Walk on Sept 5th

It was raining quite heavily when Sue and I arrived at the car park in Kidsgrove to find  Helen and Hilary sheltering from the rain. Oddly enough they decided to continue with the walk after I asked if we should all go home! So off we went to the White Lion at Barthomley.

Still raining and donning our waterproofs, we walked along the driveway to the church then carried on along a path past a pond, then over a stile into a field of very long, very wet, grass.

So it continued, long wet grass, electric fences and slippery stiles, dozens of them! Oh, and cows and horses.

We headed off towards Balterley Green across the fields, coming across a large herd cows who followed us and electric fences which we ducked under, until gaining a proper road. Not for long though. Aiming for Englesea-Brook there were more wet fields and then a field of maize, seven feet high and the path overgrown with five foot high thistles which we had to battle through.

Arriving at Englesea-Brook we took to the road for a while until striking out across another field of corn, then following the path of Dean Brook, we headed for Mill Dale but then struck out across more fields back to Bathomley. Again the grass was very long and very wet, making walking quite hard going so when we eventually got back (the rain had stopped by now, of course)  and emptied our boots, we were really ready for a grateful sit down, a drink and some food.

After all that we did enjoy the walk, even in the rain.

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Walk 15th August

I don’t know about the rest of you intrepids but I ache today! It must have been all those hills and steps.

From Kidsgrove we drove to Macclesfield forest and parked at The Leather’s Smithy inn overlooking Ridgegate reservoir. From here we followed a path along the south side of the reservoir. The path then turned further south and into the start of the forest but then travelling east and north we came to Trentbank reservoir. Turning southish again we entered the forest properly with dense woods on either side, mostly of very tall pine trees. The path rose up steeply and for a long way as we climbed the side of Nessit Hill. After what seemed like climbing to the clouds the path eventually eased but the views were stupendous over the treetops and across Cheshire.

Having climbed a very long way we eventually started down to everyone’s relief! The path led us down to Standing Stone Road along which we returned to Ridgegate reservoir, deviating occasionally onto forest paths running, more or less, parallel with the road. Continuing along the road we walked on the north edge of the reservoir back to the inn.

The choice of food here was amazing and we all agreed that our meals were delicious. This is a place which is definitely worth re-visiting.


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Cream tea trip – August 13th

On a lovely summers day for once 14 of us boarded the steam pulled train from Froghall station for our cream tea. The tables were laid with white table cloths with not 1 but 2 homemade scones, cream, strawberry jam and butter portions. Hot tea was served and replenished as we enjoyed our cream tea enjoying also the rolling countryside through the Churnet Valley up to Cheddleton station and back. The journey lasts 1 hour. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their cream tea and the relaxed atmosphere. At Froghall station there is a tea room and souvenir shop where you can also visit. A successful day out and next year a possible SUPPER TRAIN or MURDER MYSTERY THEMED trip. Look out for details later next year.

Regards Helen



Walk 8th August

Intrepids, six of us sallied forth into what the BBC weather forecast described as rain all day. We journeyed forth to the NT car park at The Ramblers Retreat on the Red Road near to Alton, to arrive there at about 10.30am.
We fortified ourselves against the elements by donning waterproofs and umbrellas against the steady rain that was falling and set off along the woodland path adjacent to the car park, giving us an indication of the muddy conditions that lay ahead.
After a short while the path took us down to the road where we made the decision to head UP another woodland path which would take us up to Toothill Rock, which would give us, hopefully, a good view across the Churnet valley to the woodland areas surrounding Alton Towers Leisure Park. The climb was very steep and slippery with bare rocks and exposed tree roots, but after one or two pauses on the way we eventually made it to the high ground without a fall! After a few hundred yards we arrived at Toothill Rock. The view across the valley showed us the river and the track of the old railway line which followed the path of the valley to our right and into the distance towards Rochester and Uttoxeter. We also had a glimpse over the trees of the Flag Tower in the leisure park and witnessed the creation of some ‘smokey clouds’ (I think due to the wet weather conditions) rising up from out of the woods. If we twisted our heads over to our right (not standing to close to the edge of the cliffs while doing so) we could catch a glimpse of Alton Castle on ‘our side of the valley’.The height above the valley of the cliffs we were standing on was perhaps about 100/150 feet.
Retracing our steps back to the main path we eventually managed to make or way to the lower part of Alton village, emerging by the side of the Royal Oak public house. Knowing that Alton is a very interesting village to look around  we climbed up to it’s main part where we saw many finely built houses and gardens and many pubs! We visited the parish church of St. Peter which had been originally built in the 12th century and had been repaired and heavily victorianised over the last couple of centuries.
We also visited the area around the castle which includes the catholic church, the school and convent (not open to visitors, not even the church) which were built by the Earls Of Shrewsbury in the early 18 hundreds. It seems that the catholic church owns quite a section of old Alton.
Retracing our steps and passing by the side of the parish church we reached the main Alton to Farley road and descended to Alton bridge (seeing two more pubs, The Alton Bridge and The Talbot) bringing the total number of pubs in the village to about seven or eight! Finally we crossed the bridge over the Churnet, and dropped down to our left to descend onto the old railway line path and headed in the direction of Oakamoor, dodging much sludge and many pools before we left the railway line and headed to our food destination, The Ramblers Retreat, so well named!
And do you know what, it stopped raining after we had changed from our boots and brollies and headed into The Retreat. But never mind it was a good lunch we had! Thanks for being with us Regards Chris B.
PS I think it was a good idea where possible, to travel along minor roads to get to our destination and miss the main road traffic and possible hold ups, don’t you? It certainly hones up ones driving skills!

Walk on 25th July

On this damp, dank, overcast morning, six brave intrepids set forth into the unknown.

Having planned a route along The Dane Valley Way I thought the path would be fairly well used and reasonably defined. How wrong I was! Thank goodness for GPS and the yellow way markers.

We parked our cars at The Plough in Eaton, just outside Congleton and set off across the wet grass. Immediately it was obvious the path wasn’t used much and a little overgrown but being brave intrepids we were not to be put off and over the fields and stiles we went. Then there was the impasse. The path dipped down towards a wooded area with a stile in the hedge and large bog blocked the way! A quick reconnaissance showed the bog just as bad on the far side of the stile but there was a way ahead, up the hill and across the next field, parallel to the path. Off we went only to be met with – an even bigger boggy area. More deviation but we got around it and back on the path, what an adventure! Next we met two ladies on horseback who told us about another walk towards Gawsworth.

We did make it onto the Buxton road, without losing anybody and followed this to the Macclesfield canal. We traipsed along the canal as far as Buglawton then descended some steps onto the estate, then downwards to Havannah (unfortunately not the Cuba one) where there used to be a cigar factory many years ago. Passing the old terrace cottages, once a deserted village when the factory closed and the place became uninhabited, (now occupied) we climbed the hill to the Macclesfield road to return to Eaton for sustenance.

Relaxing in the pub we all ate a really nice and well deserved lunch.