The Black Lion
There’s a surprising amount to do and see in the surrounding area especially for Rambler’s. The river Churnet runs northwest to southeast diagonally across northeast Staffordshire, through rolling upland landscapes with attractive, steep and wooded banks, in the area between Rushton Spencer, Leek and Rocester not far from the Peak District national park boundary. There are numerous attractive country parks and nature reserves along the valley, which is also the home of the well-known Alton Towers theme park. A visit to the Ramblers web site will provide all the information you need for this area.
Train enthusiasts are not left out either with the 10.5 mile journey through the Churnet Valley. This short stretch of track in widely used by a large variety of steam and diesel engines. The Churnet Valley Railway hold various open days and function throughout the year and detail as well as the timetable can be found on the CVR web site.
For the historians among you there are the Consall forge kilns . Against the canalized River Churnet stands a bank of four large limekilns. These date from the early nineteenth century and were linked to the North Stafford Railway, a plate way built between 1815 and 1819, running from the Caldron Canal to north of Carvers.
Coal was brought in on the plate way from a number of local collieries and lime carried to Westin Coney and beyond. By 1840 the line was out of use although it is unclear when the kilns ceased operation.
Consall Nature Park is situated within the beautiful valley of the River Churnet. Sir Derek Barber, Chairman of the then Countryside Commission (now Natural England), opened the park in 1989.
Part of the park is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and here the emphasis is on nature conservation, whilst at the same time welcoming the public to enjoy the paths, fishing and picnic facilities.
The Visitor Centrex provides displays and exhibitions on the varied and dramatic past of the valley and its present natural history interests. There is a small shop area, selling leaflets and souvenirs throughout the summer (April – September).
Toilet facilities are provided all year round and there is easy access to facilities for the less agile. If you are unsure of where to walk, try looking at the Consall Nature Park Trails web site, a series of way marked walks starting from the Visitor Centre.
And finally Consall Hall Gardens. “Fifty years of amazing vision, careful planning and construction have created Consall Hall Landscape Gardens, which includes six lakes, various follies, summer houses, packhorse bridges and much more.”