Stoke Newcastle Ramblers

Where walking is a pleasure

Content on this page is contributed by individual members of the Group, and should not necessarily be taken to be the views of the Group as a whole, or of the Committee.

18th Feb: Bishop Offley walk

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20 people turned out, plus one woman and her dog. Phil and Elizabeth guided us on a figure of eight route from Croxton, linking all the Offley hamlets. Lunch stop at the Star lnn at Copmere was well received, almost a spring like day had most people sat outside. We made our way back via Copmere lake and Jackson's Coppice. Phil gave us an informative historical account of mills on the Rover Sow as we passed through. We were all impressed, this being Phil and Elizabeth's first led walk for our group.

Thanks for a lovely walk.




31st Jan: 4 mile Urban Walk


This was the best turnout so far for the 4 mile local walks Anne introduced to the Group last year. 15 ramblers met up at the Brindley Farm car park, Etruria Valley proving that urban walking when the fields are muddy and wet can be more enticing and even more interesting too. On joining the Trent & Mersey canal our industrial heritage came into play when places familiar were recognised and new buildings and improvements to the city landscape were noted. Eventually joining the Caldon Canal leading to Hanley Park, Anne was able to photograph the group in front of the recently restored terracotta fountain.

Richard Clamp

7th Jan: Tatton Park

The recent walk in Tatton Park attracted some first time walkers. As you can see from Aaron's letter below, he had a good time!

Most of our walks are suitable for the grand children of members - it's never too early to introduce them to the joy of walking, so why not bring yours along too!

Charlie Bigley

Hi, I went with my Grandpa and Mum on the hike and met a new friend 13 yr old Tyler. The weather was perfect, sunny and cold, but no rain or wind.  Malcolm, the team leader led the way with interesting facts about the area. There were 25 of us. Tatton Park has lots of scenic beauty with a large lake with swans and ducks and we also saw some deer and black sheep in the open fields. We had a break in the coffee shop after 3.5 mile and then continued back through the forest. It was an exciting day and I will certainly do it again.

Aaron George (age 10)

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Read more: 7th Jan: Tatton Park

6th Jan: Public transport walk

Our walk through the green ways of the city had great turnout -  21 people alighted from the bus at Werrington. We made our way to Hulme hamlet, then Park Hall Country Park and Berry Hill fields to our lunch stop at a micro brewery and real ale bar in the Imex industrial complex. A very unusual location set in the middle of an industrial estate, but everyone enjoyed this unique bar complete with log burner.

We finished the walk in Stoke centre via Glebe park, Smith's pool, and the Trent and Mersey canal towpath, ending the day with one for the road in the White Star. Thanks for a super turnout.


Read more: 6th Jan: Public transport walk

3rd Dec: Christmas Lunch and Walk

Photo by Anne Clamp

Many thanks to Doreen A. for organising an excellent meal at the Red Lion, Market Drayton and to Susan M. for expertly shepherding us along the Shropshire Union Canal and subsequent lanes back to the start. With forty walkers in attendance, neither of these tasks was insignificant. During the walk Susan’s gingerbread disappeared almost as fast as the rainclouds leaving us free to admire the 19th century engineering skills of Thomas Telford as our appetites grew. Clean plates, cups and glasses at the Red Lion were a testament to the quality of the food and drink on offer and the event reached a conclusion with a raffle draw organised by Lynda B.
We are much indebted to those who volunteered their time to explore and conduct these activities; not forgetting the other attendees for their warm conversation on the day.
Stephen Merry

11th Nov: Real Ale Trail

Thank you all for supporting the 6th real ale trail on the 11th Nov.

After a lovely hour in the market Street cafe consuming a range of breakfast options with coffee we began our tour. Four good pubs and micro bars had been carefully selected by woody and Allen a week earlier, someone has to do it!

Calling in at the Burslem Tap, Johnny's Bar, Bulls Head then Duke William, about 18 people including associated friends enjoyed a variety of different beer and really good banter. A small group stayed on and continued in the Leopard then went to have a curry.

Lots of fun and laughs all day. Woody


6 Nov: 800 Years Since the Charter of the Forest


The 6 November 2017 marks 800 years since the Charter of the Forest granted ordinary people the right to access royal forests. This was the first step in a campaign spanning centuries seeking the freedom for people to explore our beautiful landscapes.

There have been many milestones in our journey to increase access since this seminal moment; the Kinder Mass Trespass, the creation of National Parks, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, the Marine and Coastal Access Act, the opening of the Wales Coast Path, all of which have helped to increase the places people can walk. But we know there’s still a way to go, with many areas still out of bounds.

