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TOFT BARN AND CHELS BARN – DO TRY THIS WALK – NO NEED FOR A CAR!
This small walk takes under an hour but can be extended with our suggestions to take up as much of your day as you like! It can be followed on the OS Outdoor Leisure Map 24 (there should be a copy in your Party House).
Firstly leave Toft by taking the footpath between Chels Barn and Toft Nook. Follow the path along our field and go over the style at the end of the field then immediately turn right and go into the next field. Walk diagonally to your left across this field to the style by the trees. Then turn right along the green lane until you pass Hawksley Farm. Pass the bungalow and turn right on the lane. Here you will join the little road. Turn left and follow the road for a short way (less than ¼ mile) until you reach Gun End. Take the track up the hill past the houses to your right.
Notice as you go some of the wonderful wild flowers. Watch out too for rabbits, hares and all manner of birds. In the summer you can hear the curlews distinctive call (quite a shriek really!) Curlews are distinctive as they have a long curling beak. If you are walking in the evening you may well see little owls, barn owls, and tawny owls (although you are more likely to hear their familiar call tiwit tiwoo – actually a male and female talking to each other).
Now you have a choice:-
For the shorter version of this walk. Go straight on and climb gently to follow the little ridge on the side of Gun Hill. Now you are up on the moor and you will see the plant life change dramatically. Here, above the trees, it is the domain of heather and bilberries (the fruit in the summer is very tasty – a bit like blueberries but smaller – although you need to pick an awful lot of them to make any sort of pie!). At the end of the track you will join up with a tarmaced lane. Turn right and right again and you have joined up with the lane at the top of Toft Hall driveway. This you will find about quarter of a mile along on the left hand side. Turn down our driveway and you are home!
If you fancy something a little longer. At Gun End take the path on the left and climb up to Cliff Hollins. Continue on the left hand path around the other side of Gun Hill and enjoying the lovely views across to the Roaches and Tittesworth Water. At Oldhay Top the path turns right back up the hill. After a short climb you join another path. Turn right and follow the path until it reaches the driveway where you turn left and follow the track down to the road. Turn right and right again and you have joined up with the lane at the top of Toft Hall driveway. This you will find about quarter of a mile along on the left hand side. Turn down our driveway and you are home!
If you want to really blow the cobwebs away. On reaching the other side of Gun Hill past Cliff Hollins turn down the hill towards Turners Pool. You’ll need the map for this (no space here for the full directions – sorry!) but follow the paths up onto The Roaches, along to Luds Church, past Hanging Stone along to Danebridge and then back to Toft Hall.
If you prefer to go ‘down dale’ rather than ‘up hill’. Leave Toft Hall via the same path as the instructions above and cross the same first few fields. When you reach Hawksley Farm turn left down the concrete track. This leads you on a lovely non-muddy path right down towards the River Dane. At Gig Hall take the footpath to the left of the house and cross the pretty little brook on the wooden bridge.
On the other side walk up the hill and across the field, passing a farmhouse and along a small lane until you reach Heaton village. Turn off this lane to your left and continue through the tiny village until you see the farm buildings in the photo above on your left hand side. Go between these buildings and the footpath from here takes you straight back across the fields to Toft Hall arriving at the gate at the bottom of our courtyard (this walk takes approximately one hour at a leisurely pace). PLEASE FOLLOW THE COUNTRYSIDE CODE AND HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME!
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