Fly & walk (2)

Our flight to Alderney was on this Trislander Plane.

For this second of three walks where I have taken a flight to the start of a walk I am headed south. Rather than setting out with little planning, this flight and walk was pre-planned some time in advance. Taking a week long holiday with my son in Guernsey, we planned to visit the neighbouring island of Alderney but being a bit out of the main tourist season there was no ferry service. The only way we were going to get there was to fly and to make the most of the day we planned to get the first flight out from Guernsey and the last back.

This was going to be an action packed day which would rely heavily on public transport running to time and good weather. Our guest house kindly supplied an early light breakfast left at our room on the previous night and so it was up early to catch the first bus from a deserted St Peter Port to the airport at 06.30am. The flight was on time, if a little early and in no time our small group of six passengers were whisked across the ten miles of sea in our little Trislander plane to arrive slightly early on Alderney.

Early morning on the High Street, Alderney.

We were walking before 8am from the airport down to the sleepy village of St Anne. First of all we had to fine a shop selling drinks for the day and were surprised to find a well stocked small supermarket. We wandered down through the largely empty cobbled streets towards the harbour where a vessel was being unloaded. The harbour area as such was an untidy place and we had time to venture out to the breakwater but not along it. Occasional waves were sending spray over the breakwater so it wasn’t a good idea to get wet at the start of the day. I spotted a trig point on Fort Grosnez which towers above the harbour but there was no access to it.

Alderney – The Inner Harbour with Fort Grosnez. The trig point on top of the fort looks inaccessible.

We set out anti-clockwise along the coast to Fort Doyle, the first of many forts we would pass today on this fifteen mile long walk then along the sands of Saline Bay where you were warned of a strong tidal undertow. German fortifications were everywhere much to the delight of my son who had a big grin on his face all day. Below Fort Tourgis, my son took the shore road whilst I walked uphill to visit Druid’s Altar Burial Chamber passing on the way the extensive shell of Fort Tourgis. I then took a track down to the shore to meet up with my son again. It had now clouded up for awhile as we wandered along towards the tidal causeway to Fort Clonque. This rocky outpost is now a holiday let and is only accessible at low tide. For now, waves were crashing across the causeway and hence no access. An engineered zigzagged path now led uphill but we missed our intended path to stay with the coast and ended up on the plateau area. The area around Giffoine was honeycombed with German defences but much of the area was covered in gorse.

Fort Clonque lies on a island and is connected to Alderney by a tidal casueway. In the far distance (middle left) can be seen The Casquets Lighthouse.

 

The rocky islets of Les Etacs at the western end of Alderney is a gannet colony.

Back down on the coast we came across large German gun encampments with bunkers, one of which must have taken a direct war time strike. It was overwhelming how much this area was defended during the war. Offshore were the impressive sea stacks of Les Etacs, a gannet colony. We had to walk inland to avoid Vallee des Trois Vaux before returning to the impressive coast above Telegraph Bay. In bright sunshine we headed east before we were forced inland. A track ran to the south of the airport above the coast but there were few spots to access the coast due to gorse and brambles. We rested awhile on a seat before joining a path. We were now aiming towards Essex Castle and we had a couple of miles of pleasant coastal walking on a good path. The centre of the island was dominated by large pasture fields. Apparently the Germans had ripped out the old small field boundaries. My son often went off to view fortifications whilst I took my time on the path. The only downside in this area was the islands’ rubbish dump, situated in full view of an otherwise attractive section of coast. A little further on at Essex Hill we came across a trig point before joining a road down on the seaward side of Essex Castle. At a sheltered spot above Longis Bay we stopped for lunch out of the cool breeze.

This is typical scenery along the southern coast of Alderney. This photograph is at Les Quatte Vents.

 

On the path approaching Longis Bay on the south eastern end of the island.

 

The German ani-tank wall which backs sandy Longis Bay. A nice little suntrap today.

 

 

The German Fire Direction Fort – one of several concrete structures on the island.

