Thursday 22 September 2011


There's a flint mill at Cheddleton. The book said it opened from 1 to 4, so in the morning we climbed the hill into the village, went in the church, looked at the war memorial and found our way to the tea rooms / art and gift gallery. The girl behind the counter told us the coffee machine was broken so it would have to be instant. She had a very nice filter gizmo but didn't know how to use it. A crash course ensued, followed by some excellent coffee – and a cheese-filled Staffordshire oatcake (they are yummy!).

Meanwhile, two police officers followed us in, and ordered extremely large breakfasts. They were doing an advanced motorcycle course – Steve the instructor and Mark the trainee. Steve regaled us with stories of his parents' fifteen years living on a narrowboat, while Mark talked of his motorhome travels to France and Sweden and the outdoor things he had done with his girls as they grew up. We never did work out how breakfast fitted into their day – whether it was to combat the rigours of riding, to adjust the centre of gravity on the bikes, or just a bit of male bonding.

At 1 p.m. we went down to the flint mill, only to find that it was open mostly just at weekends, so we wandered around the buildings reading the plaques, and then set out for Consall Forge. More industrial heritage there in the shape of a lime kiln built into the hillside alongside the canal. The courses of its buttressed stone wall rise up about 40 feet, with four bricked-up arches at the base. Made a lot of money for its owners in the early 1800s.

The Black Lion at Consall Forge featured in CountryFile last Sunday. It has a wonderful location and a lot of character, but has to make enough during the summer season to last through the winter in this now isolated spot. Since the Churnet Valley Railway runs between the pub and the canal and during the season delivers 100 visitors every half hour, the numbers add up so far. It had a few locals in when we went there for our second course tonight – bread and butter pudding for my best beloved since my aversion to this delicacy means she never gets to make it at home. Crumble for me, freshly made with appples and pears from the trees at the bottom of the garden. More yummy!
The Black Lion

Erin Mae at Consall Forge


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