On such a beautiful, sunny January day there is nothing better to do than go for an invigorating walk in nature, so that’s exactly what I decided to do this week.
I decided to try a route I have never done before; The Tatenhill silver circuit.
I chose to start the circuit at Barton Marina, which is just a 10-15 minute drive from Peake’s Retreats.
I parked up by the lakes and headed over the bridge into Barton village itself. The frost on the trees made everything look magical, and when I got to the village pond I had to stop to snap some photos. I have walked past this pond so many times as my boys play football on the playing fields next to it, and my daughter used to have weekly baby swimming lessons in the school next to it, but I’ve never stopped to actually appreciate it. Just a small pond, with a few fishing platforms that the villagers use, but it looked so pretty with the bullrushes out, and the gorgeous colours of a winter morning all brightened by the glorious sunshine. Frost
really does make everything twinkle doesn’t it?
After I had taken in the pond I carried on into the village. I went to high School at John Taylor in Barton Under Needwood, one of my first jobs was in the little village metro store, and lot’s of my friends live/lived in Barton, so It’s a place I have spent a lot of time, however when you are walking with the sole intention of walking, and without a specific destination you take things in that you’ve never noticed before. I stopped to appreciate the war memorial outside St James Church, and really noticed all of the old buildings that lined main Street, wondering what the history of these buildings is.
I walked past the old metro, which is now a private house, and feelings of nostalgia definitely started to kick in.
At the new co-op (this is the shop that replaced metro) I turned right and headed into the fields on a path I have never taken before. It wasn’t long before I reached the open fields
and an information board telling me that I was entering the Dunstall Estate, and some information about the estate itself.
Despite having lived in the area for the majority of my life, I have never walked the Dunstall Estate before, although I do like to slow down when driving past on the road between Barton and Tatenhill to see if I can spot any of the deer that roam that part of the estate.
I headed into the fields and was met with a beautiful panoramic view of the path ahead where there was a single finger post pointing the way (I had found some well detailed directions on the derby telegraph site and was following these instructions, but the silver circuit was actually very well sign posted throughout most of the walk, there were just a couple of areas where I had to check the directions, I’ll detail these later).
I started up the little hill toward a wooded area and came to a small wooden gate that lead me to a path going through the middle of the woods. This is where the fun began; this path was so muddy I wasn’t sure if I would need to turn back, keeping to the edges that were less trampled I managed to navigate my way through the mud, staying reasonably clean. I reached the top and started to head down the muddy path on the other side, it was at this point I realised that the walking trainers I had put on were incredibly inappropriate for this walk at this particular time of year, the path made me think of the well-known children’s rhyme ‘we’re
going on a bear hunt’. This was definitely the squelchy squirchy mud part.
Convinced I wasn’t going to make it to the bottom without falling on my arse ( I actually did somehow manage not to) I carried on down the path and came to another open field, with an amazing open view of Dunstall Church and the sparsely scattered houses that make up this tiny English village (population around 209), another photo op I took advantage of.
I continued walking and came to a private narrow road that was a welcome break from traipsing through muddy fields. Following this road for 10 minutes or so I got to take in the picture postcard scenery around me.
Before I reached the main road (I say main road, but this road is still a narrow, quiet lesser travelled road through this small village) I turned left into another field with a fenced off ditch running through the middle of it. At the far end I could see some little black sheep enjoying the winter sun, as I got closer I spotted that they were probably ouessant sheep, and the only reason I know this was that we used to have a tiny flock of our own. I remember when we had them shorn one May the guy who had come to shear them commented that it was like shearing a rabbit because they were so small.
Anyway I digress, continuing my walk past the sheep I came to the road and crossed over into another field, this time planted with a crop of some description therefore the field was fenced off with a path running down the side. I stayed on this path for a while before turning right into the next field and heading uphill slightly. Traversing a farm road I headed in the direction of a large farm at the top of the hill. As I got to the top of the hill (just before reaching the farm) I happened to glance over to my left and was greeted with a stunning view of Dunstall hall. Of course I got my long lens out and took some photos.
After a 10 minute photo stop I carried on into the farmyard. This is where the directions really came in handy. The little arrow on the gate post by the farm pointed me through the middle of the farm buildings but I could see that the path was blocked by a herd of cows waiting to be milked. Was I still on the right route? Luckily there were two very helpful farm hands who opened the gate for me to allow me to walk right through the cows.
I could see the next arrow on the gate post ahead but thanks to the directions I knew to turn before I reached this arrow and head to the right of the last farm building, where I came face to face with some cute calves. I was guessing a bit at this point because there were no arrows, but the directions told me to go through a double gate, and there was a wide opening that possibly fitted this description ahead of me. I went through it and headed across the field to the cottage in the far corner where I picked up the arrows again.
Walking down the side of this cottage I came to a road and turned left. Had I not had the directions I would have quite possibly missed my next turning as there was no arrow, but luckily I had double checked and
knew to head down Cuckoo Cage Lane, a narrow single track road with about 3 houses on it.
Heading back into the fields I found myself looking at a view I would never have associated with my home town, Burton On Trent. It was breath-taking. I would recommend this walk to anybody who lives in Burton just to see the town from this high up viewpoint. You could see the town in the distance beyond the fields and to the left was a gorgeous wooded area, full of winter colours with the brilliant blue sky above it. A beautiful show of countryside meeting industry.
I actually didn’t stop to take a photo here because I knew that any photos I took just wouldn’t do it justice.
I headed downhill and soon came to the main road that runs through Tatenhill. I left the fields by the church and turned left to walk down main street for a brief minute before crossing the road and heading back into nature behind the church. Following this muddy path (not as muddy as the one I mentioned earlier) I picked up the signs for the National Forest way (another one on my bucket list of walking routes). Crossing the road that leads to the A38 and then Branston I passed through another farm and started on the flat terrain that lead to the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Now this was where it got really interesting, not only was this path muddy, but it was very water logged as well, I danced and pranced my way along this path for about 10 minutes trying , but failing, to avoid the deepest areas as I was only wearing trainer type walking shoes. It is worth noting at this point that the directions told me to keep the stream to my right, but it most definitely stays on your left,
although it is very well signed again here so easy to follow the route.
I passed lots of lakes, that obviously used to be quarry pits, and one lake owned by Marley Eternit, where they have put in some fishing platforms and you can join as a private member.
Soon I came to the Tatenhill lock on the canal, right next to Branston water park
and a part of the route that I am very familiar with, which was fortunate as the directions told me to cross over the bridge and walk down the canal, but had I have done this I would have been heading in the wrong direction to complete the circuit. Here you stay on the same side that you enter the towpath from and turn right to head back toward Barton, walking alongside the canal.
I reached bridge 38 and left the canal towpath to walk for a few hundred metres down the road before returning to Barton Marina and my car.
The entire route was just over 14km and took me 2hrs 50 minutes at a steady pace (with lots of photo stops). The route itself is not too challenging, yes there are a couple of steady inclines, but nothing too taxing.
Definitely one of my new favourite local walks. I can’t wait to do it when it is less muddy.
I also love that you have several options to make a slight detour and stop for refreshments
along the way:
1.The Waterfront pup at The marina.
2.The Shoulder Of Mutton pub/Three Horseshoes pub/Skinny Kitten café/Middle Bell pub in
Barton village itself.
3. The Horseshoe pub at Tatnehill (turn right at the church instead of left, and walk for a
hundred metres or so).
4. The Bridge Inn at Tatenhill (cross over the canal bridge at the lock and turn left. Walk for a
couple of hundred metres, passing the water park, and it is right on the canal path). A great walk to really make an afternoon/morning of it.
I am also trying to cast my mind back as to how many styles I climbed over, and I don’t think there were any, everything was gated, so a lovely walk to take your dog on.
All in all, this was a walk I will definitely be recommending to the guests who stay with us at Peake’s Retreats from now.
You can find the written directions of the walkhere
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