Setting off we continued along the deserted sandy beach below the German anti-tank wall. Beyond, we joined the road briefly before making a diversion to view the large German structure above Mannez Quarry. Despite it being locked, my son managed to get in through a slit so meanwhile I took a rest for awhile to admire the view. It was then back down to the road before crossing some rough ground and heading down to the shore path. At this point we were the closest people to the French coast and still on British soil. Fort Houmet Herbe on a rocky island offshore was in a ruinous state and in any case by now we were keeping an eye on the time and so didn’t venture out there. Next came Fort Quesnard which was in private hands and Fort les Homeaux Florains beyond, which looked inaccessible on a rocky islet. One place I wanted to look at was the Mannez Lighthouse, standing proud near on the headland with its black and white strips. We headed on around Corblets Bay passing Chateau a L’Etac and down onto the deserted sandy beach at Saye Bay. Bibette Head had more than its fair share of German defences. My son explored these whilst I made my way slowly up to Fort Albert, another prominent fort. By now we wanted to visit the island museum before it closed as so exploring further forts was out of the question. At White Gates we came across the Alderney Railway and after a briefly look, we headed towards Braye Bay before cutting up into St Anne. We found the main shopping street before heading off to visit the island museum. Being out of season we were only the second visitors of the day. After around three quarters of an hour and a brief chat with the curator we spent the rest of the late afternoon exploring St Anne. A detour was made to view the German Water Tower before wandering down to St Anne’s Church, often described as the Cathedral of the Channel Islands. For awhile we sat in the churchyard in the cool spring afternoon sunshine with crows calling in the trees but no other noise. It seemed hard to believe that we had actually made this trip to one of the last places in the British Isles for me to visit. Allowing a bit of time, my son and I wandered back to the airport. There was little or no traffic about despite a large number of vehicles on the island. The flight on time for the short flight back to Guernsey and again we were rewarded by good views. High cloud was filtering in from the west. Back at Guernsey we were just in time to catch a bus back to St Peter Port before the walk back to the guest house. It was quite an achievement to have been on Alderney soil and now back in our guest house in Guernsey in just fifty three minutes!

Mannez Lighthouse which dominates the eastern end of the island.

 

The Alderney Railway which was built to quarry stone to build the breakwater.

 

St Anne’s Parish Church has been described as the Cathedral of the Channel Islands.

So summing up, there is so much to say about this island, but we both decided that one day was not enough to explore the island in depth. For those of us interested in military history, World War 2 and forts, it is a paradise. For me, I was fascinated in this fiercely independent island with few connections with the outside world. I think an ‘Island Kingdom’ sums it up and despite the high price to get there and back, the day was certainly worth it. Furthermore, we had been lucky to get there as the following day the flights had been grounded due to rough weather.

Group walk 18th January

Descending from Clarke’s Lane to the Middlewood Way. Many of the group are captured in this photograph.

This medium walk started locally in Macclesfield and attracted 22 walkers and with no long on offer walk today, a large group of walkers had assembled on this fine sunny but frosty morning to be led by Michael Murphy. Setting off from Whalley Hayes Car Park we first headed through West Park where we tried to avoid the worse of the slippery conditions underfoot and pausing briefly at the large 30 ton erratic (boulder) which was brought to this area during the last ice age. Its original location has been traced to near Ravenglass in Cumbria. Our walk then passed through Macclesfield Crematorium before following a short section of path through the Riverside Park then making our way across to the Middlewood Way which was followed north to the wooden footbridge over the Silk Road. A little beyond the far side we stopped for our morning break at Woods Bridge over the Macclesfield Canal before following the muddy towpath north to Clarke Lane Bridge and here we diverted to follow a short section of the Middlewood Way and later descending via Tinker’s Clough to rejoin the Macclesfield Canal Towpath at Greens Bridge.

In the bright sunshine we continued north passing the Adelphi Mill then over the Grimshaw Lane Aqueduct and leaving the towpath to follow a short section of Hawthorn Road to get back onto the Middlewood Way via the Bollington Viaduct which once carried the Macclesfield, Bollington & Marple Railway. It was opened to passenger traffic in 1870 but was a casualty of the Beeching cuts. With the former railway lying dormant it was eventually bought by Macclesfield Borough Council and a program of works over the following years developed it into a recreational trail called the Middlewood Way. There were even plans to demolish the Bollington Viaduct but there was much local opposition.

Our walk headed east now through the Recreation Area then along Water Street and High Street in Bollington before making the biggest ascent of the day up to White Nancy. The majority of the group took the more gradual but longer ascent to the summit via the Millennium Steps whilst a smaller group took the hill direct up the muddy and slippery slopes. White Nancy was our lunch stop by which time a cool breeze had sprung up and there was more cloud around now and the deep blue skies of earlier in the day had turned hazy.

