Thursday 26 September Abbots Bromley to Quixhill

Distance walked: today 15.8 miles cumulative 594.8 miles

I’ve found the last few days very tiring which is why I have got behind with the blog. I think this is a combination of the increased distances and the worsening weather. It seems a long time since I was stopping in pubs for a cooling pint at lunchtimes.

Last nights’s B & B joined the “best” group. It was a two floor apartment which is sometimes let out as a B and B and sometimes as a self catering apartment. The owners, Bob and Sue, were really nice and there was a DVD collection of some of my favourite shows. I could have stayed and watched Wallender rather than gone walking in the rain. There were a few stuffed animal heads and birds in the living room that may put off vegetarians but I assume these were old.

There has been a village at Abbots Bromley since 952 and it is recorded in the Domesday book. In the centre of the village is the Butter Cross, so named as butter used to be traded under it. It is claimed to originate from the 14th century but the current structure probably dates from the 18th century.

The church dates from the origin of the village, although it has been rebuilt a couple of times. Inside the church several sets of reindeer horns are displayed. These have been carbon dated to come from the 11th century. However some say that reindeer were not present in Britain at that time and they must have been imported. The dance is said to have been first performed in 1226. The dance comprises six men wearing deer antlers (the deer men), a Fool, Hobby horse, Bowman, Maid Marian and a melodian player. They still dance at various places around the village on Wakes Monday in September.

Mary Queen of Scots stayed in Abbots Bromley on her way to Tutbury castle.

The weather was dull with showers and I continued along the Staffordshire Way across farmland to Uttoxeter. The walk was not particularly interesting. As I arrived in Uttoxeter I could see the Peak District on the horizon

I took the opportunity to send some used maps and clothes back home and to buy some food for the next few lunches. Leaving Uttoxeter proved problematic as a shopping park has been built by the station and I could not find the start of my path. Eventually I found my way back to the route. There were sculptures on some of the roundabouts The path led to the A50. I was worried the path under the motorway would be flooded but in fact I passed through with dry feet. The Staffordshire Way followed the line of the Dove valley but there was a subtle difference in the landscape with sheep and cattle farming replacing arable fields. The fields were smaller and dry stone walls started to appear. I felt I was back in the Peak District. The path passed through a shooting club. There was clay pigeon shooting in progress. Two turkeys crossed the path. I hope they manage to leave the area soon otherwise they will become a target as Christmas approaches

River Dove south of Rocester

Rocester is the site of an old Roman fort, although little remains today. It’s current claim to fame is that the JCB World centre is located there.

I took the road out of town to my B and B. I was planning to eat in a nearby pub but this closed last week. A great pity as it had a reputation for good food. Fortunately I was aware of this and I bought some sandwiches in Uttoxeter.