Walk 1181 - The Manifold Valley & Wetton Hill
Walk Route Description
The Staffordshire sector of the Peak District National Park is often ignored mainly because it lacks the drama of Derbyshire. However there is much to interest the walker and this relatively easy stroll has plenty to maintain your interest. The walk starts in the car park at Wetton Village (grid ref. SK108553) and follows a circular route taking in some of the highlights of this area.
Leave the car park and turn right into the lane, turning right again at the first junction. Continue down this short lane to reach a T-junction where you head left. Almost immediately on your left is a signed footpath which leads you along the hillside to Thor's Cave. Situated high above the River Manifold this local landmark provides a vantage point to look out across the valley and the countryside with the church spires of Grindon and Butterton prominent on the skyline.
Descend the recently strengthened path from the cave to the valley floor. Cross the footbridge and almost immediately opposite take the footpath that climbs steadily up through Ladyside Wood. Reaching pastures the route is a little confusing but whatever happens head for the village of Grindon. The best route exits on to the lane just to the west of Newclose Farm.
Grindon, a typical village of the area, has a pub (not always open!) and the large church is often referred to as the Cathedral of the Staffordshire Moorlands. It is worth a visit before continuing northwards along the lane leading to Ossom's Hill on the western boundary of the churchyard. Follow this farm lane until you reach a footpath on your left (grid ref. 087549) and follow this downhill towards the footbridge over Hoo Brook.
Cross the stream and follow the brook downstream in the deep valley towards the River Manifold at Wetton Mill. This is a pleasant place to rest and there is the benefit of a small cafe. From here the path passes in front of the mill house and climbs on track revealing excellent views of the Manifold Valley. The path continues up a deep dry valley to reach Pepper Inn (Manor House marked on maps?) once a hostelry for lead miners in this area.
Turn right to follow the clear path climbing across the eastern flanks of Wetton Hill. Reaching the col the short climb to the summit is worth the effort as view is first rate. Return to the col and follow the clear path back to Wetton Village. A pleasant place with an assortment of stone built cottages, the village pub seems to be open most of the day and offers suitable food and refreshment. All that remains is a short stroll back to the car park.