Saturday, 1 August 2009

Going Around Again

Yesterday morning with bright skies and no sign of rain I set off with Fletcher and Floyd for their first main walk of the day. We walked down into the Churnet valley, a valley that I described as an aqua park the previous day, to find that the river had receded and the fields were once again 'dry' and passable. We crossed the valley and with the dogs taking one quick dip in the fast flowing river, we went up the embankment onto the defunct railway line. This is used as a footpath though the Authorities have not signed it or cleared any of the encroaching vegetation so perhaps it is surreptitious use? Off we head towards what I thought was Cheddleton - I must look at a map, I must look at a map - to find, when I met a fellow walker 30 minutes later, that I was actually heading into Leek. The tracks, the points, the buffers, the signage, the signals and the signal box are all still there. A ghost railway. This would have been abandoned what, forty years ago perhaps? Another ten years and you would not know that it ever existed so effective is nature in reclaiming Her own. It is a modern day exampler of how medieval villages become 'lost' and Roman settlements and villas were hidden for hundreds of years until some farmer ploughing his land unearths a bit of mosiac or tile.
The track became clearer and wider as I approached Leek, passing through a railway tunnel and skirting a beautiful golf course until a side path through an industrial park lead us back to the end of the canal and thence back to Caxton.
Mid afternoon we went around again, this time with Jill and Baxter and Muttley of Nb. Matilda Rose.

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