Walk Diary Sunday 11 November 2018 Weather, 12°C. Wet to start.
Waterhouses Station CP. Depart 10 a.m. 9 ½ miles Leader: Dick H.
No. on walk 13
A damp start, as we gathered for the off in the old railway yard car park, the official start of the southern end of the Manifold Way. The rain wasn’t that heavy, but it was necessary for us to don our wets for the first half an hour, after that, although there was low cloud at first, it gradually brightened up quite a bit as the day wore on.
Most of the walk was done just inside the Derbyshire side of the Staffordshire border, but we soon noticed the difference, when later in the day we crossed over into what seemed to be an impoverished part of the Staffordshire Moorlands. I say this, not because of the inhabitants, but rather with regard to the state of the paths and footpath furniture. Even though we were on the nationally recognised Hamps Way, the stiles and footbridges were for the most part rotting, hand rails missing on some footbridges and makeshift gates filling gaps in the walls. In fact, on one bridge of two aligned sleepers, it was so slippery that two of us had to re-erect the fallen handrail and act as supports for the rail by holding either end whilst the others crossed gingerly over the brook. It was once, evidently, a well marked way, but many of the marker supporting posts had rotted off and laid prone in the undergrowth, little wonder this route looks so underused. As a note of irony, most of the posts carried a disc saying Staffordshire County Council ‘working together’!
We left the car park, crossing over the A523 and almost immediately picked up a footpath heading due north, we followed this line to reach Oldfields Farm, via Slade Lane, by eleven and this being Armistice Day we stood in silence for two minutes as our small act of remembrance, after which we took our morning break. The track turned to a metaled road as we continued on to Grindon, picking up an extra, in the form of a lively dog who accompanied us from Manor Farm as far as Grindon Church, someone told it to go home and off it went.
From Grindon church we headed almost westerly to Grindonmoor Gate, passing through a small farm and on to a point just below the trig point, twelve hundred plus feet. At this point we, turned south and after passing through a herd of interested young beasts, we gained a muddy track and entered onto the street in Ford via a farm yard. Across the road was the weirs and channels of the River Hamps, presumably a mill stood here in the past. We now joined the Hamps Way, stopping in a pleasant grassy field, by the first marked footbridge to enjoy our lunch break.
We followed the Hamps Way all the way back to the car park, except for one section betwixt Felthouse and Bank Flatts, whether by design or not, I’m not sure, but to see the Donkeys at Iron Pits Farm, was a treat and as you see Frankie has captured an image that certainly brought a smile to my lips. Except for the bit around Grindon, most of the walk was on paths not used by many of us before, so it was good to see some new territory. Thanks Dick.