The route is signposted in both directions, but signs are mostly attached to the nearest existing road sign, which means they are not always exactly on the junction or that obvious. So you have to develop a sixth sense for them. Also there are still a few signs dating back to the original route, which can be confusing. And…where the route is shared by several cycleways (notably the 55 on the Wirral and the 45 south of Chester), all reference to the 70 can disappear for a while.
Outline maps – paper and online
Outline maps are OK for planning, but not so useful once on the road as they are a drain on battery and data unless you can view them offline. For routes plotted online for viewing as you go, and for downloading GPX files, see GPS maps of Cheshire Cycleway.
Apart from the outline map on this and other websites, Cheshire County Council had a Cheshire Cycleway leaflet that included an outline map of the route. However, Cheshire County Council ceased to exist after 31st March 2009 and so far the replacement councils (Cheshire East; Cheshire West & Chester) have not continued to publish this.
You are extremely unlikely to come across the old leaflet, but if a new one is ever produced, it should be available at Cheshire East Tourist Information Centres (TICs) (or Cheshire West’s, Manchester’s or N. Staffordshire’s) some local libraries too.
Sustrans Merseyside and Manchester Cycle Map is a pocket sized folded map that shows route 70 (except a tiny part of the southernmost section between Newhall and Hankelow), plus other cycle routes, and at the scale of 1: 110 000 (about 0.5 in to 1 mile/1cm to 1km) is a useful scale.
Ordnance Survey (OS) Landranger maps (1: 50 000 or 1.25 inches to 1 mile) are sufficiently detailed with off-road routes and are marked with some cycle routes, including the Cheshire Cycleway, but there are a few mistakes – nothing too major though. You’ll need Chester & Wrexham no.117 for the west side of the county; Stoke-on-Trent & Macclesfield no. 118 for the east; Manchester, Bolton & Warrington no.109 for the north.
We usually use the OS maps for planning but on the ride we use the relevant pages torn out of a spiral-bound motoring atlas based on Ordnance Survey mapping. The scale (1:190,000 or 3 miles to 1 inch) is just right for finding routes, railway stations and tourist attractions. The other advantage is cost and convenience – these atlases are cheap, produced annually so new roads and developments are shown, and a couple of pages are easy to fold up and put in a pocket for quick reference.
For the technologically up-to-the-minute of you, there are always GPS and handlebar mountable units (eg from Cotswold Outdoor).
Local council cycle route information – transport or leisure?
Cycling is regarded as both transport and leisure, so when you’re checking council websites for the latest route information or people to contact, look at the transport section and the countryside/leisure/tourism sections.
Although the Cheshire Cycleway route is seen by the local councils as a tourist activity, locals use sections of it for everyday cycling and of course these can be used for day rides too.
See next page GPS mapping for Cheshire