18th Feb: Bishop Offley walk
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.
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!
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)
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.
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 https://e-activist.com/page/15160/petition/1, which calls on the government to increase access to woodland
2. Share your views on the future of access by completing the survey at https://e-activist.com/page/15458/data/1
A new Ramblers guide to open access is available at http://www.ramblers.org.uk/accessguide
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 https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/eLand/RightsofWay/Rights-of-Way-consultation/The-proposals.aspx. You are strongly urged to read this and to send your individual response through the associated online portal at https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/eLand/RightsofWay/Rights-of-Way-consultation/Have-your-say.aspx. 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!
10 Sept: Bow Hill to Englesea Brook
A photograph by Tony McC of our morning coffee break.
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 bowling....land, length and most importantly luck!
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.
Chinley and Hayfield Gazette (Northern correspondent)
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.
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.
(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!
(see below for photos)
Read more: 13th July: Coach trip to Malham