Rode Hall snowdrop walk

Rode Hall snowdrop walk is lovely at this time of year. The snowdrops are in full bloom and other spring plants like Heli ores, Cyclamen and Daffodils are also in flower or coming into flower.

Rode Hall is off the A34 in Staffordshire, near Rode Heath village. They charge £6 per adult to walk round the grounds on the snowdrop walk. There is a lake and a wooded area. The hall sits in beautiful grounds with a walled kitchen garden next to it. They have a monthly market which is next due on the 4th of March 2023.

Tree views

Trees on our walk today. (somehow I seem to have posted the same thing twice so I’m editing this into a new post). Anyway this was at the far end of the big Westport Lake where a large plot of land has had tons of hardcore rubble placed on it I don’t know if its an industrial site or housing, but they have builf a huge bund (piled up slope) hopefully to hide it from the lake. Previously it was a muddy rocky mess adjacent to the nature reserve and the main train line that runs to one side of the reserve. I’m glad these trees have been left to screen off the area.

Today’s amble

Two lakes, the smaller in front. One is a quarter of a mile to walk round, the other a mile. Its at Westport in Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire. A bit of a haven for water birds. It’s also a reservoir for the Trent and Mersey canal I think. It’s a flooded area of old coal workings or marl pits I think? Sorry not to have better information, I shall have to check. Its run by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. There’s a cafe there and wildlife csntre. The only thing is the local council have bought in car parking charges (it used to be free). Its sad because in this day and age people might be put off coming because of the cost of living crisis.

Garden Centre

Lunchtime and I actually went out for it! We went to a local garden centre and sat by artificial plants while eating cheese and bacon oatcakes (a local delicacy). It good to be getting out and about again although I am feeling it now.

We bought a climbing rose to incorporate into the hedge. It was damaged by a water leak that basically flooded the roots for months. We didn’t realise what was happening till it was too late so now? We are adding various other plants and bushes to make it more random and wild.


When it’s warm, not hot, when the scent from plants wafts gently in the air. Then it’s time to visit the Dorothy Clive Garden in Staffordshire. It’s on the border of Shropshire and Cheshire. As you look down from the tea rooms you can look down over the three counties. It’s pleasant to sit out on the lawn with sandwiches and a cup of tea or scones and jam and cream. I’m imagining that I’m there now. That the cold chill in our living room is actually a gentle breeze blowing over the hill behind us and cooling me down! I might even indulge in an ice cream from the tea room. We would definitely be buying plants to take back to our garden.

The Dorothy Clive Garden was created in memory of her. It is built mainly on a slope with perennial plants in beds around beautiful and unusual trees. Some of the plant combinations are spectacular. There is also a quarry garden filled with trees and rhododendron bushes in glorious flower in the spring. There is a lovely view of a waterfall in the bowl of the quarry garden. Then an extended area of the gardens with drought resistant planting and a laburnum walk under planted with purple Alliums rings the changes. This year we also visited a hothouse with tropical plants at the lower part of the garden. It’s a good place to visit on a summers day.

Salts Mill

A grey day in Yorkshire. Salts Mill at Saltaire. Looking at this old mill with its huge chimney you wouldn’t think there was an amazing bookshop, a cafe and restaurant and gallery’s there with work by world famous artist David Hockney.

Saltaire is near Bradford and Leeds, it is an old area of Shipley and the mill is surrounded by small stone terraced houses that only have a main room, a kitchen and a small bedroom and bathroom. Saltaire featured in a recently updated version of the classic film the railway children.

The mill sits between the railway on one side and the canal and river on the other side if it lower down the hill. The small houses are a beautiful example of a historic area. Saltaire also holds a food festival in the summer which attracts international visitors.

I wish Stoke on Trent had the courage to create something like this from its own historic buildings. This would be a blueprint we could build on.

Pleasant day

One of the fairy sculptures at Trentham Gardens today. She seems to be throwing leaves into the air in a wild gesture of freedom. She is standing on to of a world or perhaps a seed pod. The creator of the sculptures shows a great deal of variety and not only humour but great expressiveness.

2019 lake

I found this photo from 2019 and was amazed at the deep blue reflected in Rudyard Lake, which lies between Stoke-on-Trent and Leek. You get to it down winding roads. There is (was)? A small lake cruiser and a minature railway up one side of the lake that runs from the car park on the road between Rudyard and the road towards Macclesfield. Then it follows the lake side up towards the top end of the lake (the path finally goes to Rushton Spencer I think). The lake has something to do with Rudyard Kipling, not sure he was named after it? Its another lovely place near Stoke-on-Trent.

Staffordshire landscape

Black lion pub at Consall Forge

I wanted to show you a part of the Staffordshire Moorlands that we visited today. Consall Forge once was an industrial landscape and is part of the industrial archaeology of the area. Sitting in an isolated valley it was connected by a narrow gauge railway between Leek and Froghall Wharf. The Consall Forge was about half way along the valley. We have ridden on the preserved railway several times, but I have never found out about its history before. I have seen old lime kilns there but didn’t know their origins. I think the lime was used in the pottery industry and I think there may be a pottery there?

GOOGLE SAYS: Consall Forge kilns. At Consall Forge against the canalised 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 plateway built between 1815 and 1819, running from the Caldon Canal to north of Caverswall.

The valley continues to Froghall Wharf where there is a station for the railway with a good tea room and station shop. The line passes through the ruins of a copper factory which is possibly going to be developed. This makes Froghall much less picturesque than either Cheddleton, where the Churnet Valley Railway starts and Consall Forge which is where we were. The Cauldon canal was used for transporting coal from Froghall Wharf to Uttoxeter but was closed after losing money because of its rural location. It opened in 1811 and closed in 1849.

There is also a nature reserve at Consall. You can get there along narrow country lanes, along the railway or along the canal or its towpath.


Met a lady with this beautiful girl today. Its a shitzu crossed with another dog, but I’m afraid I can’t remember what that was. Such a nice natured dog, she was interested, intelligent, listened to her owner. Was friendly. Had no ‘snappiness’ even when the singer who was entertaining us had a crackling microphone which disturbed his own dog. I think she’s really pretty and asked permission to take a photo. This might turn into a painting.