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A large part of this walk is very nice. But an equally large part is not. We start on the canal and potter North along it for a good way. It’s nice. When we leave the canal though, it starts to get less lovely. I’ve nothing against Altofts, but the little alleyways we squeeze down are a bit grimy.

When we finally get out of the town and into the fields, things don’t improve. There are tall metal fences hemming the path in on both sides. It skirts some quarry works, ducks under a pylon and spits us out onto a road that is covered in rubbish. There are no buildings for a good distance in any direction, but half the world has emptied their bins here. It’s grim.

The path next to the railway line is flooded so we take a longer route, into Normantofts. Apparently Queen Victoria stayed here once on a trip to the North. But its mining heyday is long in the past.

We loop back into some woods - where we once met a silent man carrying an axe - and carry on to the edges of the nature reserve. From here, things look up. There are some pretty trees, a high bridge over the river and then we rejoin the canal.


Public car park by the Stanley Ferry pub.


Easy. Mostly flat.