Alton

9 June 2024

Staffordshire

We explore part of the beautiful landscape of South Staffordshire today, with this 12-mile circular walk from Denstone in the Churnet Valley. Highlights include a walk through the delightful village of Alton and the haunting ruins of the Cistercian abbey at Croxden. In general, this is a very pleasant walk, with just one really long climb out of Dimmings Dale.
Our walk begins in the small village of Denstone. We follow the Churnet Valley north east for a short distance along the Staffordshire Way, before turning west to the village of Alton, famous mainly for its theme park on the opposite side of the valley. We pass through the village, including the castle, the two principal churches and the village centre, before descending past caves and more quaint buildings to the bottom of the valley. Here we join the Churnet Way at the former railway station for a pleasant walk along another short section of the River Churnet. We cross Lord’s Bridge over the river to arrive at the famous ‘Rambler’s Retreat’ for a break. Here we shall find refreshments and toilets.
After recuperation, we follow a tributary of the Churnet along Dimmings Dale, past old mill ponds and through beautiful woodland. Eventually we ascend high above the valley to Newton. We now follow the high ridge southwards, with long views across the countryside, to Greatgate Wood. From here we descend to the road and walk along to the village of Great Gate, passing the whipping post on the way.
We turn south for a short distance before following a footpath east to the tiny hamlet of Croxden. Here, we shall take a break in the grounds of Croxden Abbey, dating from the 12th century. This is owned by English Heritage, but entry is free. We can spend time exploring the ruins, or simply resting for the final leg of our perambulation. Please note there are no facilities here.
On our departure from Croxden, we cross fields to Pointhorne and turn north east towards our finishing point at Denstone. On the way, we pass through the grounds of Denstone College. This was opened in 1873 by Nathaniel Woodard and was originally called St Chad’s College. Its Gothic buildings are a spectacular sight.
Back in Denstone village, we arrive at ‘The Tavern’, a very atmospheric seventeenth century hostelry. The coach will leave from a bus stop adjacent to the pub at 6pm.
We are always keen to welcome new members. Why not join us for this lovely walk. You can try us out for two walks before you need to join the club. The coach fare of £12 remains payable though.

Coach Departure

The coach picks up at the following points.
(With the agreement of the leader other pick-up points
on the bus route may be available). The fare is £12.

“Staff of Life” pub, Hack Lane Sutton-in-Ashfield 9.15am
Priestic Road, opp McDonald’s Sutton-in-Ashfield 9.20am
Eastfield Side, (Blue Bell) Sutton-in-Ashfield 9.22am
Hermitage Lane stop, Sutton Road Mansfield 9.25am
ASDA bus stop. Stockwell Gate. Mansfield 9.30am

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