Walk­ers hear tales of coun­ter­feit­ing and wal­la­bies...

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS -

THE rarely-vis­ited Quarn­ford area in the iso­lated Stafford­shire Moor­lands of the Peak Dis­trict was the fo­cus of a re­cent 8.5-mile walk by East Cheshire Ram­blers, de­scribed here by leader Bar­bara Jack­son.

Start­ing from the car park at Grad­bach, the party of 15 walk­ers set off to­wards Flash, at 1,519ft/464m above sea level re­put­edly the high­est vil­lage in Eng­land and once an early cen­tre of the Wes­leyan faith.

At one time it was no­to­ri­ous for coun­ter­feit­ing – fake coins be­ing sold to trav­ellers by a bridge across the River Dane at nearby Three Shire Heads (also known as Three Shires Head) at the point where Stafford­shire, Der­byshire and Cheshire meet be­neath Axe Edge Moor.

When the coun­ter­feit­ers got wind that the po­lice were com­ing they would es­cape ar­rest by cross­ing over the river into a dif­fer­ent county, hence the ex­pres­sion “flash money” and their ring­leader be­ing known as “Flash” Harry.

The walk con­tin­ued through beau­ti­ful coun­try­side to Roach End, where binoc­u­lars were out in the hope of catch­ing sight of a wal­laby – the last sur­viv­ing de­scen­dant of five mar­su­pi­als that were re­leased in 1940 from the menageries of lo­cal landowner Henry Brock­le­hurst when wartime ra­tioning forced the clo­sure of pri­vate zoos.

Although it is thought all have since died out, re­ports of sight­ings still oc­cur.

The most re­cent was in April this year.

Con­tin­u­ing along the ridge with its fan­tas­tic panoramic views, the group de­scended into For­est Wood past Lud’s Church – a dra­matic, 50ft deep cleft in the un­der­ly­ing rock with steps lead­ing into a chasm.

The route re­turned to the car park past the old Grad­bach YHA, a for­mer 18th cen­tury mill, which is now set to get a new lease of life as an out­door ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre.

For de­tails of East Cheshire Ram­blers’ pro­gramme of week­end and mid­week walks in the Peak Dis­trict as well as other his­toric and scenic lo­ca­tions go to ram­blerseastcheshire.org. uk.

●● The East Cheshires take a break on the Stafford­shire Moors. Photo by ECR cam­era­man Andy Davies

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