Ramblers Central Office are keen to use this anniversary to start a conversation about the future of access.
You can add your support in two ways:

1. Sign the petition available at, which calls on the government to increase access to woodland

2. Share your views on the future of access by completing the survey at

A new Ramblers guide to open access is available at

Stephen Merry

28 Oct: Staffordshire County Council Rights of Way proposals

Staffordshire County Council are proposing an A, B, C classification for all footpaths in the county. Maintenance priority would be given to A footpaths with C footpaths, which ‘are most likely to be infrequently used’, only receiving attention when they become unsafe or ‘when limited resources allow’. As some of you will be aware, this proposal was discussed at our group committee meeting on 18/10/17 when concern was expressed that the Council seem to be neglecting their statutory responsibilities, and, since walking groups were most likely to use C footpaths, this initiative conflicts with other programmes designed to enhance health and wellbeing. More personally, it seems that the diversity of our group walking programme would reduce.

Further details of the proposal are available at You are strongly urged to read this and to send your individual response through the associated online portal at While a formal group response will be sent reflecting the views of your committee, it is important that individuals also have their say. Many individual views would certainly add weight to anything the committee say.

I am also aware that many of you walk in groups that are not part of Ramblers. These programmes might be similarly affected so you may wish to also encourage these walking colleagues to respond to the consultation. The group committee will solicit the help of Ramblers Central Office to support the group case.

Please remember that the diversity of the group walking programme is at stake!

Stephen Merry

10 Sept: Bow Hill to Englesea Brook

A photograph by Tony McC of our morning coffee break.

Coffee break image

7th Sept: Crown green bowls evening

A cool but dry late summer evening in Barlaston was the setting for an evening of bowling. Many of the 21 people taking part had no previous experience of crown green bowling. After a random selection process to pair up players had taken place, bowls had been chosen and basics of the game had been explained to all participants, they were let loose onto the green. The technicalities of the game were soon mastered and some very fine bowling took place. Eventually after all games had been completed we emerged with our 2017 doubles champions...Linda Berrington and Susan Merry. Congratulations to both of them for their fine performances.

Afterwards everyone retired to a local hostelry for a well deserved drink and hot supper. Conversation about the bowling centred on performances and how some had indeed shown a natural flair for the three requirements of crown green, length and most importantly luck!

Allan Wheatley

Read more: 7th Sept: Crown green bowls evening

3rd Sept: Chinley

Londoner leads first walk from Chinley in the High Peak

Mr Damarell led 15 ramblers on a circumnavigation of Chinley Churn,stopping on the edge of Hayfield, free chips and sandwiches at the pub stop,a great treat. John was equipped with a 20 inch HD ready tablet in his map case, a smart phone GPS tracking tablet and a magnetic field compass. More tablets than Moses. lf there had been an electric storms he would have been the first person to go up in smoke. Just one hiccup on the way back as the weight of his navigation equipment took him off piste, sliding off Cracken Edge; however John recovered well to return with everyone else. Mr Damarell who came to the Potteries Betteries via Henley on Thames jumped ship at Hanley by Etruia using the canal system, ran into a ground floor flat 2 years ago and has been there ever since. Mr Damarell said he came north so he could wear flat caps, go whippet racing, have cheap housing, cheap beer and finally cheap women. John (later) said he had been misquoted there is no such thing has cheap women. A Home Office spokesman said it is a alarming trend that Londoners are entering Staffordshire illegally using the canal network. Its quite possible Mr Damarell could be sent back on the very boat he came in.

Ramblers spokesman Brian Wood said we hope this is the first of many led walks.

Basil Montaque-Smith

Chinley and Hayfield Gazette (Northern correspondent)

6th August: Tideswell

Well done Steve for pointing the way all day, I have never walked with a mobile finger post before. Pub stop was unique the most miserable landlord we have ever seen, l did feel the pub had a greyhound rescue centre feel about it. The plus side - great Abbeydale beers, cracking 3 dales route with ice cream in the afternoon. Well done Steve, leadership beyond the call of duty after your hospital visit.


30 July: Up the Junction, Down Norbury way

Twenty three walkers joined Susan and I last Sunday with great expectations; that is great expectations of rain! Nevertheless we set of from Norbury Village Hall, who kindly allowed us to use their car park, and our sunny dispositions seemed to impact on the weather almost immediately. As we reached the Shropshire Union Canal at Norbury Junction the sunshine arrived and waterproofs disappeared inside ruscksacks. Our walk took us through new deciduous plantations to a coffee stop at the former site of Norbury Manor where all that now remains is the moat that surrounded the house. Our onward path took us through Shelmore Wood where our thoughts turned to how quickly the seasons progress with ferns and berries replacing the former bluebells. We also took the opportunity to admire a view of Birmingham University’s impressive BioFor research station which is investigating the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide of tree growth. We eventually rejoined the canal at an impressive viaduct and walked northwards back to Norbury Junction and then on to our cars. Some of the group were then audacious enough to decant to the Junction Inn to slake their thirsts in the still sunny weather. Susan and I had to leave promptly and were, of course, not in any way jealous. We hope you had a good time, honest!

