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Staffordshire Walk
Dane Valley & Wincle from Rushton Spencer

County/Area - Staffordshire - North Staffordshire

Author - Mike Bexley

Length - 9.5 miles / 15.4 km    Ascent - 1400 feet / 424 metres

Time - 6 hours 10 minutes    Grade - moderate

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Ordnance Survey Explorer 268Sheet Map1:25kBUY
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Dane Valley & Wincle from Rushton Spencer
Click image to see photo description.

The start of this Staffordshire Walk is the small car park on the Staffordshire Way at Rushton Spencer. The walk crosses fields before winding its way through the Dane Valley after which the route climbs through woods and fields to Wincle Minn. After enjoying the rewarding views the return follows the canal back to the start. Map reading is generally easy but conditions under foot can be very wet.

The car park is situated by 'The Knot Inn' in Rushton Spencer (Grid ref. SJ936624). Walk back to its entrance and turn right to the main A523 Macclesfield to Leek Road. Cross over and walk up Tanhouse Lane opposite. Ignore the many walk direction signs to the left and right continuing straight-on soon arriving at a wide footpath hedged each side.

Continue to the metal gate with a stile each side and into the field. Keep to the right-hand hedge to a further stile into another field. Look out for the goats! Keeping to the left of the hedge ahead, the path will direct you to the left-hand side of Haddon Farm (Grid ref. SJ 942 631). You can proceed on the footpaths ahead but I prefer to turn right along the lane passing the front of Haddon Farm to the lane junction (Grid ref. SJ 943 628) where a left turn left leads you down a pleasant lane passing the entrance to Brandy-Lee to arrive at the bridge over the canal (Grid ref. SJ 945 636) and titled 'Dane Valley Way' on some maps.

Turn right on the path with the disused canal on your right, which was built to feed water from the River Dane to Rudyard Lake. On your left is the River Dane. The converted cottage you pass was originally built by the Water Board for the keeper responsible for the upkeep of the locks and canal. It is now receiving tender love and care. On reaching the metal bridge above the weirs, cross over and continue to follow the river, which is now on your right, passing the extraction locks that fed the canal.

The path takes you across fields then just after a ditch bridged by large concrete pipes, with the river close on your right, turn left (Grid ref. SJ 961 647). Go through a metal gate into the woods. The path bears right climbing up to a tarmac lane. Turn right over the cattle grid and proceed along this lane. The village of Danebridge and The Ship Inn appear low on your right. At the end of last property and before the road take the steps left over the wall. Follow the left-hand wall into the woods and the path that ascends through the woods over a field to a lane (Grid ref. SJ 958 653).

Turn left to Wincle Grange. Ignore the first footpath on your left but continue between the left-hand buildings and the house, following the yellow arrows down the fields through a gate and a line of trees to the right corner. Do not cross over the right-hand fence. Go over the stile and turn right over another stile. Then go left prior to reaching Nettlebeds Farm. Continue down the farm track through a gate and right down the field to the fence and stream (Grid ref. SJ 948 654).

The most direct route would be to your left to follow the signs to Harkslee but you would miss out the wonderful views from Minn End Lane. These views come at a price though as it's a steep climb to gain the reward.

Turn right and cross the stream via the robust footbridge in the right corner of the field. The path climbs up through the woods and at the path junction take the left-hand higher path. This path follows the valley edge on your right then goes behind the derelict Mareknowles Farm to a lane (Grid ref. SJ 945 659). Continue up this lane climbing up to Minn End Lane (Grid ref. SJ 939 659). Ahead of you is Bosley Reservoir and miles of low country to gaze at.

Turn left through the gate and along the lane to Hawkslee. Take the second footpath on your left to follow the Gritstone Trail Signs directing you to Shell Brook. There used to be a lovely wooden bridge over this stream. However I came the week after severe floods washed it away and it is now replaced by a tractor width path cut through the woods and concrete drains. The signs take you to derelict Dumkins Farm. Still following the 'G' arrows with the fence on your left cross fields down to Barleigh Ford Bridge (Grid ref. SJ 944 637). Walk up the tarmac lane to the canal.

Instead of returning on the paths you used before, turn right along the canal. Keeping to the canal the path leads in a large arc to run parallel with the road behind the Pub, Garage and houses. The house owner on one stretch has mowed the path to lawn standards. The path ends at Tanhouse Lane. Turn right to cross over the main road and back to the start.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2519 The Cloud from Rushton Spencereasy/mod9.0 miles
Walk 2310 The Cloud from Rushton Spencer (short route)easy/mod5.0 miles
Walk 1288 The Roaches & Hen Cloud from Tittesworth Reservoirmoderate8.5 miles
Walk 1178 The Roaches and Lud's Churchmoderate7.3 miles
Walk 1707 The Roaches short circulareasy/mod5.0 miles

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Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Walking in Staffordshire

The County of Staffordshire is located within the Midlands. The northern part of the county includes part of the Peak District National Park featuring both Gritstone moorland of the Dark Peak and limestone dales of the White Peak. To the south the heathlands of Cannock Chase form part of an AONB. Elsewhere the county is predominantly rural with pleasant countryside and easy walking.

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