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Dove Valley Walk: Going round the bend

Somewhere between Marchington and Uttoxeter, the wiggles of the River Dove stop wiggling west to east, and start wiggling north to south. If it went in straight lines, it would make a right-angled bend. As I'm following the river upstream, this was my last section walking west. After this it's north to the Peak District and Dovedale.

here the Dove swings north

The main walk of this section was all on the south side of the river. But I also did a separate, shorter walk, to explore the village of Doveridge, and the old Dove Bridge which is tantalisingly glimpsed from the A50.

Walk 1: Marchington to Uttoxeter

I liked Marchington even more as I arrived there for the second time. I parked opposite the village shop - noting the "ice cream" sign outside for later - and near the brick-built St Peter's Church, with a war memorial built in above the door.

 A few streets took me to the other side of the village, where I found a path alongside a stream, then across some hay meadows. I met some geese who were enjoying a good view. 

Dropping down another field, I had to navigate an overgrown and muddy section next to the railway, but it was fairly short. Once over the railway, it was easy walking across fields which had been cut for silage, and then along a tractor track. To my left, the railway ran straight; to my right, the river roamed in rambling curves.

pillbox piled with driftwood

Navigation was easy apart from one place where I played a frustrating game of hunt-the-stile along a wire fence. After I'd found my way back to the proper path, I met a family with two young children coming in the other direction. I deduced that there must be a reasonable route to Uttoxeter from that point.

aim for the spire!

So it proved. I met the Staffordshire Way just outside the town, passed the train station, and had a snack in a very flowery housing estate.
Staffordshire Way signpost

gorgeous garden

Maiden's Well was marked on the map, and the ever-useful Megalithic Portal informed me that it was in the garden of number 21A. I was slightly confused by the house numbers running 21, 21B, then 21A, but spotted the well looking much like the photo on the website.

Maiden's Well

A polite path took me across to Toothill Road, where there was a cute fairy village under a bush. I joined the wonderfully-named Moisty Lane, enjoying views across the Dove valley to the Staffordshire hills. 

Dodging some tractors energetically mowing hay, I arrived back in Marchington. The village shop did not disappoint. I enjoyed a pot of Daltons lemon curd ice cream on a bench with my new friend.


12 km / 7.5 miles

24 June 2024

Walk 2: Doveridge and Dove Bridge

Both the village and the bridge are backwaters now, bypassed by the modern A50 which takes all the traffic whizzing (or possibly crawling) past them. I always like exploring that kind of place, figuring out where all the roads used to go, and enjoying that strange atmosphere of somewhere which used to be busy and is now deserted.

once a main road

 The Doveridge Preservation Society have put together a leaflet (pdf) of two walks around the village, which Graham and I followed. We parked outside St Cuthbert's Church. In the churchyard is the second largest yew tree in Derbyshire, over 1000 years old. It is held together by chains and propped up so that people can walk underneath, and even so, it is an awe-inspiring presence.

door to the church

Walking down the churchyard and across a field took us to a suspension bridge across the River Dove. On Google Maps it is labelled as Swinging Bridge, and we could certainly feel it moving under our feet! A raised path continued onward to the A50. We had to turn left to join the cycle path over the A50 bridge, then drop down again to go under the dual carriageway and find the old bridge on the far side.

under the A50

Graham was a little bemused at my excitement about being on the old bridge. I've always looked at it when we've driven past, and thought, "I must go and see that one day." Finally I'd made it.

very overgrown old bridge!

We returned to the cycle path next to the A50. This path used to be the old main road through Doveridge. Back at the church, we embarked on the second walk (Walk One on the leaflet), which was a loop around the village. The walk directions highlighted a few buildings of interest. They are slightly out of date; the Methodist chapel is now a house, and a couple of new roads have been built between Pickley Lane and Lower Street, but the route was easy enough to follow.

village well

Manor House

nice display in the bus stop

5.5 km / 3.5 miles

17 June 2024


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