One of the perks of being a Walks Coordinator is that you can schedule your favourite walk on your birthday! Hence, this walk in the lovely valley of the river East Allen. We do this walk regularly and it never fails to be enjoyable.
On this particular outing we had a good turnout of around a dozen walkers on a fine if somewhat cool Sunday morning. This walk previously started in the car park of the East Allen Regeneration Centre but unfortunately that walled-in area is only open on weekdays therefore roadside parking is necessary.
Crossing the nearby bridge over the East Allen we entered a woodland path that ran parallel to the fast flowing river.
This lovely path took us nearly a mile along the valley, crossing Isaac’s tea Trail, before exiting into sheep pasture a little further on and still alongside the river. The footpath passes through the lovely garden of an isolated farmhouse before continuing its partnership with the river and passing through another patch of woodland. A little further on we passed by another isolated stone house; well-kept and with another well-tended garden before continuing along a dusty lane to a bridge that links Appletree Bank and Colliery Lane.
This is a lovely, well-made stone bridge that suggests that in previous times a good solid bridge was needed to transport something along these lanes. We head up Colliery Lane which is a steep, high banked and metalled road with drainage channels either side. It’s a tough little climb but the surrounding flora and fauna is worth the effort in springtime.
Near the top of the rise we stop for lunch under the remnants of a railway bridge that passed over the lane. The bridge over the road has long gone but the stone abutments are still there and the nearby grassy verge is a sheltered and comfortable place for a sandwich and a cup of tea.
A little further up the lane is a stile on the right – quite a climb up to it due to the sunken lane but once over you get fantastic views down the valley with rolling hills inscribed with stone walls and the village of Catton nestled at the bottom. From here on in it’s all downhill; literally.
We criss-crossed about half a dozen fields and then followed a semi-overgrown lane down past a stone barn to the riverside woodland again. It was a bit of a steep descent but after that it was easy walking back to the parking spot.