Three Shires Head walk
6 March 2022
This is a very beautiful linear walk with options of approximately 9 or 12 miles along the Dane Valley. It covers no less than three counties. The walk commences at Danebower on the A54 south east of Buxton. Our destination is the pretty village of Rushton Spencer.
The walk commences at Danebower, where we descend from the road past a large chimney to the River Dane. Signs of the former coal mine and quarries still exist in what is now a very rural location. We follow the river down to one of the highlights of the walk, Three Shires Head – so called because Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire all meet here in a beautiful location where the river is spanned by an old packhorse bridge. Were we blessed with three feet, we could stand with one in each county concurrently. We hope to have a short break at the bridge before proceeding down the valley. From here, everything on the left bank of the River Dane is Staffordshire and the right bank Cheshire, more or less.
The main group (shorter walk) will have the main break of the day at Gradbach. Unfortunately, the toilets and café here are probably still closed for the winter. This is however an idyllic location, with picnic tables and interesting scenery. This shorter option will then follow the beautiful valley just below Lud’s Church, directly to Danebridge where we cross the river into Cheshire. Another rest break should be possible here. The group will then continue along the river through picturesque meadows and woodland. We cross again into Staffordshire and follow a feeder channel for Rudyard Reservoir to Barleighford. From here it is but a short walk to Rushton Spencer along a gentle country lane, with nice views across the countryside.
The longer walk option involves a couple of long climbs past Gradbach and above Black Brook towards Roach End, where we pause to admire the scenery and take a short break. From here, we follow the top of the ridge past The Hanging Stone and down through beautiful woodland to Danebridge. The ridge offers exhilarating views of the surrounding countryside, including The Roaches, Tittesworth Reservoir, The Cloud and Shutlingsloe. From Danebridge, we plan to continue to Rushton Spencer along the same route as the shorter option.
Rushton Spencer is a small, picturesque village which offers two nice pubs, including the Royal Oak which is conveniently situated right at the end of our walk. Our coach will depart from the main road near the Royal Oak at 6pm for the journey home