Trinity Men’s Fellowship Eccleshall - Staffordshire

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TMF Walk September 28th 2018.

The Longer Walk

The walk for this month was in the Swynnerton area.  It was a gorgeous day as we all met up at the Fitzherbert Arms for coffee and biscuits out of the back of the car.

We then progressed off down towards the impressive entrance to Swynnerton Hall, the home of Francis Fitzherbert, 15th Baron Stafford. In 2005 he was the High Sheriff of Staffordshire, making him the first peer to serve as a High Sheriff since 1371.

We turned right onto a footpath which led us past the cricket pitch on our left and a wood on our right. Over one of many stiles and into a field of stubble.

After another stile we were at Cotes Lane, but only for a short distance before we once again were travelling along a grassy footpath. This bordered an industrial estate which, around large concrete panels, offered many tantalising glimpses of various businesses including timber yards, bus dismantlers, and a huge caravan storage facility. Suddenly your correspondent realised our location!  We exited the footpath onto the Newcastle Road. It was the Moorfields Industrial estate which we pass regularly on the drive between Eccleshall and Newcastle.

Straight over the Newcastle Road and we were once again on delightful footpaths between fields and hedgerows. Turning right just before the dramatically named Quintessential Quarters - Dog Boarding, Grooming and Cattery, we crossed the Newcastle Road again, but this time much further north

Group Photo

Through several fields until we arrived at a track which was covered in grass with tall hedges on each side. Here one eagle-eyed member discovered a strange beast which appeared to be a miniature character from the Muppet Show. On returning home Google informed your correspondent that it was in fact the larva of the Pale Tussock moth (Calliteara pudibunda). This caterpillar is very conspicuous in order to deter predators. They were once commonly found on hops growing in the south east of England where the pickers referred to the caterpillars as Hop Dogs. It has a hairy body, the hairs of which can cause quite severe allergic skin reactions. A good job none of the members picked it up!

Along the same track it was possible to see the Wrekin in the distance. It was so clear that we could distinguish the radio mast on top.

 After following this track for some distance it suddenly became a road. We were back in Swynnerton, in Early Lane. As we walked down this quiet lane we spotted Swynnerton Village Hall on our right. The lane suddenly narrowed and we were back at the car-park of the Fitzherbert Arms.

Just before we entered the car-park we were amazed to see those who were on the shorter walk arriving at exactly the same time. This was either sheer coincidence or some absolutely superb planning by our walks leaders. I like to think it was the latter?

Into the Inn, where we met up with the “non-walkers” to have an excellent meal in a quite baronial dining room. The tables had been put together to form one huge table. The chairman welcomed us all, including two new members. Another excellent day, well done to all involved.

Click here to see the shorter walk details and photos

More photographs and a route map can be seen by clicking here.

A map of our walk - the thicker red line plots the route