Biddulph Grange, the Cloud and Nick i' th' Hill
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Join us for a circular walk north from Biddulph Grange across the border of Staffordshire and Cheshire. On the route out, we head north across gently rising ground to a prominent hill named the Cloud, which is the highpoint of this walk at 343m and the highest hill in the area. The Cloud rises dramatically above the town of Congleton and the surrounding countryside. From its summit there are impressive views across the Cheshire plain, north to Manchester and the Lancashire hills beyond, and eastwards into Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
Along the way we'll pass the Bridestones, which are the remaining stones of a Neolithic burial chamber. Descending from the Cloud along part of the Gritstone Trail, we then have a short and gentle climb up the Congleton ridge to a dip in the ridge known as Nick i' th' Hill. From here, the walk descends through woodland and fields back to Biddulph Grange. It's a walk of just over 9 miles / 14.5 km, with ascent of 423 metres.
Dogs: well-behaved dogs are welcome, but must be controlled at all times and on a lead when crossing agricultural land.
Accessibility by train: pickup from and return to a local railway station may be possible. Message the event leader to discuss further.
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Photo credits: all photos by the event leader with permission granted to ODL for their use.
What to bring
What to bring
Boots: your most important piece of kit: comfortable, waterproof, breathable and designed for hiking. Trainers may be OK, depending on how rough the ground is and if its dry. Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters. Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions.
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and to body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt), a mid layer (micro-fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (windproof jacket or thick fleece). Trousers: avoid jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, and take ages to dry out. Breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry more quickly. On warm days shorts may be ok.
Waterproof jacket: carry one in your rucksack when walking in all but the calmest of weather. Breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry.
Hat or cap: useful for staying warm in winter and shaded in summer. Gloves: essential in winter and ideally waterproof.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, this should be comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely.
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter. Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days.
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated. Snacks: a range of biscuits, energy bars, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit (for example) are always good to have. Put them in your rucksack where they are easy to grab.
Water and other fluid: bring between one and two litres, depending on season of the year and temperature. A combination of water, fruit juice, energy drinks and a hot drink is a good idea.
Medicines: essential if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments, etc. A personal first aid kit with hand sanitiser, bandages and paracetamol or ibuprofen (for personal use only) is a good idea.
Food & drink
Bring a packed lunch, snacks for along the way and sufficient fluids (hot or cold) to drink. A hot drink is recommended in cooler weather.
We are likely to go for refreshments after the walk, either at the nearby National Trust cafe at Biddulph Grange Gardens ST8 7SD or the nearby pub, The Talbot, on Grange Road ST8 7RY.