Monday, 17 April 2017

17/04/17 - Heart of England Way Stage 1 - Milford

Distance - 6.5 Miles
Geocaches - 4
Pub - Barley Mow, Milford

With the Millennium Way completed, I was looking for another Long Distance Path that could be completed in a series of Day Walks.   The Heart of England Way looked just the ticket.  That's a walk per month sorted for the next three years.

32 Monthly Walks
The HOEW runs from Cannock Chase to Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds.  I've stumbled on it many times.  Now I will be walking it in a series of 32 linked walks.

Cannock Chase is a fine walking area - if not a little monotonous.  It's Britain's smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and covers 26 Square miles of heath and woodland.  Mrs M wanted to talk about Stan Collymore for the entire journey there.

We park up at Milford Common.  This is the official start but we are 1/2 a mile and 1 geocache in before we find signage.  This leads to an arrow straight path, that I assume is an abandoned railway line.

First Signage
First Marker Post Spotted

Old Railway Line
Abandoned Railway Line?
For the smallest AONB, it provides wide ranging views of the heath land, stretching as far as the eye can see.

Cannock Chase
Cannock Chase
2.5 Miles on the HOEW and we leave it at the starting point of Walk 2 - The Glacial Erratic Car Park.  An Earthcache explains how this boulder has been pushed from Dumfries and Galloway in the ice age.  Photo is required to log.

Glacial Erratic
Mappiman and a Scottish Rock
The walk back makes use of good footpaths across the Sherbrook Valley, taking us into the woods on Marquis Drive and a chance for Mrs M to exonerate herself for the Stepping Stone disaster at Ogmore Castle.

Marquis Drive
Marquis Drive
Stepping Stones
Thankfully, no falls today
HOEW kicked off, so we celebrate in the only way we know how.  A Pub Lunch.   Mrs M is not a big fan of chain pubs and it doesn't get any more "chainy" than a Greene King "Eating Inn".  In fact, it takes a while to notice that its actually called the Barley Mow.

Mobile phone is swiftly consulted but with only a G on her iPhone, she can gather no local intel.

We head over to try and steal their WiFi to find something better but I was sold as soon as I saw the Timothy Taylor Landlord and the Cask Marque sign.

If it wasn't for the diner crammed onto the table next to us suffering from acute stomach pains half way through his meal, this would have been a totally forgettable experience.

We will research post walk refreshment better on stage 2.

Pub 1 on the HOEW - Barley Mow
Directly opposite the Start of the HOEW

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