Marmite, Alton Towers, potteries – the West Midlands' county of Staffordshire is famous for many things. Not to be overlooked is its countryside.
Comprising vast moorlands and gritstone ridges, great reservoirs and rivers – not least the mighty Trent – and numerous historic towns and cities, Staffordshire has something for everyone.
So strap on your boots, grab your map and hit the trail with our round up the best walks in Staffordshire.
Best walks in Staffordshire
Three Shires Head
6.2 miles/10km | 4 hours | moderate
Here, two bridges span the meeting of waters, a duo of waterfalls cascading over rocks to gather in mountain-cold plunge pools. Hikers, photographers and wild swimmers are all drawn to this beauty spot, so it’s best to come early in the day. Enjoy an invigorating swim, a hot drink and the first rays of the summer sun before continuing on your figure-of-eight hike.
In the nesting season, the plaintive cries of curlew are a constant soundtrack above the upland streams, while the surrounding moorlands are splashed with purple heather towards summer’s end
5.8 miles/9.3km | 4 hours | moderate
Late summer is a wonderful time of year to walk The Roaches ridgeline as it flushes purple with flowering heather.
But with such striking scenery and the opportunity for numerous wildlife encounters, this Peak District gem is well worth the visit no matter what the season. Experience the hills in all their glory on a six-mile circular walk.
6.2km/3.8 miles | 2 hours | easy/moderate
Magnificent woods clothe the banks of the River Churnet and its canyon-like valley in North Staffordshire.
Between Leek and the picturesque little town of Alton, the watercourse wriggles its way through this secluded, arboreal landscape. It surges through the occasional village amid a beguiling countryside brimming with heritage, far from that madding crowd.
At Dimmingsdale (Dimmings Dale) near Alton, set between woodland-fringed ponds and nearby Lord’s Bridge across the Churnet, stands the Ramblers’ Retreat tearoom, a long-established favourite with walkers and cyclists. It’s an architectural flight-of-fancy that was formerly a towered lodge house on the vast Alton Abbey Estate owned by the Earls of Shrewsbury. A trace of the old Abbey, later renamed Alton Towers, is now at the heart of the famous theme park.
Ilam and Dove Dale
5 miles/8.2km | 3 hours | moderate
Explore Dove Dale and its surrounding countryside with a three-hour walk, starting at the pretty village of Ilam. One of the highlights is The Church of the Holy Cross, with its curious crown-shaped annex. Inside, find Bertram’s shrine: King of Mercia turned hermit, who dedicated his life to God after his Irish princess and baby were mauled to death by wolves.