The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday 1 February 2010

In Trentham Gardens

Following Jeff coming to join us for a jaunt on the Chase a couple of weeks ago, today we went to join him on his local stomping ground, at Trentham.

We were ignorant of the route that we were going to take, with Jeff being our guide, and the first thing we did was to get our heart rates up by walking up to the monument on the lump above the car park.

IMG_0488The climb may not have been long, but it was steep enough to get me huffing and puffing, all of which I blamed on the pack on my back, rather than on the truth of a general lack of fitness.

Fortunately there was opportunity to catch my breath whilst up at the monument, as there were views to be taken in and an information sign about the monument to peruse.

IMG_0489Within moments of setting out three large deer were spotted, but as we continued onwards and skirted the Monkey Forest there were no monkeys to be seen. As the temperature when we left home had been just under –6 degrees, if the monkeys had any sense they would all have been huddled up somewhere for warmth, so it was no real surprise to not see them swinging through the trees.

Another short ascent took us up some steps which were built for people with 6’ long legs (or maybe the ground has just eroded since they were built; either way it was hard work for my little legs!), and we slip-slid our way along the ice, skirting the top edge of the woodland, with the sight and sound of the M6 to our left.

A quick detour was made for a geocache that was but a few yards off our path, which from the look of this photo bemused Jeff:

IMG_0494 We slip-slid our way along more ice to a bridge over the motorway, which the Trentham Estate has blocked off with vicious, tall palings. That’s a shame, as although it’s not a right of way, it has prevented execution of any number of circular walks that would take in both Trentham Gardens and Swynnerton Old Park on the other side of the M6.

More slip-sliding took us down to Trentham Park, where we encountered a couple walking a dog (who tripled the number of people we had seen to that point), paused for some brownie that I made last night (to Martin’s recipe), and then onwards to make our way to the main entrance of Trentham Gardens.

Once through the shopping village and into the Gardens (for which a charge applies; thanks go to Jeff for procuring tickets for us before we even arrived), it seemed like time to refresh ourselves with a cup of tea, so the cafe was sampled, although not before we had been and taken a look at the deserted ice-rink, which is on site for another 3 weeks yet.

The cafe felt superheated after the temperature outside, but the views from the windows were far from shoddy, and it turned out that our pause was well timed, as a shower passed through.

With the weather once again fair (although no more of the stunning blue skies under which we had set out), off we set down the length of the lake, the exertion of which (well, it was the best part of a mile…) made us all agree that another cup of tea was called for in the cafe at its southern tip.

Looking across the lake to the monument on the hill


As well as the cups of tea, and on Jeff’s recommendation, Mick sampled the local delicacy of oatcakes with bacon and cheese, something that we’ve not before had (and if you’re thinking about a hard-baked oat cracker topped with bacon and cheese, then you’re way off; these oatcakes turned out to be pancake things – and jolly tasty they were too).

With tea drunk and food eaten, and a failure successfully to identify many of the birds feeding outside, it was just a few paces back to the car park, which by now was deserted save for three cars.

A very pleasant walk had been taken in new surroundings. It was difficult to measure the route with any accuracy, as I’m not entirely sure where we walked, but my best estimate based on those places I know that we did pass is 4.8 miles with 650 feet of ascent.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent - I hope you enjoyed the brownies - the quantities (and ingredients) can be adjusted BTW to suit your taste (some don't like nuts, etc). Personally, I usually just double the quantities and use a bigger baking tin.
    Have fun!

    Word = mismouth