wind­ing each other up and re­mem­ber how much they love each other’s com­pany. That only tends to hap­pen on walks. Funny that. Then came the best bit of all. Climb­ing into the trees above Hans­ley Cross, the faintest of paths branched off to the right, ap­par

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Discover -

A frag­ment of the line still ex­ists to the west as a steam her­itage rail­way; see www. chur­net­val­ley rail­

Tow­ers. And by virtue of our Fas­track ticket, we were able to shorten our queu­ing time, which meant I could – fi­nally – ex­plore the or­na­men­tal val­ley. To my de­light I dis­cov­ered it was a damn fine walk in it­self, and a great place for a quiet lunch, if you want to avoid the hub­bub at the fast food out­lets and get your breath back. Sud­denly a big hole in my life had been filled. I’m not sure the mo­ment was quite so pow­er­ful for Mol and Rosie. But it was bril­liant for hide and seek.

For the record, when it comes to the main rea­sons you’d go to Al­ton Tow­ers, Mol’s favourite ride was Rita; Rosie’s was the Oc­to­nauts Ad­ven­ture in CBee­bies Land. Mrs H says you can’t go wrong with the Congo River Rapids ( be­cause all of us could go on it to­gether) and I’m still a sucker for Galac­tica (for­merly Air). This was just be­fore Wicker Man opened – Bri­tain’s first new wooden roller­coaster for 20 years – but I guess we have to go back for that.

When we do, we’ll ex­plore a bit more of the Chur­net Val­ley. Be­cause as much as it was the rides that the kids told their friends about at school next day, Richard’s pictures re­veal the truth: that a fam­ily ride in the Roller­coaster Hills was ev­ery bit as mag­i­cal.


It’s ac­tu­ally Molly telling Rosie she had found a lit­tle cave to ex­plore, but ‘rock­gob­lin’ seems more apt some­how.

THE GHOST TRAIN The trackbed of the Chur­net Val­ley Line passes through the aban­doned Al­ton sta­tion.

BEAT­ING THE RE­TREAT The Ram­bler’s Re­treat: one of the finest tea­rooms in the mid­dle of nowhere that you will ever come across.

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