Tag Archives: Moorland & City

See the history of the Draycott railway

The old Cheadle to Cresswell railway (via Huntley and Totmonslow) has a long history.
First mooted as an idea in the mid-1850s, it finally got built as the ‘Cheadle Railway’ in the 1890s, and trains ran on it until the 1970s.   Its trackbed, which is used by walkers, can still be seen of course.

And now its history is being told in a new exhibition at The Discovery Centre in Cheadle.

On display

The exhibition takes in four display boards in the main room at the centre, and also includes memorabilia and old photos.  The interesting thing about the centre is that it welcomes loans and contributions from local residents, so some of the photos and memorabilia have never been seen in public before!

Cheadle Railway display

The exhibtion’s text is mounted on boards, and artefacts are in cases

There is one photo of the digging out of the Totmonslow stretch that we’ve never seen before, for sure.


The early history of the line was not a happy one.
Though the land around and through the Draycott colliery (then called New Haden Colliery) was fairly easily obtained, the extra land at Cresswell was harder to purchase; and had to be bought off the Vavasours, who were a leading family in Draycott then.
It was important to take the Cheadle line to Cresswell, because Cresswell Station was the link then to the main Uttoxeter-Stoke line.

Finally the line was opened in 1892, and was running five trains a day.  Coal was transported, partly from the colliery at Draycott Cross; as well as passengers.
But it had all sorts of problems, made very little money, and was quickly sold to the North Staffordshire Railway Company in 1909.
(See map of the line as it was in 1921. It was later re-routed of course, in 1933, to the other side of Huntley).

But, five trains a day were maintained even after the coal dried up, carrying sand from the quarries right up until the 1970s, and the line only finally closed – even to freight – in 1978.
It is now leased to the Moorland & City Company, and is used as a footpath.

Railway at Totsmonlow bridge

This photo shows the line at Totmonslow Bridge two years ago, before the tracks were taken up.

If you’re interested in the story of the line (and its colliery line, which went through the Draycott Tunnel), you can find out lots more at this exhibition.


The Discovery Centre is run by volunteers who love the history of this part of the world – and they would welcome any contributions you can make.

All artefacts loaned to them are carefully looked after, and returned at end of use; while photographs are expertly copied and returned immediately.  Contact the group if you think you can help.

Indeed, at this current exhibition, someone has loaned a scale-model of the old Cheadle Railway station!  Some old survey documents related to an 1860s scheme have also been loaned, and are on display in a glass-topped case.

Model of Cheadle station

A model of Cheadle station is a centre-piece of the exhibition

Incidentally, don’t think it is too late to ask if you can contribute something. Though the current exhibition only runs until November 29th, it will return in February and March next year – and all the new contributions will be added to the displays then.

The Cheadle Railway Exhibition is at The Discovery Centre in Lulworth House in the High Street in Cheadle until November 29th.  Free admission.
The exhibition is open to the public only on certain days: Thursday 21st & 28th, Friday 22nd & 29th, and Saturday 23rd.  Hours are 10am-4pm.
Contact the group if you need more details

_ _ _
Related stuff
The History of Draycott by Matthew Pointon has more facts and photos, as does ‘The Cheadle Railway’, a book by Alan C baker.
There are some lovely old photos on the Cheadle Rail Pathway Campaign site too
And the Cheadle Branch Line Wikipedia page is very good to read too

NEWS: Cloggerfest / new path / Potter – gone / YFC recruits / IT courses

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in early-September 2013

We have news of:  Cloggerfest success; new footpath to railway track; Draycott Potter – gone; young famers recruiting; local IT courses starting.
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– – – –
Footpath ‘loan’

Our article on local footpaths in the district raised a few reactions.  We particularly liked JC’s letter, in which he says all of us must try to use these footpaths more; it’s a case, he says, of ‘use them or lose them!’

What is terrific to hear is that Cliff Shelley, of the well-known local farming family, has come out and said that he doesn’t mind a little bit of his land being used temporarily as a path, to connect the old railway track to Cresswell old Lane, while the county council try to sort somethign better out.

As you may know, although there is now unofficial permission for walkers to use the old railway track, there is no proper entry to the track at its Cresswell end.
However Cliff says what he will allow is that walkers can go through the gate opposite the old football ground on Cresswell Old Lane, follow the field-hedge to its end, and then take the access to the railway track – from where you can walk the three-mile stretch of track right the way up to Cheadle.
Of course, this is only a temporary permission; and if the route is misused, Cliff can withdraw his offer… so let’s hope his faith in all of us is justified!

– – – –
Draycott Potter… going… gone

Talking of the old football ground in Cresswell Old Lane, the changing rooms there are now all but demolished, and virtually all signs that Draycott Potter FC had twenty eventful seasons there are gone.  (The farmer who owned the land needed it back, so the football club had to leave during the summer).

