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Around the Old Furnace

The Old Furnace and Annexe are set deep down in the Churnet Valley, at the head of the pretty valley of Dimmingsdale, with its leafy pools and wooded hillsides. There is rolling countryside all around.


The Immediate Area

Dimmingsdale belongs to Forest Enterprise, and there are waymarked walks through the woods. Half a mile up the road is Hawksmoor, the first nature reserve to be set up in the county. It belongs to the National Trust, and is a haven of peace and tranquility. The pretty stone village of Alton is just two miles away, and Cotton Dell, a lovely wooded valley with tumbling stream, owned by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, is one mile away in Oakamoor. Within two miles are Thormbury Hall, winners of many awards for their superb curries. It is one of the best in the country, and definitely the finest in the Midlands. Also close by is the most unusual pub in England, The Yew Tree in Cauldon (well worth a visit!).

The entire Churnet Valley is a beautiful area for walking, sightseeing and bird watching, with industrial archaeology, including some of the oldest railways in the world, on our doorstep. The Churnet Valley Railway (a steam heritage line) is only three miles away, and boat trips are available on The Caldon Canal, The Roaches. Dovedale and The Manifold Valley are 20 minutes' drive, and Leek, famous for its antique shops and William Morris associations, is the same distance.

The area surrounding The Annexe is extremely rich is flora and fauna, being a biodiversity enhancement area. We have unimproved wildflower meadows, heather moorland, rocky outcrops and ancient woodland. Badgers and bats patrol the area at night whilst nuthatches, goldfinches, woodpeckers and blue tits come down to the bird feeders. 28 different varieties of birds have been seen from The Annexe in just one day. Our woodland plants and trees are extremely diverse, with much of the area being an SSSI. The entire Churnet Valley in 2011 won a Heritage Lottery Award for maintaining our wonderful diversity.

The area is a cultural paradise. There are more well dressings in our area than everywhere else in the world put together; beautiful churches, arts festivals and local customers abound; and the Staffordshire Hoard is on permanent display at The Potteries Museum in the ceramics capital of the world.



Close By

In the vicinity are some of the best gardens in England:
• Consall Hall Landscape Garden (featured on TV)
• Biddulph Grange (National Trust)
• Trentham Gardens (largest replanting/restoration programme in the UK)

The area is a walker's paradise. Within half a mile of your front door are:
• The Staffordshire Way Long Distance Path (92 miles)
• The Sabrina Way long distance bridleway
• The Weaver Walk (15 miles)
• The Churnet Valley Geotrail (18 miles)
• A Staffordshire Moorlands Walk

There are also many open access areas and literally dozens of footpaths within the immediate vicinity.



Within easy driving distance of The Old Furnace are:
• The Peak District National Park
• Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
• Little Moreton Hall, Sudbury Hall and Shugborough (National Trust)
• Two Heritage Steam Railways
• Off-road Cycle Tracks
• Coombes Valley RSPB Reserve
• Stoke on Trent with its museums and pottery shops (including Emma Bridgewater, Burleigh, Wedgwood, Minton and others)
• Cheadle with its famous Catholic Church (Pugin’s Gem), and other towns including Ashbourne, Leek and Buxton


Public Transport Information

If you prefer a car-free holiday, there are plenty of options for bus travel to local towns and places of interest, or we can help with linear walk planning. We can assist with all of this!


The Old Furnace
Staffordshire Moorlands
ST10 3AP

Telephone: 01538 703331
Text: 07876 572729