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Lockdown 43

 

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.

 

Old Hall, Westwood College        North Staffordshire Railway line at Westwood

 

The first section of walking is serene and easy, following the flat and straight route of the old Leek to Rudyard railway line.

 

NSR (disused) towards Rudyard        Very easy walking

 

A couple of bridges are crossed, and views open up to either side.

 

First of several bridges the line goes over        Crossing an old railway viaduct

 

A short section continues between tall embankments, and continues over more old viaducts carrying the old line.

 

Railway embankments        Exit at this bridge

 

The path passes through a fence and into a car park as Rudyard station is approached.

 

Dismantled railway route continues        Approaching Rudyard

 

Rudyard station is a pleasant and interesting spectacle along the route.

 

Rudyard station        Rudyard station

 

Rudyard station looks more like an oversized toy train set than a miniature railway!

 

Rudyard station        Rudyard station

 

After the station, follow the railway line to the dam.

 

Railway going towards the lake        Approaching the dam

 

At the dam, turn left to cross a footbridge onto the dam itself.

 

The Dam station        Bridge onto the dam

 

Continue across the dam.  Refreshments are available at the boathouse, or at the nearby Hotel Rudyard.

 

Rudyard Lake        Footpath down to the foot of the dam

 

From the end of the dam, turn sharp left to drop down to the foot of the dam wall.

 

Start of the canal feeder        Standing below the dam

 

Bear right onto the path that follows the canal feeder.

 

Hotel Rudyard        Canal feeder path

 

Continue along the canal feeder path as Hotel Rudyard stands tall on your right-hand-side.

 

Canal feeder path        Almost time to rejoin the dismantled railway line

 

Carry on along the canal feeder path, which can be muddy in a couple of places, but is mainly a decent walking surface.

 

Public footpath after crossing the A53        Staffordshire Way

 

Cross over the A53 and continue ahead onto a public footpath through farmland.  Look out for when the path veers left alongside the canal feeder when the main track through the farm goes straight ahead.

 

Continuing along the Staffordshire Way        Canal feeder meets the canal

 

Eventually, the canal feeder reaches the actual canal.  At this point, bear left to cross the bridge.  After crossing the bridge, head through a series of passageways between tall fences.

 

First of a series of several ginnels  The "Do Not Enter" refers to the scrapyard, not the passageway!  Not as aesthetically pleasing, but still following an old railway line

 

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.

 

Old railway tunnel towards Cheddleton        Old railway tunnel towards Cheddleton

 

If tunnels are your thing though, turn right here to follow an optional diversion down to a tunnel you can walk through in the Cheddleton direction.  Then head back to return to this point.

 

The old NSR line south of Leek  The long straight footpath coming into more industrial areas  Approaching Morrisons!

 

Continue along the path, pass under a viaduct and across the car park for the large Morissons store. 

 

Morissons, Leek        Morissons car park

 

Head over towards the petrol station and through the underpass.

 

Route continues via the petrol station forecourt!        Underpass to the petrol station forecourt

 

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.

 

The Walks        Ginnel from The Walks through to Cruso Street

 

From the end of The Walks, a long passageway continues through to Cruso Street.

 

Ginnel from Thw Walks to Cruso Street Ginnel from The Walks to Cruso Street Approaching Cruso Street

 

Turn left onto Cruso Street, then right onto James Street, and bend round left into Picton Street.

 

Cruso Street, approaching James Street, Leek        Take-A-Break, Leek

 

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!

 

Turn right into this alleyway Back alleyway in Leek Continue behind the backyards and garages Approaching North Street

 

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.

 

Footpaths between streets        Footpath / cycle path to 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.

 

Path to the disused railway line path        Nearly back on the railway

 

Continue ahead onto another footpath at a bollard, and soon you will see another sign for Rudyard, pointing left down some steps.

 

Steps down to the railway line path        Nearly back at the start point

 

Head down the steps to rejoin the old railway line.  Pass under the bridge to return to the start point.  Enjoy your oatcakes!

 

A traditional Staffordshire breakfast!        Bacon,cheese, sausage & mushroom double oatcake!