Draycott Potter FC's demolished  changing rooms

Draycott Potter FC’s old changing rooms – now just bits of firewood

The Draycott team now plays on Blythe Bridge Recreation ground, for want of a better pitch, while Tean Albion, who shared the pitch with them, have now moved over to Teanford.  Both teams play in the Uttoxeter Sunday League Division One.

Which means that … the only regular football to watch nowadays in Draycott is on the college’s playing field in Draycott Old Road, where – ironically – teams from Fulford play!
It’s a bit mixed up.

– – – –
Cloggerfest success

Congratulations to all behind the Cresswell Beer & Folk Free Festival (aka ‘CloggerFest’) which has just been held at Blythe Cricket Club.

Cloggerfest logo

The spirit of Cloggerfest!

We estimate that some two to three hundred people came along on Saturday night; and the money they passed over the bar will help to help this community club afloat.

Incidentally, the real ales were great – we liked the ‘chestnut’ Castle Rock beer very much – and the bands too were in fine form on what was a nicely mild evening.
‘Sons Of Clogger’ headlined, but Clair Brennan and Pickering White, of the other acts we saw, were pretty special too.

Pickering White

Pickering White played with enthusiasm and verve

And special congratulations to Angie Heathcote, the club’s events secretary, who somehow managed to acquire a very professional looking mobile stage for the night – with stunning sound system.  It’s the first time this annual festival has had a proper stage.
And thanks too to Dave Owen (‘Sons of Clogger’ frontman), who organised all aspects of the music – including the bands, the running order, the sound and stage lighting.  Clogger-tastic!

Cloggerfest is not quite Glastonbury (yet) but it’s looking pretty good, and there are plans for next year’s festival already on the drawing board.

– – – –
Lots to do

If you’re interested in the local countryside and/or agriculture, and you’re under 35, you might be interested in joining the Young Farmers club.

Amy Nicholls, the secretary of Stone YFC, has told us that Cheadle YFC is now defunct; but that people from Draycott, who might have been members of the Cheadle group, are more than welcome in the Stone group.

Anyone who wants to find out more about the group might want to head along to its New Members Night – which takes place on Tuesday 17 September at The Boar in Moddershall.

….and, finally, community centres and colleges in the district will soon be publishing their adult education and evening courses for the forthcoming year – but Blythe Bridge Library has beaten them to the punch.
It’s already announced two IT courses for the autumn – ‘iPad & Tablets For Beginners’ on Tuesday afternoons, and ‘Online For Beginners’ on Tuesday mornings, both starting in mid-September and running for six weeks.
Phone 01782 296400 for details.

To comment on any of these items, or suggest some new ones,  just use the comments box below.
You do not have to leave your email address (which is always kept private anyway), but, if you don’t, that means you might miss any feedback.

Old-railway as bridleway/footpath for Draycott?

News is filtering in that it may not be long now before the old Cheadle to Cresswell branch railway-line is declared a ‘permissive path’.
The four-mile long line, which was closed in 1978 after nearly a hundred years in operation, was leased last year by Network Rail to the Moorlands & City rail company.
MCR have since removed what remained of the old railway tracks. (Click here for the background to that story).
See bottom of this article for map references.

English: Cheadle Branch Railway The Cheadle Ra...

The trackbed at Totmonslow (Photo: Wikipedia)

Right now, the trackbed is still their private property. However, with no likelihood in the near future of it being used again for rail traffic, local activists have been campaigning for it to be given over to public use as a green path.

Our local county councilor, Mike Maryon, says he thinks the chances of that happening are now better than evens.
Worries that there could be liability if a walker were injured by falling masonry from the two bridges on the stretch (both at Totmonslow) seem to have been overcome.


It’s not only walkers who would be interested to see the track made available to them. Horse riders have also expressed interest.

Members of the Churnet Valley Riders group are pressing for access to the line. They have told us that only 4% of footpaths in Staffordshire are also bridle-paths, and even then most of them are concentrated in certain areas (such as Freehay) – so there is a real need.

At the moment, the track makes for uncomfortable walking as it is pretty much still lined with the old stone ballast (which would also make it unsuitable for horses) – but a simple rolling process could make it usable say CVR.
(However, that would make it more attractive to quad-bikers as well, which may be a disadvantage).

…future rail link?

At one stage, there was an idea that the line might be restored to the working rail network.
MCR has already says it plans to re-open the old line going west from Cheadle to Stoke (via Endon); and there was speculation that, having taken on the lease with this Cheadle-Totmonslow-Cresswell stretch, they might want to rebuild it too.

But the chances of that however seem next to nothing.

