Barely 500m down from the Sticks, a public footpath crosses the lane. To the left it climbs up through the fields and along the path over Marshes Hill to the common, to the right it passes through the yard of Lion's Paw farm, over the styles, along side the farm buildings, through a meadow I always think might be, with only a little imagination, alpine, and down into the woods. 

The path is partially obstructed by the holly and as it enters the woods it is necessary to walk on stones which at one time surely formed a small kerb or even wall to the left of the path. The path is narrow and to the left is a steep drop, a shallow ravine down to the river, the Trent still shallow, less than a mile from its source in Biddulph Moor.

LionsPaw11 May 2017

Often muddy, the path decends slowly until it arrives at a bend in the river, spanned by a small wooden bridge which carries it across the the ascent out of the river valley and on through the woods.

LionsPaw14 May 2017

Over the years the path up has changed its course as the hikers have sought new ways through the mud. Except in the height of Summer the path here is always muddy. There are signs of land drainage from higher fields, a possible cause of the almost constantly wet conditions. I'm sure it wasn't like this years ago.  As the path flattens out it as it emerges from the trees there are more signs of walkers finding different routes across a marshy stretch. It isn't so many years ago that there was a fixed path running along the right hand edge of the semi open area. Now the route of the path varies, seemingly with the time of year or the amount of rain, sometimes so far to the left that it is close to the dry stone wall, presumably someone's boundary. I wonder who owns this land lying just outside the country park.

We walk this path often. It is one of our favourite routes. From here we can head down towards the lake, past the rocks, via the pool or Gawton's Well, or head up to Rock End and circle back, taking the path down through open fields until it reaches the lake.

It is a pleasant walk at any time of year but my favourite is Autumn when the leaves are turning gold, yellow, brown and the many varieties of fungus are growing on the dead tree stups or emerging from the leaf mould carpeting the floor.

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