We set off along the Kerridge Ridge where in places a better path surface had been implemented but part of the path was a sea of mud due to heavy footfall. The descent at the southern end was muddy and very slippery and so progress was slow. We joined the B5470 briefly before joining Carlofold Lane then taking a muddy path over the shoulder of Cliff Hill. At the end of this path we turned left uphill on Cliff Lane then along another very muddy path down to the B5470 once more. Heading towards Macclesfield we soon struck out along the Macclesfield Canal towpath to the Buxton Road before heading into the town via Victoria Park.

Ramblers reflected in the waters of the Macclesfield Canal north of the Adelphi Mill at Bollington.
Some of the group at lunch stop by White Nancy. A cool breeze had sprung up and so many more had taken shelter behind White Nancy.

Group walk 11th Janaury

Win Hill as seen from Bradwell Moor before the weather closed in.

By Sue Thersby.

The forecast was not good, however 16 brave ECR ramblers set out from Mam Nick, the break in the ridge walk from the bottom of Rushup Edge to Win Hill. Unusually, we did not go along the ridge but started off in a southerly direction to cross the aptly named Windy Knoll. On reaching the junction of the Limestone Way and another footpath our route took us along the footpath over the western edge of Bradwell Moor. Continuing in the same direction, we crossed Batham Gate which is the site of a Roman road. It is believed that it ran south-west from Templeborough on the River Don in South Yorkshire to Brough-on Noe and the spa town of Buxton. The name means “the road to the bath town”. On reaching Pittlesmere Lane, we changed direction to go along this lane in a roughly easterly direction, before reaching our next footpath sign to take us northwards, through field paths across Tideswell Moor to cross Batham Gate again. The area is well known for its lead mining history and the OS map shows remnants of old mines across both Bradwell and Tideswell Moor. Crossing the Limestone way by a farm marked on the map as The Cop, we went via north-westerly paths to Oxlow Rake. Workings on this rake have been documented from at least 1709 when it is recorded that `John Bradley’s Grove on Oxlow was in production’. However, another branch of Oxlow Rake, known as Daisy or Deasy Rake was recorded on the Castleton enclosure map of 1691 suggesting that lead working in this area started before this date. At the end of the rake, we arrived at a small settlement called Old Dam and then picked up the Pennine Bridleway as far as our second rake – Gautries Rake. This was our lunch spot before we climbed up and through the rake. It is said to be an extremely well-preserved example of a linear sequence of lead mine workings. From here, we passed through Sparrowpit, another small settlement, and continued uphill to take a route above the valley to reach the lay by at the western end of Rushup Edge. We finished our walk by climbing gradually along the edge with views of the Edale Valley to our north and some of our route to the south, passing the highest point of the ridge Lord’s Seat at 550 m (1,804 ft) on our way.

Additional notes from Colin Park
Did you know how Sparrowpit got its name? It is not an earth pit where you might find some of our featured friends so I decided to look it up and the name derives from ‘spar row pit’ from the fluorspar mines nearby. My search for information led me on to another unusual name in the village. The local public house is called ‘The Wanted Inn’ but why? Again I decided to research the origins of the name and the explanation is as follows;-
The public house started out its history as a farm house over four hundred years ago and in 1700 was converted to a pub and named The Three Tuns. In 1839 it was renamed as The Devonshire Arms and was then part of the Chatsworth Estate. A decision was made in 1950 to sell the pub to raise money for death duties but during the auction there was no one interested in the property so it remained empty for some years until it was eventually sold to new owners who decided to re-christen the unwanted pub to the Wanted Inn.
On Sue’s walk did anyone notice the water trough as we walked through Sparrowpit? This is called Bennet’s Well as is unusual as it lies on the watershed of England. Water from the well runs west via a series of streams and eventually enters the River Mersey which in turn flows into the Irish Sea whilst rain falling on the eastern side of the village street eventually makes its way via the River Wye and River Derwent to reach the River Trent then into the River Humber and finally into the North Sea.

Squeezing through a stile on Bradwell Moor.
Morning coffee stop out of the brisk wind just off Pittlesmere Lane.
A dragonfly at Cop Farm.
‘Expedition team’ at base camp before tackling Gautries Rake.
A straggler on Gautries Rake.
Afternoon tea stop in a shelter of a wall on a murky Rushup Edge.

Fly and walk (1)

Circling over North Ronaldsay with a view down to Linklet Bay which I would visit later.

