A Walk in the Manifold Valley

At the beginning of the year, we promised to try and walk an average of 2-3 miles each day. Mainly made up of the walk to the shops to get a newspaper each day plus other longer walks at less frequent intervals.

January, February and early March went fine but then we stopped throughout April & May. Now we need to start again.

Our walk this week was a circular walk from Wetton in Staffordshire, through the Manifold Valley and back about 6.5 miles which took us about 4 hours including a break for sandwiches and a second one for a cup of tea. We had planned to go on Wednesday but, at it poured with rain, delayed a day. After fighting our way along the A52 past roadworks we drove along a few minor roads to our start point.

We started, just as the clock on the church was striking 12 noon, in Wetton car park (space for about 10 cars) which has a convenient toilet, packed our bags and put them on our bags. Up through the village (more a hamlet really – about 30 houses, many of which seem to be holiday cottages now which I suppose is better than being empty), towards Back of Ecton. We walked and round Wetton Hill and were diverted slightly off our intended path by a herd of cows and their calves (we didn’t want to disturb them at this time of year) but went over some stepping stones, past Manor House and a couple of farms before making our way up Ecton Hill.

Ecton Hill is historically famous as a series of copper mines whose copper was used on the hulls of British warships and for the first transatlantic cable. The only remain are some piles of spoil and potential deep holes in the ground which you are waned to keep clear of.

I tried to take a panoramic view from the trig point at the top of Ecton Hill but it was very windy and my trusty point and shoot couldn’t cope with the vibration – so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Over the brow of the hill and down a steep slope past the Engine House (being looked at by some people from National Trust), past the Powder House and on down towards the Manifold Track. This runs along the route of the Leek and Manifold Light Railway and provides a pleasant (now level) stroll through the wooded Manifold valley. Through a tunnel (watch out for cars), one wonders why this railway was built and (as it only existed for a few decades) it obviously wasn’t successful.

As ever, I tried (and failed) to take pictures of all the wildlife as we went along but above is a sample of the things that were about at the time. Its noticable that everything seems a little later than around home, I assume because its a bit higher and therefore colder.

After stopping for a cup of tea at Wetton Mill we continued on down the river Manifold until we came to Thor’s Cave where we turned off back towards Wetton.

The River Manifold is a bit weird, for the first part, it is full of water and flowing strongly. Then suddenly, without warning, it disappears underground and doesn’t appear again on this walk. (Apparently when the river is in full spate, it does flow but mainly its underground until it gets to Ilam where it reappears).

We decided not to walk up to Thor’s Cave (which was probably a mistake) but made our way up a muddy bank, through a field of cows (no calves) and back into Wetton. An enjoyable and worthwhile wander in the countryside.



About PelicanPlants

Growing tomatoes and other vegetables in a greenhouse and at an allotment.
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