A brew with a view on wood­land walk


●● AN an­cient wood­land was one of the his­toric gems await­ing mem­bers of East Cheshire Ram­blers at the start of a re­cent six-mile walk led by Sue Mun­slow...

The beau­ti­ful Spring Wood in Bid­dulph Coun­try Park has ex­isted on the site since at least 1600 and was for­merly part of the Bid­dulph Grange es­tate on the bor­ders of Stafford­shire and Cheshire – once owned by James Bate­man (1811-1897), a cel­e­brated hor­ti­cul­tur­ist of his day who used his in­her­i­tance to de­velop the grounds with wood­land walks and or­na­men­tal gar­dens, in­clud­ing Chi­nese and Egyptian themes.

The grange and 15 acres of gar­dens were ac­quired by the Na­tional Trust in 1988 and have since been ex­ten­sively re­stored af­ter years of ne­glect.

Twenty five ram­blers in­clud­ing five new mem­bers at­tended the walk which pro­ceeded through the woods to join the Stafford­shire Moor­lands Walk­way and climbed steadily up­hill – the frosty yet clear and sunny con­di­tions af­ford­ing lovely views across the val­ley be­low out to­wards Con­gle­ton and Mow Cop.

Af­ter cross­ing the val­ley to­wards White­moor, cof­fee was taken over­look­ing Bid­dulph Park and Bosley Cloud be­fore the walk­ers con­tin­ued over Con­gle­ton Edge where they were greeted by more great views, this time of the Cheshire Plain and Con­gle­ton, be­fore re­turn­ing to Bid­dulph Coun­try Park through Wil­locks Wood and Gil­low Heath via the quaint­ly­named ham­let of Nick i’ th’ Hill.

East Cheshire Ram­blers will be or­gan­is­ing up­wards of 250 walks this year of var­i­ous dis­tances and grades to suit all lev­els of abil­ity – from gen­tle strolls of around five miles to mid­week and week­end out­ings rang­ing in length from eight to 14 plus miles.

In ad­di­tion there are regular week­ends away and so­cial out­ings as well as cour­ses on prac­ti­cal sub­jects like map read­ing and deal­ing with a med­i­cal emer­gency out­doors.

New mem­bers are al­ways wel­come.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion go to ram­blerseast cheshire.org.uk. ●● THERE are hun­dreds of dog train­ing books and DVDs (I’ve made a few my­self) all with dif­fer­ent opin­ions. For a dog owner seek­ing help it’s very con­fus­ing.

At­tend­ing a new dog class is like try­ing out a new restau­rant. You don’t know how good it is un­til you have been.

Some are ex­cel­lent and oth­ers so bad you’ll be worse off than if you never went at all. Un­for­tu­nately, you won’t know which one you have un­til you com­plete the course.

So what should own­ers do? The an­swer is a lot eas­ier than you imag­ine.

Take a close look at home­less peo­ple and their dogs.

I’ve been ob­serv­ing them for 20 years and I have yet to meet a home­less per­son with an un­ruly dog.

I fol­lowed a home­less man in Lon­don’s Covent Gar­den walk­ing his two dogs off lead all the way to Mar­ble Arch across some of the busiest streets in the coun­try. The dogs were to­tally fo­cused on him and wher­ever he walked they fol­lowed.

I saw a home­less lady in Brighton ride across town on a bat­tered old bike while her dog kept pace on the pave­ment stop­ping when­ever she stopped.

So how do they do it? How come home­less peo­ple do things with their dogs most of us can only dream about?

It isn’t sim­ply the amount of time they spend to­gether, it’s hav­ing rules, bound­aries and a lead­er­ship. Home­less peo­ple can­not af­ford un­ruly dogs, no shel­ter or town cen­tre will al­low it.

When they are on the move they walk with pur­pose. Th­ese dogs don’t have time to wan­der off.

Food ap­pears when it ap­pears so they learn to stick close to their own­ers.

Th­ese dogs share a deep bond with their own­ers based on dis­ci­pline, lead­er­ship and care.

Most pet dogs have lots of care but very lit­tle else.

If you need help with your dog go to www. vicbar­low.com or text me on 07590 560012.

●● Home­less peo­ple can­not af­ford to have un­ruly dogs – no shel­ter or town cen­tre will al­low it

●● Cof­fee was taken on White­moor over­look­ing Bid­dulph Park and Bosley Cloud

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