Into Staffordshire

  • Day: 36 – Monday 19th June
  • Started at: A Farm, A5
  • Finished at: Dunston Heath Farm
  • Miles: 8
  • Miles from LE: 443
  • Duration: 5.25hrs (9:30-14:45)
  • Trig points visited: 0
  • Ales imbibed: 0

In part due to my recent decision to take it a bit easier and because of the sweltering heat I decided to split a long day into 2 shorter ones.

I left the campsite across fields and frequently looked back to make sure I didn’t a surprise hand on the shoulder with an accusation of fee-dodging. I made a bee-line for the pretty village of Wheaton Aston to stock up on some food and the pub by the canal would have made a perfect afternoon stop but as it was only 10:30, it was closed so I had to continue.
I bashed my way through more overgrown paths and was taking a break in a field when a couple in their 70s came along the path. When the man approached he saw my ‘End to End’ guidebook and said; “we’re doing that!”. They spend 1 week each year doing a 100mile section of the LEJOG route, so it will take them 12 years to complete. I set off with them for the next mile but I was diverting to a campsite so I wished them well and headed to the village of Dunston. I had a great view over Cannock Chase (my route for tomorrow) until a bus sized motorhome blocked it entirely!

The mega bus that blocked my view
The mega bus that blocked my view

But what made the campsite more memorable were two food donations; firstly the campsite manager gave me an ice cream to cool down, and in the evening a couple gave me their surplus takeaway chips. Yummy!

  • Day: 37 – Tuesday 20th June
  • Started at: Dunston Heath Farm
  • Finished at: Carney Pools, nr Colwich
  • Miles: 12
  • Miles from LE: 455
  • Duration: 6.5hrs (9:30-16:00)
  • Trig points visited: Adjacent to a glacial boulder, 194m – SJ890181
  • Ales imbibed: 1.5x Wainwright

From the campsite I headed south which felt very wrong, but it was brief and I was soon walking eastwards towards Cannock Chase. It was another hot morning but luckily it was easy walking and once I had passed under the M6 I came to the village of Bednall. The route was going to bypass the village on footpaths ‘you’re not missing much’ was how the guidebook put it. But I decided to stick to the road and was surprised and delighted as I was treated to a community who were desperate to win ‘Best Kept Village 2017’. It was immaculate and very pretty – it served as a reminder not to take the words of the guidebook as gospel. “You can go you’re own way” – as Fleetwood Mac put it!

Beautiful Bednall
Beautiful Bednall

Cannock Chase was a welcome relief from walking across private farmland and I enjoyed it so much that I appeared to speed up which only served to bring it to an end sooner – d’oh . At times it feels as if the not so good bits drag on and the good bits are over in a flash but I’m hoping that the Peak District will redress the balance.

Cannock Chase
Cannock Chase

More or less reached my destination at 4pm so spent the afternoon in a pub garden before pootling to the campsite which was nothing to write home about.

  • Day: 38 – Wednesday 21st June
  • Started at: Carney Pools, nr Colwich
  • Finished at: Toot Hill B&B, Uttoxeter
  • Miles: 13.5
  • Miles from LE: 468.5
  • Duration: 8.5hrs (9:30-18:00)
  • Trig points visited: 0
  • Ales imbibed: 0

More warm weather which although is a bit energy sapping I much prefer over rain and/or wind. Initially I set off along the Trent and Mersey canal which was novel. Canal towpaths make great walking – for short periods. They’re flat, unobstructed, there are people, wildlife and generally always something to look at.

Canal boats
Canal boats

Abbotts Bromley was a lovely find and I indulged in a delicious pub lunch whilst hiding from the midday sun. Whilst having lunch I received the devastating news that Ronnie and Julie (the couple I met in Cornwall who were about a week ahead now) have had to pack up and go home due to an illness in the family.  If you’re reading, thanks for all the tips guys, best wishes and I’m sure you’ll come back and pick up where you left off one day. I’m going to have to brave it alone now – argh!

The afternoon was dominated by huge prairie-type fields which seem to go on and on and on, but I eventually popped out in the outskirts of a very humid Uttoxeter with a storm threatening. I arrived at my B&B rather hot and sweaty and was delighted to be offered a glass of water with ice which I downed in one.

Abbotts Bromley
Abbotts Bromley
  • Day: 39 – Thursday 22nd June
  • Started at: Toot Hill B&B, Uttoxeter
  • Finished at: Farm on the Hill, nr Ellastone
  • Miles: 8.5
  • Miles from LE: 478
  • Duration: 6.5hrs (9:30-16:00)
  • Trig points visited: 0
  • Ales imbibed: 0

After the obligatory full English breakfast I headed into Uttoxeter and happened to pass a Waitrose. Regretting a few weighty purchases and now heavily laden I set out past the racecourse, under the bypass and caught a glimpse of the Derbyshire border – although I would only be skirting it and not entering properly for another day or so.

Almost in 'erbyshire!
Almost in ‘erbyshire!

The path rose up to a wood but the became so impassable that I scrabbled through the undergrowth and over a precarious barb wire fence only to land in a wheat field. Through the other side the route passed through a Clay Pigeon Shooting Club – 11am on a Thursday morning appears to be ‘shooting o’clock’ as frequent shots were fired either side of me which was a little daunting so I didn’t hang about.

I passed through Rocester which could be called JCB town. It is home to the JCB factory, JCB academy, JCB fishing lakes/club, JCB gift shop, JCB farm and more! After lunch the paths became ridiculously overgrown – the worst so far and despite launching attacks with my poles they hit back and I still got stung and scratched, grrr. Eventually got into fields and then took a lane into Prestwood and Farm on the Hill. It is a gorgeous campsite consisting of a large mature wild meadow with small mown areas which form almost separate rooms with narrow mown pathways betweeen them.  The facilities are basic; a pair of longdrop toilets (with a stunning view!) and 1 solar shower but what more do you need? I was the only occupant but even if I weren’t it would still have been very private and cosy. It was a civilised evening as I cooked and ate at a table and lit a campfire. It took a shameful amount of time and effort to get the fire going but once I did it captured my attention and kept  me mesmerised for hours. I was so still a wood mouse even came and joined me briefly by the fireside – a magical moment. Best night of the trip so far!

FIRE!!!
FIRE!!!

Author: lhwood1

I enjoy a good walk and so I decided to go on quite a long walk from Lands End to John O'Groats this summer. You'll be able to keep up with my progress through this blog.

4 thoughts on “Into Staffordshire”

  1. Hey Lucy! I’m delighted to know that your ” best night of the trip so far” happened in Staffordshire – my birthplace!! Yes! And a wood mouse! Bless! I just love those little creatures. You are so lucky!! The great thing about Staffordshire is that it has Cheshire and Derbyshire on its doorstep….. especially Derbyshire! You are in for a treat. You will definitely enjoy this section. Have fun! XX

    Liked by 1 person

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