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The Old Pale hill (176 metres) forms the high point of the northern mass of the Mid Cheshire Ridge. The summit, Pale Heights, has a trig point and three transmitter masts which carry radio, television and telephone signals. There is a view point with views of seven counties (see long description).
Park at Gresty’s Waste car park on the A556, but before leaving the car park you will notice a Toll Cottage built when the Northwich to Chester road was ‘turnpiked’ in 1769. The tolls collected by the ‘pikemen’ varied but a farthing per head was charged for cattle and 6d for a coach and horses. Local cart traffic and funerals were exempt.
Be very careful when crossing the busy A556 to reach Nettleford Woods. - opposite Gresty’s Waste. These woods are a small remnant of the ancient hunting forest of Mara and Mondrum, used for hunting wild boar and deer by the Earls of Chester and later the King.
The Roman Road from Chester known as Watling Street climbed the sandstone ridge to go through the Kelsall Gap entering Nettleford Wood just north of the Toll Cottage.
Keep walking up to the summit of Pale Heights which offers great view points. The Pale was so called because it was an area which was fenced off using wooden ‘palins’ to make an enclosure for deer conservation. Land outside this boundary was ‘Beyond the Pale’
Pale Heights lies on the Mid Cheshire Ridge, which is a range of low sandstone hills which stretch north to south through Cheshire. The ridge is discontinuous, with the hills forming two main blocks, north and south of the "Beeston Gap". The hills are composed of a range of sandstones of Permian and Triassic age. North–south faulting is in part responsible for elevating harder-wearing strata above the general level of the Cheshire Plain. The ridge acted as something of a barrier to the passage of Irish Sea ice during the last ice age and its hills are etched with numerous glacial meltwater channels, many of which formed subglacially. Particularly spectacular examples are those at Urchin's Kitchen in Primrosehill Woods (see earthcache GC31VQG)
When you reach the summit you will find a set of standing rocks that point you in the direction of each of the seven counties that are in the panoramic view. The English counties of Derbyshire, Lancashire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Welsh counties of Denbighshire and Flintshire are all represented by a standing stone that is native to that county. In the centre of the summit platform is the biggest standing stone, representing Cheshire itself. Around the circumference of the platform there are topographical plaques pointing out all the summits and local features. On a good day you can easily pick out Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral as well as many other well known sights.
To log this cache you must email me with the correct answer these questions, namely:
1. The central rock is based on Cheshire. Feel it and then please email me with details on how this rock if formed.
2. For two counties of your choice, feel the rock, and send me details of how this rock type differs in texture and feel to the central Cheshire stone.
Please don’t post any answers in your logs. I would love to see any pictures of you at GZ but this is optional.
For further information look at www.habitatsandhillforts.co.uk or www.kelsall.org.uk.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum