Drifts of bluebells massed beneath the trees are always a delight in spring, and Greenway Bank has one of the best displays in Staffordshire. Here, in the valley of the infant River Trent, the new leaves on the trees glowed a fresh yellow-green as we walked through the woods, while among the branches chaffinches and great tits competed to produce the loudest calls, and beside the lake a heron studiously ignored the sign "No Fishing".
Then as we went deeper into the valley, we came to Gawton's Stone, the home of a seventeenth century hermit. Cured of the plague after bathing at the source of a nearby stream, he is remembered at Gawton's Well, and the water may indeed have magical properties, for the enclosing yew trees mark it out as a sacred pagan site.
LOCATION: Between Biddulph and Stoke-on-Trent
START: Greenway Bank Country Park car park, off A527 toilets Grid ref: SJ889551 Postcode: ST8 7QX
DISTANCE: 4.5 miles (lake shore only, 2.5 miles)
GRADE: Easy, but with some uphill
TIME: 2 hours
MAP: Explorer - Wilmslow, Macclesfield & Congleton Landranger 118
REFRESHMENTS: Visitor Centre weekends or pack a flask
EN ROUTE: Warders Tower, Knypersley, Serpentine, Rock of Ages
This walk was originally published by
The Manchester Evening News