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Amber Valley Ramblers, Derbyshire

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Home Diary Walks Froghall Foxt 2 July 2017

Froghall Foxt 2 July 2017

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Walk Diary Sunday 2 July 2017 Weather, 16° sunny.
Froghall Wharf Depart 10 a.m. 10 ¾ miles Leader: Dick H.
No. on walk 10

Wonderful weather for this perfect walk, making up for the times when we have been here and have suffered from water laden clouds that always seemed to leak. Our persistence was rewarded by a quite extraordinary walk that had a little bit of everything which goes to make a walk good. A good sign at the start, was the tea room next to the free car park, preparing for business, with us making a mental note to visit on our return. As it turned out we were all in need of a cuppa, as the weather had warmed us up, along the last stretch. A bonus just after the start, was that we were able to get a good view of a Heron who stayed long enough for the cameras to click before ungainly stretching its wings and eventually getting airborne.

We took the canal side path from the wharf, passing by the old redundant works buildings and some of their modern replacements, leaving the canal for a while as it entered a tunnel which appeared not to be designed for very large vessels, see picture. We walked beside the A52 crossing over Froghall Bridge, looking down on the Churnet Valley Railway station, taking the chance to get a few shots of the steam locomotive waiting for the signal to leave. Already there were people on the platform having their picture taken before boarding the train. We walked on southwards to cross the River Churnet and the aforementioned railway, following parallel to the line of the river towards Ross Bridge. At this point we turned north and walked along Ross Lane, to the small village of Whiston, stopping in the very neat and tidy grounds of St. Mildred's Parish Church, for our first break.

Soldiering on, we climbed the very steep rise up to Foxt, along the way joining the line of the Staffordshire Moorlands Walks. On reaching the small hamlet of Foxt at the top, yep you've guessed it, we then went down the other side on some delightful paths and small lanes eventually ending up in Ipstones, a rather larger village which we noted, even had its own post office and a village butcher, now there's a story! After passing the school we walked through, shall we call it a suburb, Stocks Green, stopping at the parish church of St. Leonards', for our lunch break. Some of us sat on the benches in the nearby graveyard, whilst others contented themselves with the churchyard wall, the sun shone and it was with reluctance, with our lunch finished that we had to move on.

We were now about halfway, as we started our return journey, thankfully moving downhill for some way and once past The Clough, we passed through such places as Brockholes and Collyhole. After rounding Stakebank Wood we descended to and cross Collyhole Brook, following its' line southwards on an interesting path which meandered, at times, erratically through Rough Intake Wood until reaching the fishing ponds and road at the end. We followed the road and lane to pass near to the entrance of Belmont Hall, taking the ridge path here to find The Devil's Staircase. This we descended, several flights, amounting to over two hundred steps in all, finally emerging from the wooded cliff side at the Black Lion pub at Consall forge, nestled next the Canal and Railway. The place was heaving with people out for Sunday lunch or just as stroll along the canal, enjoying all what summer and this area has to offer. We ourselves took a short drinks break, enabling us to witness the passing of the rather large steam train, ladened with passengers making their way back to Churnet Station.

For us, it was a good two mile stroll along the Caldon Canal tow path, that is also part of the Staffordshire Way, back to Froghall, to the now very busy Hetty's tearooms for that long awaited cuppa, make that two. I and I think most, thoroughly enjoyed our lengthy trip to this delightful part of Staffordshire, thanks to Dick for his resolve, to enable us to see this area in the dry!