Rails to Trails is a new illustrated booklet of ten walks from stations in Staffordshire and Cheshire produced by North Staffs Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) and funded by train operators CrossCountry and London North Western Railway.
The routes are designed to encourage people to explore places of historic and environmental interest. Many of the walks also include areas of independent shops and cafes, ideal for a well-deserved break.
John Robson, CrossCountry West Midlands and North West Regional Director said, “CrossCountry are proud to be supporting this booklet. We’ve all discovered a greater appreciation for the great outdoors over the last year and encouraging people to ditch the car and go by rail means more quality time with loved ones.“
The routes take the walker past historic buildings and along the canals of Stoke-on-Trent, Stone and Penkridge and through the quaint market towns of Tutbury and Uttoxeter. Quieter strolls take in the beautiful Bathpool Park at Kidsgrove and Milton Park at Alsager. Foxfield Light Railway is less than a mile from Blythe Bridge Station and offers steam trains and a cafe. All the walks are between one and six miles long, starting and ending at a station, ideal for a day out by rail.
The booklet also features a special dementia friendly walk in Alsager – a short walk through Milton Park and to Alsager Mere. Alsager Station has recently been awarded “Working toward Dementia Friendly Status” by the Alzheimers Society.
Rails to Trails has been compiled by NSCRP, building on ideas supplied by community members.
Claire Sandys, Community Rail Officer, said, “There is so much on offer in the communities that are served by our railway stations. We want people to enjoy travelling by train again and to explore those villages and towns that they may have previously just passed through.”
“We know that walking is good for our physical and mental health and we hope that this collection of walks will inspire people to explore more on foot. We would love it if they chose the environmentally sound option of train travel to reach the start point.”
“We look forward to offering organised guided walks along selected routes later in the year.”