Ancient paths take walkers on a journey through time
OUR 12.5-mile ramble lead by Graham Bothwell set off from the peaceful Staffordshire village Alstonefield, once a bustling market town from where many of the footpaths date back to the Middle Ages.
After ascending Narrowdale Hill, we paused to take our bearings of Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill to the north before descending to cross a road and follow a path towards Wetton which is noted for its annual toe wrestling competition!
Climbing the ridge above the village a breathtaking vision of the beautiful Manifold Valley unfolded below us, as well as evidence of disused lead mines on the surrounding hillsides.
The spectacle of leaves turning into autumn colours in a last attempt to display life before winter, farm animals, quaint hamlets, halls and a lone stile in the middle of a field all contributed to the visual joys surrounding us as we ate our lunch in the mellow sunlight.
Arriving at Rushley Bridge, under which the River Manifold had partially dried up, we headed upwards towards Ilam with its Neo-Gothic hall, which was given to the National Trust and is used today as a youth hostel.
Positioned proudly in the village square is the unmissable Mary Watts Russell memorial cross.
Continuing up through Hurts Wood we came to Stanshope Hall which dates from the 1500s and was rescued from dereliction in the 1850s.
A final climb took us through Allan’s Bank and back to the car park at Alstonefield at the end of a delightful walk through time.
For more information go to ramblerseast cheshire.org.uk.
Walking through time - the group catch their breath on Narrowdale Hill