Tag Archives: railway

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.

Bridleway

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

Links:
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.

– – – – –
Congratulations

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

Old rail line – a puzzle…

So… what exactly is going on on the disused railway line? 

On the old line – that passed from Cheadle (at the High School, where the old station was) to Teanford, past Huntley Wood, through Totmonslow (under the main road) and round to Cresswell (at the railway cottages) – there has been a lot of clearing work recently, and all the old track has now been removed.

But… what for?

What we do know is that Moorland & City Railway (a company that works in association with the Churnet Valley tourist railway) seems to have taken out a year’s lease, through a sister company, on the stretch (which still belongs to Railtrack).

Over the last two months or so, contractors have cut back all the undergrowth and pulled up the rails, which, admittedly, had not been used since the 1960s.
The Sentinel has been reporting that M&C pulled up the old tracks as a preventive measure because “thieves had been going there and stealing some of the rails”.
The rails anyway were apparently no longer fit for purpose – there was once an idea that the line might be used to transfer quarry materials, but the rails are too obsolete for that, it seems.

What’s the future?

At first, it was being said that the line might well be transformed into a light-railway system – even though the stretch, even from Cheadle, is only a few miles long and there is little infrastructure. This would be an expensive venture, what with the costs of new concrete sleepers and so on.

Old (Tean) Station platform at Totmonslow

Old (Tean) Station at Totmonslow – before the rails were pulled up in April. (Photo: JC)

Our local politicians have carried out some investigations of their own, and report that it’s possible that the stretch could be ‘loaned’ by M&C for use as a bridleway/footpath, though, in essence, it remains private property.

This latter plan would please one of our local environment campaigners, John Clarke.  John, who lives in Cresswell, has been urging that the stretch be used in this way for around ten years!
He had backing from the parish council for this suggestion.

Bikers?

John told us he’s concerned though that, unless it’s all done properly and quickly, bikers could find out about what is now, to all intents and purposes, a greenway, and start to use it for trail bikes. People by the track say some quad bikers have already started to ride along it.
John points out that the only way to stop that would be by installing occasional barriers along the stretch. The path & routes network charity SUSTRANS recommend the use of these barriers.

John is working with our county councillor Mike Maryon to see if M&C have answers to these quite pressing questions.

It will be interesting to see what plans are revealed!

Link:  Moorland & City seek to restore old North Staffordshire rail lines

News: of railways, Tudor homes & elections

Some more news snippets for you, including free insulation for everyone (true!), local elections, the railway line that’s coming along, and more about speed limiting…

Fancy a Tudor home?

Tudor Lodge

Tudor Lodge

Another of the district’s iconic houses is up for sale. The ‘Tudor Lodge’ in Sandon Road is being handled by the John German Estates Agency at an asking price of £450,000.  Click here for details.
It’s a lovely home, with strange hidden doors just one of the features.

Does anyone know its history? We suspect it was built in the 1930s – but we stand to be corrected. Let us know if you know – by using the comment box at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

John German is also handling the sale of Hawthorne Farm in Draycott Old Road.

Get insulated – cost-free

We are always suspicious of something being offered for free – but this offer does seem to be the real thing…
Staffordshire Moorlands Council is telling us that we can have free loft and/or cavity wall insulation fitted – for nothing.  It seems it’s all to do with the Government’s drive to get us all to be energy-efficient.
The offer applies to private homes, rented homes… whatever.
There is one catch (there always is!): you must apply for the offer BEFORE the end of 2012.
Link:  free insulation for all

Election-free zone

The national news is absorbed by the forthcoming local elections – but, of course, it’s all quiet here!
Staffordshire Moorlands has so-called ‘all-out’ elections once every four years, whereas other councils have ‘sliding’ elections, which are more frequent. Nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme and Cannock Chase, for example, are both going to the polls this May 3rd.
Our next district & parish councils elections are in 2015.

Of course, there is one major election we will all be involved in this year. In November, we all go to the polls to elect a Police & Crime Commissioner, the first time ever such a role has been contested in Staffordshire.

There is also our Draycott-in-the-Moors ‘Annual Parish Assembly’ on May 28 – the occasion when all voters (including those from Cresswell and Totmonslow) can gather to discuss and comment on the year’s work by the parish council.
It’s usually worth attending, even if just to find out what’s been going on in our name!

The railway line approaching Draycott now…

The clearing of the old railway track from Cheadle-Teanford-Huntley-Totmonslow-Cresswell is proceeding apace. When we last reported, the clearing operation (particularly of undergrowth, and pulling up of the old track) was only at Huntley, but it is now past Totmonslow and approaching Cresswell.
We rather liked the lovely silver birches that stood along the line, but they are being chopped like nobody’s business.
But – we are still puzzled. Why the rush? What is supposed to happen next?
(If you know, do add a comment – see the box down below).

Bumps flattened

The stretch of road at the southern end of Sandon Road, between The Hunter pub and The Bird In Hand pub (on the way to Hilderstone), has now been completely re-dressed.  There’s a temporary 20mph limit on the stretch because of the loose grit.

The speed-bumps that used to line the road on the approach to The Bird In Hand pub (now demolished) have also been flattened.
The bumps were irritating, but did slow one down before the tricky bend into Sharpley Heath.
This is an interesting action from Staffordshire Highways – bearing in mind that the latest Local Newsletter from the police stresses concerns about speed.

Link:  April News Snippets (1)

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).