Dearnford Lake via Nantwich and Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, with Eccles Cake stop at the excellent Tilly’s in Bunbury.


I really wanted to do a ride out to Macclesfield and then up the Cat n Fiddle climb in the Top 100 UK Climbs book, but I’m looking after our poorly dog this week while my wife is away on a course so can’t afford that much time out.

Instead, I opted for a ride out to Dearnford Lake for a late lunch, but with a twist … the reverse of the usual Dearnford route but extending the ride up into Cheshire by quite a bit!

I set off on very familiar roads to Market Drayton and then up through Calverhall to Whitchurch. In Whitchurch, I headed off out on the Marbury / Wrenbury road and then up through Ravensmoor towards Bunbury. Nice cycling on pretty familiar roads and great weather too.


In Bunbury, I could not resist a quick stop for a coffee and delicious Eccles Cake at the excellent Tilly’s cafe. Lovely!

I then headed off up past Beeston Castle and the entrance to Peckforton Castle. As I was going past the latter I was reading the signs saying something like “Don’t be shy, come on up and check us out”, so I did exactly that! Despite living in Cheshire most of my life, I’ve never been here and always wanted to. I’m so glad I did!


It’s a bit of a steep climb up the castle driveway as it’s obviously built on top of the highest hill in the area, but well worth it. I had a quick explore and got lots of photos while chatting to some castle staff about the history of it.

I then headed down through the Peckforton Hills and onwards to Malpas, then into the edge of Wales, Tilstock and finally Dearnford Lake.


It was getting on for 3pm by the time I arrived at Dearnford, but they still had some tart of the day left so I opted for a nice homemade tart and some extra coleslaw. I was looking forward to this and it did not disappoint.

From Dearnford it was a quick and easy ride home, via Marchamley Hill.

Route: click here