Chester’s Roman treasures are just part of a trip (by rail, boat and on foot) exploring the area’s industrial heritage and natural beauty
The rain has stopped. Wet beeches and coppery bracken shine in the autumn sunlight. I’m walking through Delamere Forest, Cheshire’s biggest woodland area, past prehistoric bogs with carpets of starry sphagnum, and flooded Blakemere Moss – the wetland cacophonous with rain-loving ducks and greylag geese. Pine cones, acorns and bristly sweet chestnuts pepper the forest paths. There’s a visitor centre nearby and the refurbished Delamere Station House is an atmospheric cafe, where the day’s specials include mushroom stroganoff (£6.50) and butternut couscous (£6).
I arrived the previous morning in Chester, a two-hour train ride from London Euston, and spent a day exploring the city. The rebuilt walls, where Roman legionaries once guarded the fortress of Deva, now provide an hour-long, traffic-free stroll, overlooking the racecourse, the Roman amphitheatre (Britain’s largest) and the Rows: medieval shops with half-timbered upper galleries.