"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Day Out - Part 1: Leek and The Roaches

It was E's birthday earlier this week and ever since the children were little we've gone out for the day to a place of their choosing and now it's grown into a family "tradition". Last year she wanted to visit York and this year it was Leek, a small market town in Staffordshire.

Leek was granted a market charter in 1207 during the reign of King John. It really wasn't worth taking a photo of the market place as it was being used as a car park but here is the medieval Market Cross.

Whilst everyone else was having an icecream I discovered these interesting wooden carvings on wooden posts.

Royal Mail painted more than 100 of its iconic red postboxes gold to celebrate every Team GB and Paralympic Gold Medal won during the Olympics in 2012. This one was the first we'd seen!

The Roebuck Hotel dates back to 1626.

I rather suspect this beautiful little arcade (called Getliffe's) full of small shops selling "vintage" type items was the reason why E chose to come to Leek!

The Nicholson War Memorial - apparently the largest in the country. It was given to the town by Sir Arthur Nicholson and his wife in memory of his son Basil who was killed in action in the Great War.

After the visit to the Arcade E decided she had had enough of shopping (much to D's relief - he was bored!!) and she mentioned we could visit a place called the Roaches, on the edge of the Peak District a few miles distant, which apparently gave great views over the countryside.

You could walk for miles over this area - tors and rock faces (or edges), used for climbing, cover the area.

The rock in this area is Millstone Grit (a coarse sandstone) laid down over 300 million years ago in a river delta. This was eventually covered by limestone,muds and coal. The layers of sand under chemical changes and pressure finally formed the rock known as Millstone Grit. Eventually this area of land was pushed out of the sea and the process of erosion began.

The tors have been shaped by wind erosion.

You can just make out Tittesworth Reservoir in the distance - not the best of photos - it was quite hazy and I had to take this photo "into the sun".

We'd made quite an early start and it was still only early afternoon. I'd mentioned on the journey that Biddulph Grange Gardens were not far from Leek so that was our next point of call. I'll write about these fantastic gardens in another post as there are already too many photos yet again!!!

When I was at Sarehole Mill recently I noticed millstones there made from Millstone Grit. You may remember the Mill is now producing flour again and I brought home a small bag to try. B's had a few days holiday to coincide with E's birthday and yesterday he used the flour to make this Wholemeal Loaf, which was absolutely delicious. I'll definitely be getting more flour samples when I'm next over that way!! Very impressed with the recipe too - one of Paul Hollywood's.


Bovey Belle said...

Lovely post. We once viewed a cottage near Leek - many years back now. It looks a nice town and I bet your daughter loved those vintage shops. I remember driving past the Roaches a few times, taking Tam back to Sheffield. I always wanted to stop and explore.

We always have special birthday days out in our family too - after all, birthdays only happen once a year and should be enjoyed to the full.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much. Yes, its a lovely area and I would like to have explored more of the Roaches. There's a pool there with a Jenny Greenteeth legend! And I forgot to mention in my blog post that there used to be wallabies in the area. They were released from a collection in the 1950's and there was a colony there for years. Sadly, it appears to have died out a few years ago.

Its a good way to make the best of birthdays - as you say they only come once a year!!

John Wooldridge said...

I do like the look of Leek me dear and your pictures give me an urge to walk the Roaches.

Ragged Robin said...

John Wooldridge - Many thanks John :) Definitely a great place to walk and escape from it all but I reckon it would be busy at weekends!

Em Parkinson said...

Those wooden posts are delightful. Great tour as ever....

Pete Duxon said...

lovely post. Never been to Leek!

Looking forward to the garden. Its a corker eh :)

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parksinson - Thank you :) I loved the posts too :) Could so easily have been missed!

Pete Duxon - Thanks Pete. Oh gosh yes it certainly is a corker!! :) Absolutely beautiful :)

Wendy said...

I've loved this look at Leek. I had a teacher once at school who came from there and talked about it - but this is the first time I've actually had a glimpse of it! The Roaches looks a lovely place to visit - such fabulous views.
The bread looks delicious!

Stewart M said...

Great looking blog!

I spent a few days trying to climb on Miltstone grit (many) years ago, before I migrated. I remember having no skin left on my hands as we ant home!

Nice to see it again.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much :) So glad you finally got a glimpse of Leek and enjoyed the Roaches.

Yes, the bread was gorgeous. My husband made a cottage loaf yesterday (wish I'd taken a photo) which was equally tasty. He seems to be working his way through Paul Hollywood's book !

Stewart - Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for leaving a comment.

Must admit I had to clamber/slither over a few sections of the Millstone Grit in a rather undignified fashion!!!