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.