We probably don’t think twice on the mode of transport we use to get to the start of a walk. More often than not we usually get there by car, or we may use a train or bus, especially if we are doing a linear walk but there are other forms of transport to get to the start of a walk. I have on occasions arrived by tram and rarer still used the hovercraft from Portsmouth to Ryde to do a walk on the Isle of Wight, but how many of us have gone on a walk by using a plane to get to the start?

In a series of three forthcoming articles, my mode of transport will be a plane to reach the starting point for my walk and for this I am not even leaving the British Isles.
Two of my three walks using a plane to get to the start were planned at very short notice and my first time I tried this was when I was in the Orkney Islands many years ago. Now there was no long term advance planning for this but the opportunity arose where I could fly out to one of the outer islands, but which one. I decided to go for the remotest and with the promise of good weather the following day booked a flight out to the tiny island of North Ronaldsay.

It was just a short drive from Kirkwall, my base, to the airport on this fine sunny morning and I had plenty of time to spare. Whilst waiting in the departure lounge the weather had changed from sunny skies to misty grey conditions so that was not a good start. The Islander plane duly arrived, and a little late and under a grey sky we boarded and soon we were off flying out and passing to the east of the island of Shapinsay and soon we were back into the sunny skies. The flight had been altered and would now include a stop off on the island of Sanday before off again for the short hop to North Ronaldsay.

In bright sunshine we landed, and having watched the plane take off again from the short grassy and uneven runway I set off north along the straight lane running up the spine of this small and flat island. After about a mile I branched left on another lane to reach the few scattered crofts at Ancumtoun before crossing a couple of fields to reach the coast. Turning east I now followed the shore with the aim of reaching the tall brick lighthouse in the distance. The going underfoot was slow as the shore was rocky and pebbly with a few stretches of good sand to walk on. Later as I headed closer to the lighthouse there were far more birds about, in fact there were thousands of them. The lighthouse is a fine building consisting of a slender brick tower painted with white bands. Built in 1854, this 139 foot high structure is the tallest land based lighthouse in the British Isles and cost just over £6,000 for its construction. In 1889 it was repainted with two white bands so it could be better seen. The climb to the top is via 176 steps but it was closed today.

The Islander plane at North Ronaldsay. Along with the pilot, this plane can carry seven passengers.

Setting out along the straight and open lane towards the northern end of the island under big skies.The lighthouse can be picked out towards the right of the photograph.

The lighthouse on North Ronaldsay is the tallest land base lighthouse on the British Isles.

The original lighthouse at Dennis Head was first lit in 1789.

The white and empty sands at Linklet Bay were not exactly crowded.

I headed next to Dennis Head which is dominated by the Old Beacon, a crude stone tower which stood amidst a jumble of ruined buildings. This earlier lighthouse was first lit on the 10th October 1789 and was in use until 1809.
I paused awhile before rounding Dennis Loch and decided to take the road westwards rather than stay on the rocky foreshore. Later at Snash Ness I decided to regain the coast which meant climbing over a fence. Soon I was on the fine white sands of Linklet Bay which provided a mile of easy walking. I stopped and chatted with an islander gathering seaweed which would be sold to an American company as seaweed had a number of uses in the chemical industry. I now lost the sunshine as thicker cloud rolled in from the south and I continued at a leisurely pace around Bride’s Ness and here there were many seals offshore. The going again became slow to reach Strom Ness and at the same time it was turning misty. I still had plenty of time to spare as I followed the shore to South Bay which had another fine stretch of sand. What I hadn’t bargained on was that it had now turned very foggy with a visibility of only around fifty metres. At the pier at Nouster I got chatting with another islander who said that the plane wouldn’t be back if the fog stayed like this. This was all I needed, and so on a dull and very foggy afternoon I took the lane north to Hollandstoun thinking about at my options. I paused to visit the church and afterwards took a longer route back toward the airfield. With time still to spare I headed west out to Doo Geo and sat on the rocks looking out on a very foggy North Atlantic before returning to the airfield waiting room. The staff there were uncertain as to whether the plane would return and there had been no phone call from Kirkwall to say that the plane wasn’t coming. Time slipped by in the silent waiting room. Was I going to be marooned on a remote island I thought? Where would I stay? Did I have enough money? All these thoughts went through my mind. As time dragged by, the sound of an aircraft approaching was music to my ears and I was soon aboard and being whisked back to Kirkwall Airport and back into the sunshine.

Returning to Kirkwall Airport. The final approach after an exciting day.

