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.

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



15th June: Croxton and Ollington Hamlet

170515 3aDue to an accident on the A50 Brian arrived at the starting point 45 minutes late.To our amazement  there were 25 eager ramblers awaiting our arrival. After donning our boots we set of on our way for a 8 mile walk across green pastues and views towards Weaver Hills.

The weather at times was very warm and at lunch time a few of us enjoyed a cool drink at the Raddle near Hollington. After lunch we went over numerous stiles with many of them in poor condition (future jobs for the working party).

 From a dodgy start, the day turned out to be a success.Thanks Brian.

Alan Bell

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7th June: Get the Abbey Habit!


The inaugural 4 mile leisurely walk introduced in this summer’s programme took place on Wednesday in a window of good weather within a week of torrential rains and dropping temperatures. The original route for the walk had had to be changed due to the closure of the canal towpath but Anne, our leader, had devised an imaginative way around this. We embarked on a route which included urban, rural and woodland walking. We began at the ancient historical site of Hulton Abbey which was founded in 1219. Many members of the group were very knowledgeable about its history and significance. Anne had done a lot of research and one of the most interesting facts was about the origin of the ‘Monks Way’. Monks were forced to pay tithes to Leek church and any who did not comply had to travel on foot to the gates of the rival abbey to be punished. The historical theme continued – albeit a bit more recent - with us walking past 3 of the walkers’ primary schools with much fond or not so fond reminiscing!

Our coffee stop was overlooking the valley of the Trent and Cauldon canal and we mused about how the hard industrial scenery of coal mines and pot banks has now been softened by the gentle greening of the landscape.  A lunch stop at the end, amongst the ruins of the abbey, concluded this enjoyable and interesting walk.




Photos by Anne

Stoke/Newcastle Footpath Team with their 'stile-ish' new high-vis vests













Photo by Alan Bell

4th June: Sunny Sunday walking via 2 canals

040617 SG
Photo by Anne Clamp


24 happy ramblers left the roadside parking near to Snape's Aqueduct (old A50 Church Lawton) and walked through fields and woods to Scholar Green down to the Macclesfield canal. Waterproofs on/off, on/off, on and finally off as we sat next to Hall Green lock for a coffee and sandwich. Brief rain to cool down both the day and ramblers. At Hall Green, a lock was built to separate the Macclesfield canal from the Trent and Mersey canal because the water coming down the Macclesfield canal, all the way from Bosley Reservoir via the Bosley locks is from over 15km away, and it is precious. So because the Trent and Mersey would not pay for the water the excess goes to a stream, all for a difference in height of 12 inches!! From the lock we continued to the junction with the Trent and Mersey as the Macclesfield passes over it. We descended via steps to the Trent and Mersey and followed it west back to Snape's Aqueduct via 9 sets of double locks and a 30 metre drop in height. It must have been a real trial for the original boats waiting for locks to fill and empty and there was the Harecastle tunnel also on the Trent and Mersey. There was a disappointment at the end, we had to climb a stile, the rest of the walk being all gated. 24 still happy ramblers finished the walk and then most rejoined to The Lawton Arms for a rest.

Tony Adair

Summer 2017: Group footpath maintenance team features in the national press

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The efforts of Stoke/Newcastle Ramblers footpath maintenance team have been rewarded by a report in the current edition of the Ramblers 'Walk' magazine. Ramblers members will find ‘Like your stile’ featured on page 18 of the Summer 2017 edition.

Alan, the team leader, commented ‘We’re out using the paths every Sunday and just want to give something back’; a typically modest comment from a group undertaking ongoing excellent work that is often not recognised.

Stephen Merry



28th May: Dove and Marston Montgomery

It 's now confirmed - Alan is a stileophile, The stiles on  this walk were many and varied. A few of them were failry easily negotiated. In the morning we enjoyed a pleasant walk through fields and woodlands, along river paths and lanes before reaching our lunch/pub stop at Marston Montgomery where we sat outside in the sunshine enjoying our refreshments. The leader's requests to move on were at last complied with and we then set off again. The afternoon proved more of a challenge for those with dodgy knees as we encountered stiles awkward either by design or through neglect or both. However, all 16 of us survived, mostly undamaged and we had Alan's navigational skills to thank for our eventual return to our cars, as the route finding was a bit of a challege at times. Joking apart, I really enjoyed the walk - well, the coffee break, pub stop, afternoon break and the bits between the stiles!. Lovely weather too. Thanks Alan.



21st May: Double Sunset and Double Scoop! in Dovedale.

170521maxm2Precision timing, good weather, an astro-geographical  phenomenon (!) and historical footnotes were some of the themes of Sunday’s full day walk. On arrival we were told that we would be meeting some other ramblers at the lunch time pub stop at 12.31pm. Impressive reconnaissance must have led to such a confident prediction. The walk began with a short but steep ascent of Thorpe Cloud which, for a relatively small pull up, rewarded us with spectacular views of the Dove Valley and a dizzying view of the stepping stones. It was here that the leader informed us of the double sunset viewed from Lin Dale around the summer solstice, discovered by the writer Jeff Kent in 1997.

After our descent we obediently avoided the red flag area where a shooting club were practising. The walk then took us across the varied countryside and landscape of this lovely part of the Peak District with an answer as to why some farmer’s fields have rows of ridges. We were told that these are lynchets – left over from medieval ploughing. Medieval ploughs only had one blade and so would turn over the soil to make a ridge for the seeds to be planted and the furrow would be left for drainage.


