Route description & photos
Start from the old North Staffordshire Railway (disused) line at Oak Road, Westwood, just to the west of Leek. Commence walking North West towards Rudyard.
The first section of walking is serene and easy, following the flat and straight route of the old Leek to Rudyard railway line.
A couple of bridges are crossed, and views open up to either side.
A short section continues between tall embankments, but when a third bridge is encountered, this is where we leave the old railway line.
Turn left down the steps and walk away from the bridge towards a stream.
On the other side of the stream - which is the canal feeder from Rudyard Lake - turn left over a stile.
This is the Staffordshire Way and the path remains with the canal feeder almost all the way back to Leek.
There is the occasional muddy section, and some grassy parts, but in the main it is a good path to walk on.
Views open up over Westwood Golf Course to your left as the path continues to follow the canal feeder.
Some paths go off to the right into Ladderedge Country Park, but we remain with the path beside the canal feeder.
Look out for a large tree, the trunk of which has been decorated to look like something out of an old Enid Blyton book!
At the A53 main road, a footpath continues on the opposite side of the road, and this is a possibility for our route, but for a better path, turn left onto the road, walk a short distance, then turn right onto the next public footpath.
This walks through another section of Ladderedge Country Park and is very pleasant.
It is a good path through the country park, alongside the River Churnet.
Exit the path onto the bridge.
After the bridge, head through a series of passageways between tall fences.
You will reach a T-junction of these paths, and you turn left. you are now back on the old disused North Staffordshire Railway line again, but south of Leek this time. Unfortunately, the line does not link completely up with the part we started on; an old tunnel has been filled in under the centre of Leek.
Continue along the path, pass under a viaduct and across the car park for the large Morissons store.
Head over towards the petrol station and through the underpass.
Bear right out of the underpass, then left onto Burton Street. Take the fourth right onto The Walks, a cobbled residential cul-de-sac, and follow up to its end.
From the end of The Walks, a long passageway continues through to Cruso Street.
Turn left onto Cruso Street, then right onto James Street, and bend round left into Picton Street.
Continue to the end of Picton Street, and opposite you will see the Take-A-Break sandwich and oatcake shop. If it is breakfast or lunch time, you will not be disappointed!
Head along Westwood Road towards the recreation gardens. Look for a narrow alleyway on your right. Turn into this to follow around to the left between the backs of houses. At the end, turn right into North Street. Follow footpath and cyclepath signs for Rudyard.
Towards the end of North Street, veer right onto a footpath that passes between some houses and avoids roadside walking. Continue straight ahead over the next road.
Continue ahead onto another footpath at a bollard, and soon you will see another sign for Rudyard, pointing left down some steps.
Head down the steps to rejoin the old railway line. Pass under the bridge to return to the start point. Enjoy your oatcakes!