Free Leadership Training

RAMBLERS ASSOCIATION NEW LEADERSHIP TRAINING

Walk Leadership Essentials is a full-day FREE course for volunteer walk leaders – helping you to develop the skills and confidence you need to plan and lead inspiring group walks. 

The course covers the roles and responsibilities of a walk leader, the practicalities of planning and leading a walk, and some of the scenarios you may encounter when out leading group walks. We will run through everything you need to know about insurance and safeguarding to ensure that your walks are safe and enjoyable for all.  And there will be plenty of time to ask questions, and share experiences and ideas with your fellow walk leaders!

Both new and existing walk leaders are welcome to attend – no prior knowledge or experience is necessary.

For further information click Leadership Training Ramblers Association

There are two training sessions in Manchester this January. To book click this link BOOKING

Group walk report 22nd December

By Kathryn Carty

A small group of East Cheshire Ramblers spent several hours on a fine and clear Sunday on an eight mile walk along tracks and fields starting from Lindow Common. The group met at the car park and amongst the party was a long standing member whose walking activity had lapsed long ago and she was keen to get started again and this being a flat walk was an ideal one to tackle.

Walking brings so many benefits in addition to just general fitness. It lifts the spirits to get outside amongst nature, and what better than to spend it with friendly companions? It is also an opportunity to make new friends. We always welcome new walkers.

The walk followed some known and some lesser known paths. It is always an achievement (and challenge) for the walk leader to take people where they haven’t walked before.

We headed first towards the Carrs over the barge boards through the woods which are filled with the haze of bluebells in the spring. We skirted the rugby club into the Carrs and we followed the River Bollin towards the play area which proved to be an ideal spot for a coffee break with picnic tables and loos. The route then took us past St Bartholomew’s across the Handforth Road and under the bypass in the direction of Alderley Edge. There was no chance of escaping the mud on the fields past the allotments. We walked briefly on the Hough and then crossed farmland below the Edge and could see the spire of St Philip’s in the distance. A tunnel under the railway enabled us to head for Hardern Park. We had to cross London Road and the Alderley Bypass onto a footpath which took us away from the constant sound of traffic. Lunch was a quick picnic in a somewhat odd spot near a culvert just before the entrance to Alderley Golf Course but it was an unusually dry spot. The golf course was devoid of golfers and we could only guess that the course was closed presumably waterlogged. At least it meant we hadn’t to worry about stray golf balls as we crossed the course to exit onto Brook Lane. From there we walked onto Knutsford Road towards Row of Trees past Lavinia where we could have picked up a bargain Christmas tree for a fiver. Sadly we had all already splashed out far more on one.

Once across Knutsford Road we could get onto bridleways to take us to Lindow Moss. The Moss is a fabulous place to walk, a real oasis just a stone’s throw from the centre of Wilmslow. Before then we passed Dan’s DIY at Stormy Point, an excellent shop and one of my absolute favourites. Across the road from Dan’s was Rotherwood Road and we were now near our destination. We walked back to the car park over Lindow Common, another oasis and an SSSI no less where the Rangers are working at restoring the natural heath land. Years ago, pressed by my young son, we went on a Ranger’s activity, cutting down saplings as part of the heath land restoration project. It was jolly exhausting but satisfying and I still remember Paul, the Ranger, showing us unusual plants and mosses, so another place worth an explore.
We all enjoyed our day out and felt it surpassed any Christmas shopping.

Group walk report January 2nd

Crossing the dam at Bosley Reservoir at the start of the walk.

By Sue Munslow

For the second East Cheshire Ramblers walk of the year, the starting point was the roadside pull in beside the dam at Bosley Reservoir. The walk started with favourable conditions with the sunlight over the water and on the surrounding hills. The path was followed along the top of the dam before descending to the village of Bosley. The secluded church in the village is Grade II listed and the greater portion of the church dates from 1777 and is built of red brick. Prior to this the church was a timber framed structure. The tower is much older and was built around 1500.
A further descent across field brought us to the Macclesfield Canal at the bottom end of the Bosley Locks. The flight of twelve locks raises the canal 36 metres and water is fed to the canal is supplied from a series of feeders from Bosley Reservoir and Sutton (Turk’s Head) Reservoir.
Leaving the canal we circled around to Stonyfold and taking a initially muddy path passing the Hollins. We briefly walked along a short stretch of the A54 before taking a path steadily higher via Fairyhough to the top of Croker Hill. The 238 foot high communication tower was built in the 1950’s but has a more sinister past as it was built to provide the UK and NATO with survivable communications during nuclear war.
Our walked continued over Wincle Minn following a very minor and little used road, and along this part of the walk we were rewarded with fine views across to Bosley Cloud and the Cheshire Plain and in the opposite direction to Shutlingsloe and the Roaches.
Much of this area is very well way-marked thanks to the efforts by a small army of volunteers who inspect and maintain the footpaths and erecting way-markers where necessary.

