Milford reccee

Last weekend I was down in the Midlands doing a reccee for Crosby Rambling Club. I will be leading the ‘B’ party walk and I wanted to show the best of Cannock Chase and the surrounding area. The first part of my walk was over Cannock Chase following forest tracks and crossing heathland. The second half was quite different, a leisurely stroll along the local waterways.

35 HEW

I started my walk from Milford Common and followed the footpath sign at the right hand corner of the car park. It looked as though I was heading directly for the Pub, but the sign actually said ‘Public Footpath’ and I was going to follow the green HEW signs. This is the Heart of England Way, an 80 mile long distance footpath that runs from Milford to Chipping Campden

I climbed up through woodland passing a couple of small pools.


I continued along the HEW on a path to the left of a deep cutting. This was once part of  the Tackeroo Line which serviced the army camps that were once stationed on Cannock Chase.

40 Mere Pool

At Mere Pool I reached a path junction where I turned left to follow signs for Punch Bowl.


After a short distance at a crossroads I turned right to follow the signs for the Staffordshire Way.

41 Staffordshire Way

The Staffordshire Way (SW) is a 93 mile County Council path that stretches from Mow Cop in the north of the county to to Kinver Edge in the south. To my right was Brocton Coppice. This and other local features influenced J. R. R. Tolkien when he wrote The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The coppice became part of Middle Earth,

42 Brocton Coppice

J. R. R. Tolkien was stationed at the army camp on Cannock Chase during WWI. There are now several waymarked Tolkien Trails over Cannock Chase.

I descended along a clear path to reach the Stepping Stones in Sherbrook Valley, a popular picnic spot. Today I had it almost to myself, possibly because it was raining.

46 The Stepping Stones

Crossing the stepping stones I continued along a broad path with open land to my right to Seven Springs and the access road to the A513.

After carefully crossing the road I walked along the lane over Weetman’s Bridge to reach the canal and begin the second half of my walk.

I descended the steps and turned left to walk along the towpath under bridge No 72. This was the Trent and Mersey canal and there were a lot of boats along this section.

52 Trent and Mersey Canal



At  bridge No 73 I made a slight diversion to cross Essex Bridge.

75. Essex Bridge76. Essex Bridge

This old packhorse bridge is at the confluence of the River Sow and the River Trent. In his book J.R.R.Tolkien called it Tavrobel where the rivers Gruir and Afros of Middle Earth met close to the house of a hundred chimneys. I walked on for another 100 yards to get a view of Shugborough Hall.

77 Shugborough Hall

Could this be the ‘House of the Hundred Chimneys’ ?

Retracing my steps back to the canal I turned left under bridge No 73. and stopped at the lock to watch some of the boats passing through.



Continuing along the towpath I reached bridge No 109 where the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal meets the Trent and Mersey. Passing under the bridge I now walked along the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal.


This section was also busy but there were wider basins where water lily were growing.

86 Water Lily85 Water Lily

It was time to relax and enjoy looking at some of the decorative boats.


I strolled along past Tixall Lock to reach Tixall Bridge No 108. Here I left the canal to walk along the short section of road back to Milford Common and my car.

Now which way was it to the pub?


The walk had been 7.5 miles long and full of interest but it will not be quite long enough for a ‘B’ party walk. However I can easily extend it by continuing south from Mere Pool to take in two more local landmarks.

Freda’s Grave. Freda was a Dalmatian and she was the mascot of the New Zealand Rifles Brigade. She was buried on the Chase and her grave is marked with a headstone.Her collar and lead are kept in a military museum in New Zealand.

The Glacial Boulder. This boulder was carried down from Scotland during the last Ice Age. It stands on a plinth which was the base of a reservoir tower that supplied water for the trains on the Tackeroo Line.


This will bring the distance up to 9.5 miles. Just about right as it is almost flat.

I just hope We have better weather when I lead the walk.


About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
This entry was posted in Crosby Rambling Club, Industrial Heritage, Local History, Photography, Staffordshire, Walks. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Milford reccee

  1. Oh wow I can see how the tree influenced Tolkien’s world! They look like the ents!

    I love the locks on the canal and it’s quite nice to see the people opening them when needed. I’ve seen that you need a special key to do it. Did the boat owner used a key to open the lock as well?

  2. crosbyman66 says:

    Thanks for your comments.
    Some sort of key is needed to open the locks. I will try and find out more info next time I go down,
    I enjoy reading about your travels.

  3. You always used to have a lock key and a windlass to open the paddles (depending on type of lock). Lock key tied to a big lump of cork or plastic in case it fell in!

  4. crosbyman66 says:

    Thanks Wendy.
    It must be almost 60 years since I operated a lock.
    It still looks like hard work.

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