Date(s) - 31st May 2018
10:00 am - 4:30 pm
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Stoke Railway Station
Exploring Railway History around Leek, Leekbrook Junction & Cheddleton
This walk will be led by Ruth Shaw and Roger Brice. It will be a joint West Midlands & North West Groups event.
The proposed walk will be centred on the area around Leekbrook Junction. This junction was a mile south of leek on the main North Staffs line from North Rode (Macclesfield) to Uttoxeter. Today the Churnet Valley using the junction to access the line across the North Staffordshire Moorlands towards its current terminus at Ipstones. (In NSR days the line ran further to Caldon Low and Waterhouses where it connected with the Leek & Manifold Valley Light Railway). The Churnet Valley Railway has plans to go west from Leekbrook Junction towards Stoke, also a former NSR line.
In addition to the NSR lines at Leekbrook (towards Macclesfield, Uttoxeter, Caldon Low & Stoke) there was also an electric railway built from Leekbrook (where it had a platform) to the nearby mental hospital, the former water tower of which is visible from the nearby canal and Leek to Cheddleton road. Also at the junction are the remains of a small locomotive shed and a terrace of former railway workers cottages.
Features of the walk will be to follow the alignment of the former hospital railway. This began with steam hauled trains for workers and materials during the construction of the large mental hospital. It was then converted to electric power serving staff and visitors as well as delivering coal to the power house. Much of the alignment is extant and, armed with maps and photographs, there is much to see.
After lunch there will be a visit to the Cheddleton Flint Mill. This is a rare example of a mill with two water wheels, both of which are operational. After a short talk on the history of the mill, we will have a guided tour of the site.
We envisage a walk, centred on the former junction, of between 5 and 6 miles on level ground , although there may be sleepers and some former rails to obstruct precision walking. There will be a short section on the pavement of a main road. With appropriate attention to timings, it will be possible to shorten the distance walked by 3/4 mile by using a local bus service. Given the tight timing on the day we have arranged a buffet lunch at the Black Lion (ST13 5QD) in Cheddleton.
The cost of the buffet lunch and entrance to the flint mill will be £10 which includes all gratuities and will be collected at the start of the walk.
The walk will commence at Morrisons Supermarket in Leek (ST13 7HP) at 11:20 following the arrival of the #18 bus 10:48 departure from Hanley (Stoke City Centre) bus station, stand G. Using public transport, the walk will be best accessed from Stoke station. The group will meet in the booking hall of Stoke railway station at 10:20 and then depart by bus to Hanley and on to Leek. Recommended trains are the 09:35 departure from Manchester Piccadilly (arriving Stoke at 10:11), the 09:31 departure from Birmingham New Street (arriving Stoke at 10:17). It will be very important that we leave Stoke railway station by 10:25. The return to Stoke will be by bus from Cheddleton, departing at 15:59 or 16:29 and arriving at Stoke railway station approx. 50 minutes later. Anyone travelling by car can return to Leek by bus from Cheddleton.
Please direct any queries to Roger Brice (01625 533959; 07702 303242; email@example.com)