Scenic 10-mile walk to pleasure ground for Victorian day trippers
TWENTY East Cheshire Ramblers enjoyed a fascinating 10-mile walk back in time recently on a midweek walk that took them from Knott Inn at Rushton Spencer to Rudyard Lake, near Leek – once a favourite haunt of Victorian day trippers, including the parents of one of England’s most celebrated storytellers.
First stop was the parish church of St Lawrence the Martyr.
Dating from 1386, the beautiful old sandstone church was reached after a steady, 80-minute climb. The benches outside offer clear views over the surrounding Staffordshire countryside and were particularly welcome for a coffee break.
Heading south, the party gamely crossed streams, climbed over stiles and walked through fields of grazing cows and sheep to reach Rudyard Lake Visitor Centre in time for lunch, with autumn sunshine reflecting off the 2.5m strip of water.
Constructed more than 200 years ago to supply water to the expanding West Midlands canal system, the lake became a popular destination for hordes of Victorian day trippers arriving by train on the North Staffordshire Railway.
Among the visitors were John Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard, and Alice MacDonald who met there on a trip from the Potteries and liked the area so much that they named their son after it.
Today, surrounded by well-wooded hillsides, it provides an attractive venue not only for walkers but also anglers and sailing enthusiasts.
In summer the miniature steam railway is a novel delight for children and adults alike.
Apart from a complete programme of midweek and weekend walks, East Cheshire Ramblers organise regular coach outings to other scenic locations throughout Northern England as well as occasional weekends away and other social activities.
For further information go to the website: ramblerseastcheshire.org. uk
‘Among the visitors were John Lockwood Kipling and Alice MacDonald who met there on a trip from the Potteries’
●● East Cheshire Ramblers by Rudyard Lake