Barnston is a village just three quarters of a mile from my house as the crow flies – though a bit further as the human walks!
According to the Barnston website the “countryside surrounding the village is home to several species which indicate a healthy habitat. The Dale and the woodlands along the Fender stream are home to all three species of woodpecker, and at the last count 17 species of butterfly. The fields have both partridge and brown hare, indicators of healthy farmland.”
How come they have had 17 species of butterfly and we have so few. And all three woodpeckers yet only the Large Spotted Woodpecker (once) has visited us. Don’t they know how welcome they would be?
During the Triassic period this area was much nearer the equator and the three colour types of Wirral sandstone, red, yellow and white, were deposited. In Barnston can be seen the soft easily weathered yellow sandstone in the Dale, the Church built of white sandstone, quarried from Storeton, and a granite boulder popularly known as the 'Barn Stone' swept from Scotland, and now resting by Beech Farm.
Christ Church Barnston built in 1871 at a cost of £3,500.
It was built from stone quarried at Storeton a couple of miles away and was designed to serve the communities of Pensby and Barnston.
There seems to have been a pub or pubs in the village since at least the sixteenth century – the first recorded licensee being in 1561. Over the years it has had several changes of name including the Flag, Hen and Chicken, Black Horse, Sportsman’s Arms and Fox and Hounds.
The former Post Office, now the hat shop of Jo's friend Sue.
In 1888 a local historian, Phillip Sulley, described the road through the vale as ‘a delightfully uneven roadway, a source of tribulation alike to horse and passenger’.
When we get to Barnston Dale
All the passengers turn quite pale
Conversation flags, no-one can talk
For the driver shouts - get out and walk.
Even more interestingly Phillip Sulley commented ‘In this old hostelry, a model of neatness is to be noted the ancient Cheshire custom, now fast expiring, that of tracing angular patterns on the tiles with fresh dock leaves each morning.’ That’s a tradition I’d never heard of before.
One facet of modern Barnston is the proliferation of stables and riding schools.
Horses, horses everywhere.....