(Click on to see a map of the start location.)
Connah's Quay car park, GR 299 698, OS Sheet 117. Or, start at Sealand Road, Chester, GR SJ 396666, OS Sheet 117
From the A550 follow the signs to Flint. Shortly after crossing the suspension bridge over the Dee turn left and follow the signs to Connah's Quay.
As you drive into Connah's Quay from the West, pass a church on the right. Take second street on the left signposted Recycling Centre. If you miss it, take the next street, Dock road, which turns back on to the other road. Follow the winding road to the car park just under the barrier.
At Shotton cross the bridge over the railway.
This first section up to Hawarden Bridge Station is common with the Chester Railway path, National Cycle Route 5. By the station, take the steps or ramp down to the river bank for the Dee-side track.
Tarmac off-road cycle track. Suitable for skate or classic.
Very good surface. Ideal for roller skiing. Almost dead flat from start to finish. Good location to practice technique without any distractions but could be boring without company.
The track crosses the River alongside the railway bridge along wooden planks which are a bit bumpy and where sticks can get caught between the planks. The access track under the bridge is prone to flooding and may need to be bypassed on foot on higher ground under a low arch. Taller people will need to duck.
There is a busy road crossing at one point and some awkward narrow slopes under bridges and at road ends where it is safer to walk. These are mostly separated from the main track by narrow gates or chicanes. It is not fenced from the River, but the bank is wide. There are no major problems but be aware, as usual, of cyclists and dog-walkers.
Toilets in the Connah's Quay are not recommended. Refreshments are available (when open) at Yvonne's Cafe, a shack with a bit of parking and a private toilet, just before the main car park is reached from the Town.
Along the route, the only facility is the Queensferry Hotel at the old North Wales/Queensferry road (now B5411). Along the Welsh section of the track there are regular seats to stop for rests (and own refreshments) but the one a few hundred yards (GR336 366) before the foot bridge at Higher Ferry is the most appropriate, being dedicated to the memory of Alan Shepard who was a regular roller skier along this track.
There are numerous places for refreshment in Chester, but Telford's Warehouse has become the most popular with roller skiers as it is conveniently situated at the end of the Railway Cycle Track which runs along side the canal at this point. From the end of Dee-side Track continue through the small park (known as The Cop) along a rough track (not suitable for roller skis with hard wheels) to the road (skis off). Cross the busy road (with care) to South View Road. After a few hundred yards, this road crosses the canal and Telford's Warehouse will be found on the left down some steps.
The good tarmac finishes at a small park (known as The Cop) with skate board facilities, where the Dee turns through 180°. To make a circuit by returning on the Railway Track (National Cycle Route 5) follow directions above to Telford's Warehouse. This road also leads on to the City Walls and City Centre.
If returning by train, note that trains run hourly from Chester to Llandudno but not all trains stop at Shotton. Shotton provides an alternative access point from the Wrexham-Bidston line as well, but note that only rush-hour trains stop at Hawarden Bridge.
Merseyside Ski Club