On to a coffee stop in the beautiful village of Tissington with some curious ducks, a shoal of copper coloured fish in the village pond and talk of a very good pie shop. We duly arrived at the lunchtime pub stop – sort of at the time predicted - and were joined by two regular Sunday ramblers and their grandchildren. Having young people to accompany us on the afternoon walk was a delight – their energy and questions about the countryside and life in general was refreshing. On to Dove Dale itself and a stop for a delicious ice cream – I have only been on two full day walks but was assured that this happens all the time!  A great walk, ably led by some Welsh chap, who I sort of know.

Good luck to Dora on her 100 mile challenge walk in the North York Moors next weekend.


7th May: Alton/Gallows Green

1705071On a gloriously sunny and warm day, Helen led a walk from the Ramblers Retreat that started at the crack of dawn (well, about 09.00). The morning found the ten of us (including Chris from Nottingham for the second week in succession) going what seemd to permanently up hill (or 'up bank' as it seems to be described in this almost northern outpost) - obviously not true, but at my age it doesn't need much of an incline to get the heart pumping. Just prior to the scheduled lunch stop at the White Hart in Alton Helen took us on a small detour to hobbit land, aka the Alton Towers Enchanted Village, via a car park which invited guests to 'put your car to sleep' while enjoying their stay in exotically named accommodation such as the Chocolate Suite. After a pleasant interlude in the pub Helen whipped us into 1705072shape, going up more slopes than exist in the himalayan foothills - luckily matching these with downhill bits to allow us (me) to get our (my) breath back. Along the walk we were able to enjoy glorious views, buzzards circling to feast on any fallen ramblers and a herd of deer which put on a display of synchronised cantering as they crossed and re-crossed our path through the Bamford estate, along with mother nature's spectacular display of bluebells and many other flora, too numerous to mention. Suffice to say that they were not ones I stumbled across too often during my childhood in West London.

Overall a very enjoyable walk through varied terrain through woods, along rivers and across fields coupled with unequalled views across the English countryside, not to mention the conversations on a wide range of subjects - the very reason I joined the ramblers on retirement. A big thank you to Helen and here's to many more walks to come.



30th April: South Derwent Valley

1704301Another fine day for a fine walk as Jan Bigley led fifteen of us, including two welcome guests from Nottingham, up and away from Cromford Mill. We climbed steadily through pastures and bluebell woodland with good views down to Cromford and the valley below. In the woods we encountered a 'bat box working party' with men up ladders and a woman in control operating a clipboard. After a few more undulations we climbed up to Crich Monument to experience good views and a bracing breeze. Then on down to the Old Black Swan for our lunchtime break. Eight1704302 cask ales were on offer but with another 5 or 6 miles to walk we couldn't do them the justice they deserved. After leaving the pub, strong and stable leadership was required to steer us to our final destination. This was ably provided by Jan but with the added benefit of being aware of the needs of those who were only just managing. We were provided with an ice cream stop where most of us were pleased with the varieties available. We then did a few more ups and downs through fields and picturesque woods before following a flatter green lane back to the village and our cars. Thanks Jan for a really good varied walk.


23rd April: Long Mynd

17042321704231Fifteen of us joined Tony Ratcliffe in All Stretton, and up we went - then along the Long Mynd moorland skyline past the trig pillar - and down we went - to a fab lunch spot sunning ourselves by a stream in Little Stretton, with two of our party enacting the battle of the stones to see who could get the other the wetter...  After welcome refreshments, up we went again - and down - and up - and down.  Who said ‘undulating’ could cover more than 2,000 ft of ascent overall? Tony did! Seriously, thanks for a classic walk in amazing scenery when the weather got its act together with glorious sunshine by the afternoon.



29th Mar: Locks and Gingerbread

Many thanks to the 11 members who joined Susan and me for today’s half day walk from the Four Alls PH, Woodseaves. The weather was kind to us with the rain holding off depite the forecast. We walked, firstly, along tracks into Market Drayton where we joined the Shropshire Union canal at Thomas Telford’s high viaduct and then we proceeded to Tyrley Locks with their unique microclimate. Lastly, from Tyrley Wharf we walked along country lanes back to the Four Alls for refreshments before departure. Today we had a varied walk and saw 19th century engineering at its best.

Stephen Merry

12th Feb: Four Staffordshire Halls

Bottomhouses to Ipstones

As we set off at 09.00hrs into the biting wind and snow flurries after parking in a layby at Bottomhouse it very soon became obvious that the  Met Office had got their forecast right and Woody's luck in choosing the sunny days had finally run out. There was still eleven of us out on this bleak February morning braving the elements. Sadly the temperature was not quite below freezing point although with wind chill it was 'feel like' -5, consequently it did not provide the icy crusty underfoot which we had hoped for. Instead the previous day's snow had soaked away fast into the already saturated low lying pasture land.

Conversation was fairly limited this morning as we picked our way across the fields since we were all muffled and hooded like Eskimos. The snow eased off genorously for our morning break but came down with renewed vigour as we homed in on the sanctuary of The Sea Lion pub in Ipstones. The pub was wood burning stove welcoming and was hosted by a friendly and eager to please landlord. After an hour of relaxation and convivial conversation Brian decided that it was time to answer the call of the wild and to upsticks, don hats and leave. Off we set into the biting wind for the final three miles back to the cars. Icy wind blown sleet now prevailed as Brian shepherded his flock across the boot-sucking semi-submerged pastures. The last mile was a sprint as we all increased our pace to escape the piercingly sharp wind-blown sleet to arrive safely back in the layby and the prospect of an early bath.

Ken Twigge

9th Feb: Oakamoor

These are the Ramblers who took part in the 9-mile Oakamoor walk, on February 9. The weather held and a good time was had by all.

Peter Taylor and Stephen Merry



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Tuesday, May 22, 2018