The levelling up agenda’s naivety is illustrated today. Starting from north of Blackburn, taking in Bolton and Leigh, we enter the Cheshire plain and finish in Alderley Edge. Here a house seems to cost more than a street or two 50 miles north. The people aren’t better though, sheltering behind their gated drives.

A “bumpy” morning got the hills out of the way and offered great views of the plains below. On the horizon is the high rise of Manchester. Long gone are the tall chimneys that once would have marked out the mills.

Belmont had an interesting modern interpretation of housing: the design mirrored the factory that had burned down where they now stand. The former Belmont bleaching and dyeing yard provides the employment, overseen by the happy pigs on the hillside.

Lunch in a park which was part of the Howe Bridge colliery, built as a model village by the coal owners. The park is well tendered, the model village is not distinct. What is are the rows of back to back terraces which now become more common. And impressive civic buildings.

As we cycle south we cross some of the east west arteries: M62 M56, East lancs road, Transpennine trail and trail, Manchester Ship canal, etc. We skirt Manchester’s busier roads to take the quieter Cheshire ones. Today Cheshire is wearing its golden crop look, though the variety of Spring greens have taken on their homogenous summer standard green.

Here’s our happy meander.

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