and admire the wild life pool.
Crossing yet another stile, the next point of interest is the old railway line, which is crossed by two stiles. Next, walk to the corner of a protruding hedge and then go right, which leads back through 2 kissing gates to Church Fields, where you rejoin the road, Bellaport Road, which you walked up at the start. Turn left, back to the village centre.