At the end of August the fields around our new house were finally* mowed (*apologies to the poor farmer who I am sure was just waiting for the right moment to make hay) and so, OS map in hand, we set off to explore the hotly anticipated, ‘footpath to the pub’.
We live off a stretch of main road with no footpath, quite a distance from the village and town our address links us to, so adventures that don’t involve getting in the car are extra exciting. There are plenty of adventures to have in our garden, but that’s another story.
We set off with no idea whether we’d even make it, because some footpaths in the area seem to be a little forgotten which is a shame, as the Staffordshire Peak District truly is an unsung gem. However, apart from one brambly stile, where we wished we had brought the secateurs along (adding them to the hiking kit list) the paths were accessible and as the map said.
After ploughing through farms and walking through farmyards, we eventually found ourselves in the Okeover estate, walking past gorgeous herds of brown cattle, picking acorns from giant oaks that must have seen half a century go by and peeking in abandoned houses. It’s a bit like a mini Chatsworth, big house, a rolling landscape and beautiful trees, although I only took photos of the derelict house…
We walked into Okeover and walked past the bridge where people fling themselves off for charity each New Years’s Day and ended up in The Okeover Arms, a big family, friendly proper country pub where we sat on picnic tables under umbrellas, watched the chickens and rabbits, ate crisps and drank shandy and J2o. Simple pleasures.
Luckily my Dad was heading over and volunteered to pick us up at the pub, as the walk home is all uphill. We’re working on managing the return journey, maybe with a proper pub lunch inside us.
The Okeover Arms has a brilliant leaflet with three walks, downloadable here, all starting at the pub, heading for the Okeover Estate, as well as Trip Advisors’s No.1 Peak District attraction, Dovedale. Ilam, my favourite National Trust place, is also walkable from here.