Stephen Merry

30th July: Claverly Done

17 of us set off with our intrepid leader who scythed the way to Claverley via Hilton brook and Ludstone hall. We Had 2 young walkers with us which brought down our average age to 45, and Dave from Chelmarsh who was a camera member and  very knowledgeable of good local pubs in the area. Claverley is a picturesque village with 2 great pubs plus a gem of a medieval church.after our lunch in Claverley our leader set of back to Worfield through the Morfe valley stopping off at the Red Lion. Great day out and no predicted  rain. Claverley done Ken!


27th July: High Wheeldon

Eight of us set off from Earl Sterndale in rain which was certainly heavy enough to put on our waterproof tops. We ascended Hitter Hill and, by the time we had descended to Underhill Farm, the rain had become heavier so we had to don the rest of our waterproofs. We continued along the floor of the Dove Valley passing Pilsbury Castle where we stopped to study the information displays.
170727We continued following the path and crossed a minor road before we encountered a "crossroads finger post" where we turned left and climbed up the hill to cross the minor road again. On the opposite side of the road we climbed a ladder stile onto the open access land above the valley. There were no clear paths but we managed to find our way navigating via the ladder stiles. By now the breeze had blown the clouds away and we even had some sunny intervals as we were able to take in the views both up and down the valley. We passed through fields of bright yellow ragwort until we reached a wall by the road which climbs out above Crowdecote where we enjoyed our lunch.
After crossing the road we were able to follow a waymarked track to the top of High Wheeldon. From the trig point there were great views up the valley of Chrome and Parkhouse Hills. We then descended High Wheeldon and walked along to Earl Sterndale where we enjoyed a drink in the Quiet Woman.
Dave Martin

23rd July: Nesscliffe

170723 1Thanks for a great day out, Good pub, pleasant route through the Perry valley with superb views from the top of Nesscliffe hill of Welsh Borders and all the Shropshire hills. On the down side l am still trying to remove all the rape seed from my clothes and other nooks and crannies, still scratching and itching!



16 July: Offa the Dyke and Onto the beach

The journey to Trelawynd was perhaps longer than usual but it turned out to be well worth it. We booted up on the car park in the village and and donned Kagoules as we set off to a drizzling and slightly misty start, as we headed for the hills above Trelawynd.

Eleven of us were out today on a walk which was as pretty as it was varied. Not long after starting a steady hill climb upto Graig Fawr the sun came out to greet us and to escort us for the whole day. At the top we were relieved from heatstroke by a pleasant sea breeze blowing up from the Welsh Channel. Here we had our morning break as we gazed out over the suburbs of Prestatyn and Rhyll. To the west south west was Snowdonia and to the south,  Llantysilio Mountain and  Moel Famau could be seen . After a short drop and another short climb we traversed the path running through the woods above Prestatyn before dropping down into the bustling town. This then became a trip down memory lane for those of us who had spent our childhood holidays here.

Pub lunch al fresco and then off down to the promenade to meet the beach. Here we turned east along the prom untill it ran it's course and we took to the dunes like the Foreign Legion. The pace started to quicken around this point as we pushed on hard to make an impromtu dinner date arranged by Jan at a local hostelry in Trelawnyd, for the alloted and latest available time of 17.45 hrs.  This did not stop us from  enjoying an ice cream stop as we passed by a holiday camp shop. Despite the pace the afternoon's walk was still a gem as we rose and fell across several wooded and pastured hillsides on the way back to Trelawnyd. The anticipated climb of Gop Hill, the grande finale, was thwarted by our schedule and also by forestry work, so we hastened on down the track to the village for our dinner date. This turned out to surpass all  the expectations we had for an ordinary village pub in an 'off the tourist track location'. In short the meal and the service was as excellent as it was well priced.

Well done Jan for a memorable day out.

Ken Twigge

Wonderful views from morning tea stop of the western profile of the Snowdonia mountain range plus looking down on the lush vale of Clwyd and the sweeping Kimmel bay. On route to the sea we came upon an amazing metal sculpture of a Roman helmet in which we stood for a photo. Onto the dunes after lunch then a steady climb back to the start with a brief stop to view Liverpool bay and cathedral. Great end to the day with a meal in the Crown Inn, Trelawyndd for £8, thanks Jan for a great day out, nice to tread new ground.


