There is plenty to celebrate about Newcastle-under-Lyme, not least the incredible history and beauty you can discover on these fabulous walks in the borough.

While we are under national lockdown restrictions, we would ask you to only try these walks if they are local to your home.

Apedale Community Country Park

The borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme is surrounded by lush green landscapes for everyone to enjoy at their leisure.

One of my family favourites is Apedale Community Country Park, which is nestled on the outskirts of Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre.

Apedale has something to offer everyone, no matter how young or old.

It boasts several family attractions such as a pit wheel memorial that overlooks the park, mine tours, a free museum, a light railway, pond dipping opportunities, wildlife spotting and not forgetting the ample paths that meander across the park, with some being suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Throughout the year at weekends and Bank Holidays they also run special events and galas like the Santa Special at Christmas.

Wandering along the winding paths surrounded by wildlife conservation patches and picturesque views across the borough is a fabulous way of recharging your batteries.

Whether you want to have a gentle stroll, or, take on something a little more challenging you're spoilt for choice with a stunning 184 hectares on offer. 

It has never been more important to get ourselves and our families outdoors for some exercise and fresh air. I highly recommend visiting Apedale for your next walk but please adhere to the current government guidelines.

Written by Emmi Lou Walking Adventures

Image: Emmi Lou Walking Adventures

In and around Maer

Maer is an idyllic, tiny village in the borough of Newcastle under Lyme, steeped in history and surrounded by an endless choice of walks.

There’s a brilliant booklet “5 walks around Maer” which is a great investment £1 from the local library. It maps the public footpath routes and gives historic context to the local walks.

You enter the village under a beautiful, steep-sided, stone arch bridge, which gives a glimpse of vintage trees and the village beyond.

To your left, the parish church of St. Peter sits in an elevated position and a steep walk to the top of the churchyard is rewarded by beautiful views over the walls of Maer Hall (a private residence) and the lake beyond it.

The Wedgwood family were long-ago residents of the hall, and the church boasts a blue plaque to commemorate the marriage of Charles Darwin to his cousin Emma Wedgwood, 29 January, 1839.

The village hall is a popular place for walkers to park up and start their walks.

Maer has some really characterful buildings and many of the walks take in the estate’s farmhouses, farmland (including farm animals) and forestry. I wear wellies almost year-round!

The rural landscapes are varied, there’s Maer Moss which is a SSSI wetlands, and the wooded Maer Hills, very popular with walkers and mountain bikers.

I often call in at Brookhouse Farm Shop to pick up snacks and refreshments en route, and in normal times, no walk is complete without a pint, by the fireside or alfresco (weather dependent), at Slaters Country Inn.

Written by Amanda Cheadle

Image: Amanda Cheadle

The Newcastle Way

Made up on seven walks covering approximately 25 miles, The Newcastle Way connects Mow Cop to Market Drayton, just over the border in Shropshire.

Each section is between three and four miles, and takes about three hours to complete, with various places to admire the view or enjoy a refreshing pint.

The varied, waymarked route takes in the changing terrain of the borough, from the moorlands at Mow Cop, to the fields of Madeley, and the sandstone ridges of Maer and Ashley.

There are plenty of iconic structures and places of interest along the way, such as Mow Cop Castle, The Harecastle Tunnel, The Apedale Heritage Centre, and the site of the Battle of Blore Heath.

Spot the wildlife at the country parks as you go, with regular visitors including buzzards, peregrines, ravens and coots, and rest for a while to soak in the beautiful views. On a clear day you may be able to see Cannock Chase, The Cheshire Plain and The Wrekin.

The Staffordshire County Council guide (https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/RightsofWay/PromotedRoutes/Documents/NWguidebookweb.pdf) has full information on the route, including local pubs and public transport.

Image: Kyle Rose

The Astley Trail

Devised in 2018, the 250th anniversary of Philip Astley's first circus shows, The Astley Trail links seven town centre sites with connections to the great man.

You'll find eye-catching artworks, including street art and sculpture, along the route, which includes The First Monument to Philip Astley and the Circus on George Street, on one of the main approaches into the town.

There is also a themed mural, created by local artists, in the Ryecroft subway.

Often pre-Covid, there were guided walks along the trail, with volunteers bringing Astley's story as the Father of the Modern Circus to life.

Hopefully, they will return after the pandemic, but in the meantime, why not download the map and enjoy some lockdown exercise on this short and reasonably flat trail, stopping off at the town market to buy some essentials?

It's available at https://www.philipastley.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Town-Trail-Map-Draft-revised-text-003.pdf-fin.pdf

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