At Bosley Locks.
Crossing the overspill channel on the Macclesfield Canal near Bosley Locks.
Crossing the aqueduct over the River Dane below Bosley Locks.

A New Way To Find Our Walks

You may have noticed that a lot of random words have appeared on the walks programme on our home page. It’s not a mistake but a new, additional, way of locating the places where our walks start.

It is called what3words. Each 3 metre square in the world has been assigned a different combination of three words by What3words Ltd and they supply a smartphone app which converts the three words into a location and can then guide you to that place. The idea is that what3words is more accurate than a post code and easier to remember than latitude and longitude or a grid reference. At the moment you need the app to make use of the words but in the future it is likely that satnavs will accept them.

What3words won’t be replacing anything on our web site – it is just another way to guide you to our walks.

East Cheshire Ramblers Presents ‘The Clink’

RAMBLERS EAST CHESHIRE GROUP

THE CLINK

“…serving thyme reduces reoffending…” 

The Clink Restaurant Styal (voted charity of the year in North East Cheshire), will talk about how the restaurant reduces reoffending rates with training and support, changing attitudes, transforming lives and creating second chances

FRIDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 7PM FOR 7-30PM

 Macclesfield Tennis Club SK11 8LF

Please support this event and maybe bring along a few friends?

  Tickets £6, which includes a light supper a licensed pay bar is available.

Tickets can be bought from

Jane Gay, Colin Finlayson, Sue Munslow, Kathryn Carty, Keith Anderson

Maggie Swindells 16, Castle Hill Court, Prestbury, SK10 4UT

maggieswindells@gmail.com  07729327940

PAYMENT

Cheques made payable to RA East Cheshire Group

Online Payment     Event Ref: CLK

  Bank: Unity Trust      Account Code: 20129929     Sort Code: 60-83-01

  TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR COLLECTION ON THE DOOR

Group long walk January 4th

A footpath over a low ridge west of Rushton Spencer.

Thirteen walkers set out on this long walk from the car park at Biddulph Grange led by Sylvia Hill. Our walk initially took us through the Grange housing estate before joining the Biddulph Valley Way which runs along the former track bed of the Biddulph Valley Branch line. The railway line opened in completely in 1860 and connected Stoke on Trent and Congleton and despite being a success for the transportation of minerals, passenger numbers dwindled and many of the stations closed during the 1920’s. The line finally closed in 1962 and today, virtually the entire former route is now a footpath and cycleway.
Leaving the Biddulph Valley Way we now followed the Gritstone Trail across squelchy and in places waterlogged fields before making the steep ascent to the summit of Bosley Cloud. This was our morning break stop and we found somewhere out of the cool breeze to admire the views which stretched south to beyond The Wrekin and west over toWales.
Staying with the Gritstone Trail, we descended via a series of field paths to reach another path which runs along the former Churnet Valley Railway Line. This former railway line originally ran from North Rode in Cheshire to Uttoxeter was opened in 1849 but closed in several stages between 1964 and 1988. Part of the route now forms the Churnet Valley Railway.
In Rushton Spencer, which once boasted a railway station we passed The Knot Inn before taking a field path up to the isolated St Lawrence Church. Standing on a small hill the church has been referred to as ‘The Chapel in the wilderness’. The building is Grade II listed and the present building dates from the 17th century. The tower is of interest and has a timber bell turret above. This was our lunch stop today.
A series of field paths were now followed over the northern shoulder of Biddulph Moor and we were pleased to see that after ten or so relatively dry days, ground conditions were beginning to improve. A small diversion was taken to visit the rocky knoll at Troughstone Hill to admire the view before descending to enter the grounds of Biddulph Grange Country Park and taking a route via Spring Wood and a section of the Obelisk Walk before returning to the cars. A few of the group finished the day with afternoon tea at a local supermarket.

Heading towards our lunch stop at St Lawrence Church, Rushton Spencer.
Winter sunshine with a view towards Croker Hill from Rushton Spencer.
Our lunch time view overlooking Rushton Spencer.
Pausing on Troughstone Hill towards the end of our walk.