Tuesday 24 September Pattingham to Penkridge

Distance walked: today 14.7 miles cumulative 561.4 miles

Lovely pub food last night but as I was taken there I am not sure what the pub was called or where it was (I hasten to add this is because I was not paying attention and not due to excess alcohol).

Kate was working so she was up and ready to leave by the time I awoke. Tim and I settled down to porridge and then I set off for the Staffordshire Way accompanied by Tim and Jarvis.

View back to Pattingham church

We parted company where the Staffordshire way left the Wolverhampton road and the heavens opened. I quickly got into my wet weather gear and set off across the fields to Codsall where I sought refuge from the elements in a coffee shop. This also contained a bakery and there was a lovely smell of baking bread. Unfortunately I discovered that my cagoule is no longer as waterproof as when it was new so I was somewhat soggy and left a puddle of rainwater on the floor.

The rain continued and I pressed on to Brewood and a pub lunch. I am afraid the walk itself was forgettable. Visibility was limited, the rain heavy and I just concentrated on getting there as quickly as possible. I think both Codsall and Brewood may be perfectly nice towns but not in the rain.

I decided to abandon the Staffordshire way in preference for a shorter walk down country lanes. It actually stopped raining for a while but I got another soaking just outside Penkridge. A walk to forget because of the weather, but I count myself lucky as this is only the second day to be a wash out since I started.

Tim drove over and we had a nice evening

There are several option to cross middle England for the Lejoger. Some divert in Somerset to cross the Bristol Channel and head up Offa’s Dyke path. The alternative is to go up the Cotswold Way and choose to go around Birmingham to the east or west. Robin Richards decided on the full Birmingham experience and crossed the conurbation on canal tow paths. The east route takes the Heart of England way after the Cotswold Way and this joins the Staffordshire way at Shugborough (see tomorrow’s blog).

I really enjoyed my route (west) which is very similar to Mark Moxon. The detour over the Malverns was unnecessary but one of the highlights for me. The disadvantage was once I had left a recognised “Way” many of the paths were obstructed by undergrowth, crops or broken stiles. The days on the Severn were very enjoyable. I wanted to go over Kinver Edge but couldn’t find suitable accommodation (there is a 5 star hotel). The short detour via Pattingham was to see Tim and Kate. Staffordshire was mainly farmland but the canals made a nice change.

Of course there is no official route and walkers can follow their own desires.