An­cient paths take walk­ers on a jour­ney through time

Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON - MAR­ION DUFF

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

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