The car park/picnic area is on a site rich in industrial history, from the late 18th century until the closure of the last rolling mill as recently as 1962. Adjacent is the trackbed of the former Churnet Valley railway line, disappearing into a nearby tunnel. Oakamoor is now a quiet and unremarkable place.
1. Leave the car park, turning right along Mill lane, soon joining the major road to cross the bridge over the River Churnet. Turn left immediately after passing the Cricketers’ Arms Inn; note the inn sign and the model figures of cricketers. Walk up a minor road, passing the Lord Nelson Inn, then rising steeply with a church on the left. Above the church turn left at a public footpath sign, pass a house and head for a well-waymarked gate/ stile at the entrance to mixed woodland.
This is part of a Staffordshire Moorland Walk. Follow a woodland path, go straight across at a cross paths, then fork right at the next waymarked junction, to rise quite steeply.
2. At the top of the bank turn right at a waymark, still rising through woodland, now more coniferous with some rhododendron undergrowth. There are walled fields to the left. Ignore a right fork, staying close to the wall on the left to join a forest roadway and continue to a waymarked gate/stile. Follow a cart track to reach a very minor road.
3. Turn right to follow the road for less than 50 yards. Turn left up a little ramp and a few steps to a signposted squeezer stile with rudimentary gate. Follow a narrow path over roughish grass, across several fields with an outgrown hedge on the left, rising gently. Go through a signposted stile at the top to join another very minor road. Turn right to walk through Moneystone hamlet, continuing past a detached house on the left. After this house there are two footpath signs on the right. Ignore the first and walk a further 50 yards to the second, almost at the brow of the hill.
4. Go over the stile and along a path close to an old wall on the left, with a plantation, largely of silver birch, on the right; this track is believed to be part of an old pack-horse route. A farm comes into view ahead and the path becomes an old lane, between walls. Leave the lane over a waymarked stile on the right in about 300 yards to follow the edge of a rising field, keeping close to the wall on the left; the top of this section is a fine viewpoint, with a patchwork of green fields and stone walls and the church and former school at Cotton all visible. Go through a waymarked squeezer stile and descend a bank of heathland, rather unusual in this area, rich in wildlife.
5. At the bottom of the bank join a partially tarmac road turning right. Pass a cattle grid. Pass above Side Farm and carry on to a waymarked gate giving access to Cotton Bank Farm.
6. At the farm bear right, up a little ramp, to a small gate and head into woodland. At a waymark in less than 50 yards, fork right, then keep to the right, initially uphill but soon beginning a descent along a potentially muddy track. At a waymark on a post, go straight on to a small gate and continue along a closewalled lane leading to a modern flight of steps. Descend, pass Orchard Farm, then walk along the access roadway to join a public road.
7. Turn left to descend steeply into Oakamoor, retracing the outward route past the inns to the car park.
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