Not only is the Cheadle end now built over by a housing estate,  but the fact is that a few bits of the track along the Cresswell stretch are now private gardens!
When British Rail employees were living in the Railway Cottages terrace (which is just off Cresswell Old Road near the Izaak Walton Inn), BR sold them parts of the decommissioned line in the 1980s for them to use as gardens. The present residents would have to be willing to sell if the old line were to be restored.

The fact is that you’d have to trespass over these gardens if you wanted to complete the whole walk (or ride) right through to the Sandon Road end of the line in Cresswell.
So, the current advice is that a walker should turn off the track at Upper Newton Farm and take the present public footpath from there to meet Cresswell Old Road.

So… lots still to think about, and to do, but it looks like Draycott in the Moors could soon have a new ‘permissive’ public footpath.

To comment on this story, just use the comments box below

Moorland & City seek to restore old North Staffordshire rail lines
/ bridleways.co.uk

The line of the old railway can be seen on an Ordnance Survey map.  It runs from Cheadle High School to Huntley to Totmonslow to Newton to Cresswell. There was also a short branch off it that went to New Haden/Draycott Cross Colliery.

News of … local Olympics, birthday, old rail line

News-in-brief of Draycott In The Moors in early June 2012.
Updates on the old railway line, a happy birthday, the Draycott Olympics – and more.
(There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

Old railway line – some news soon?

The puzzle about what exactly the future of the old railway line (the one that goes Cheadle-Teanford-Totmonslow-under Uttoxeter Road Bridge –Cresswell) might be might a little clearer by now.
As you know the Moorlands & City Railway company (which has links to the Churnet Valley tourist railway) has now cleared the line, and it’s almost a green lane now.
But MCR have not said what they wish to do with it now…

However, our county councillor, Mike Maryon (who is also head of Staffordshire’s Highway Committee) was due to meet up with MCR’s Dave Kemp about all sorts of matters anyway, and has said he’d ask for some specifics about the Cheadle-Cresswell line.
I wonder what MCR’s answer was?  No doubt we’ll find out soon.

– – – – –

A pat on the back goes out to the 2nd Forsbrook Guides troop which has done a neat job of creating a small flower bed in the Community Church Hall garden. It really looks nice.
Anyone who fancies hiring the hall and its garden – for a barbecue, or just a small gathering – should contact Mary Edwards.

Draycott Community Church Hall garden

Draycott Community Church Hall garden – with flower-bed!

And, congratulations are also due to Rose Hammond.
Mrs Hammond is something of a legend in Cresswell, and her 70th birthday (yes – 70! – who’d believe it) is being celebrated with a party at the cricket club pavilion this Saturday.  Happy birthday!

– – – – –
A summer of sport

Just in time for Wimbledon, the Draycott Sports Centre has a shiny new sign…

draycott sports centre sign

A new logo and sign for Draycott Sports Centre

Incidentally, if you are considering joining the Centre, which has all sorts of racquet sports – plus a gym – it’s worth remembering that you can sign a guest in.
For example: if you get a tennis membership, you can always invite a mate over to play, even if your friend is a non-member. It costs a couple of quid each time for a guest to play.

Talking of sport…
Some more details have been emerging about the ‘Draycott Olympics’.
Yes, the second day (July 15) of the annual St Margaret’s Fayre will feature a day of traditional sports.

Selwyn Edwards and John Clarke, who are organising the day, say they are considering ‘blind wheelbarrow races’, a tug-o-war, and even the great old favourite, the egg-and-spoon race.
If you can contribute with equipment, ideas, or as a volunteer on the day, please contact John.

To comment on these stories, just use the comments box below

Work starts on Totmonslow old railway

The Cheadle & Tean Times reports that the local railways company ‘Moorland & City’ is already carrying out clearing work on the former Cheadle to Cresswell line.
What the company want to do is to return trains to it.
The paper says that Moorland & City bought a lease on the line at Christmas.

Rail lines at Huntley Railway Bridge

Rail track at Huntley Railway Bridge

The line closed down in the 1960s, but the track way is still clearly marked, and some of the old rails are even still down.
It passes from Cheadle, round Teanford, past Huntley Wood, through Totmonslow, and thence to Cresswell, where it meets the main Uttoxeter-Stoke line.

Well, we can confirm that clearing work is definitely going on. Just this weekend, we saw the heaps of rails that have taken up and are now being gathered into piles by Totmonslow Rail Bridge.
It would be interesting to know what M&C intend to do with the old rails.

And, as you can see from the photo, taken just this weekend, trees overlooking the line on the Huntley Wood stretch are now also being cut back.

Tree-cutting at Huntley - on the old Cheadle to Cresswell line

Tree-cutting at Huntley - on the old Cheadle to Cresswell line

Moorland & City are most famous of course for their proposals to re-open the railway line from Leek to Stoke (via Endon) and the line from Leek to Alton (via Oakamoor).