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Photo: Jan

(more photos below)

Read more: 16 July: Offa the Dyke and Onto the beach

13th July: Coach trip to Malham

The bus trip to Malham started off promptly and was very near full when it left the pick-up in Newcastle. Progress up the M6 was painfully slow, as the supposedly smart motorway was still at a remedial stage.  Once we cleared Thelwell viaduct progress picked up until we were just a few miles from our destination. Having turned off into a narrow road, a set of road works and a road closure left us in a very tight corner. The driver Mike, known to many from last year's trip to Tenby, magically managed to turn the bus round in what seemed to be an impossible space. The resulting 18 mile detour meant we were well behind schedule when we arrived at the Visitor Centre, but we split into two groups.

Malcolm Sproston led the larger party past Janet's Fosse to the spectacle of Gordale Scar, where the beck cascades over a 100 ft drop.  Ignoring the right of way up the waterfall itself, we retraced our steps a little way and climbed steeply up Cawden Hill. There we stopped for a picnic, basking in the sunshine and marvelling at the views back into the gorge and its waterfall. From there, a very pleasant walk led us first to Malham Tarn, then along the Pennine Way by way of Malham Cove. The limestone pavements at the top were enjoyed by all, with some of us being told the difference between clints and grykes. A long series of steps led to some welcome shade at the foot of the cliffs, then a short walk back into the village gave plenty of time for refreshments. Some chose the pub to slake a thirst while others opted for tea and cakes, but all were able to sit out in the sunshine.

While Malcolm and his followers were toiling in the hot sunshine, Dave Martin and his party took a leisurely stroll. Firstly down the Pennine way to Hanlith then after a short steep ascent followed a green lane then a moorland path to Weets Top at 414 metres. Visibility was about 30 miles and Penyghent was clearly seen. A descent down a lane led to Gordale Scar and a lovely ice cream at the refreshment caravan before continuing to Janet's Foss then back to Malham.

The return trip was not without incident. Avoiding the morning's road closure, after a few miles of narrow country lane the coach was confronted by a tractor with a large excavating shovel at the front, followed by a convoy of cars. They were not giving way, so Mike had to manoeuvre backwards until we could find a wider stretch of road. By then a convoy had built up behind us, and they were reluctant to reverse. One local in particular was rather bloody minded, and would not shift until one of our party went out and told him where to go! That incident held us up a while, but worse was to come. For the last few miles before Lancaster, the dual carriageway was down to a single lane and again our progress was painfully slow for 15 or 20 minutes.

It was well after 9 when we dropped off in Newcastle, but despite all the delays everyone agreed it had been A Grand Day Out!

Charlie Bigley

(see below for photos)

Read more: 13th July: Coach trip to Malham

The Wrong Trousers

170705Many thanks to Howard for his excellent leadership of a happy band of hardy ramblers on Thursday 28th of June up the Matterhorn (of Cheshire ) in somewhat challenging conditions. Early morning mist give way to early afternoon mist and drizzle but at least the pollen count was low, the risk of sunstroke was low and the jovial camaraderie meant that morale remained high. It was also a great opportunity to try out our waterproof gear which hasn't had an airing for somewhile. Comparison of degrees of wetness were heard "my top is dry, but my bottoms are soaked", "one of my feet is dry" and one lady confessed that she had made a rookie error of 'not buying new waterproof trousers, despite her partner's sage advice two weeks ago'. Her reasoning was ..'because it is summer now !' The mist in Macclefield forest was ethereal and as someone said it reminded them of a filmset, right on cue, Bambi appeared. Howard did a good job of describing the view he had seen from Shutlingsloe on his recce a week earlier, as we shared a much welcomed cup of tea by the roaring fire in the Crag Inn. He has promised to put this walk on again in the next programme. Watch out for Shutlingsloe revisited - not to be Mist!


21st June: A sunny walk from Cresswell

I would like to thank the 20 walkers who joined Susan and me on a sunny day at the Izaak Walton Inn. Sadly the Inn had ceased trading a few days previously, but were we disheartened? Yes, naturally, but our spirits were raised by the pleasant chatter amongst both older and newer members and the gentle breeze at the start. A mixture of footpaths and lanes took us eventually to a coffee stop and the opportunity to admire the stained glass of Draycott Church. Afterwards, the walk involved communing, always amicably, with cattle, horses and large fields of sweet corn. The dry weather meant that, for once, our boots seemed cleaner at the end of the walk compared to when we donned them. 

At the end of the walk we all retired for refreshments, tea in my case, to the Draycott Arms where the whole experience was considerably enhanced by the sight of David’s knotted hanky headgear. A photograph was taken and a blackmail letter may be issued in due course.

Stephen Merry




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Monday, February 19, 2018