Happy Valley, hills and hideaways
Quiet lanes, stone and grass tracks
Church Pulverbatch Village Hall (Tel:01743 718409). Small donation requested.
Lat/Long: 52.6217786346, -2.8404704017
Our way takes us north through the small hamlets of Wrentnall and Oaks, then on the hedged green lane to Oaks Wood, where an old lane led to Habberley. Earls Hill, formed from volcanic rock, rises majestically above us, its Iron Age hillfort commanding the surrounding countryside. We drop down to ford the brook in Happy Valley, beautiful at all times of the year. A bridleway follows the brook downstream to another ford, and up the steep rocky track to Radlith. We take another steep path out of the valley, past Earl’s Hill Barn. The route skirts the bottom of the adjoining Pontesford Hill, where the spring falls down to the Lydd Hole. Myths and legends abound with tales of dipping your finger in the water to find your future loved one, and of searching for a golden arrow on Pontesford Hill on Palm Sunday.
A Fulling Mill once stood on the Pontesford Brook in the deep valley between Oakswood and Pontesford Hill, later converted into a leather mill. It was known as Skin Mill Cottage in the 19th century, was disused in 1905, and now only its rubble foundations remain.
Ducks now break the mirror surface of tranquil pools.
Pontesford, with its quaint cottages, lay on the route to the lead mines further up the valley. It was once a busy mining area with lead smelting houses. The Nags Head Colliery closed in 1867, with just the Nag’s Head Inn, after which it was named, a reminder of those times. Remains of a mine building can be seen in a cottage to the west of the green lane to Hinton.
It was near here that Humphrey Kynaston was given refuge by family members on his escape from Stretton.