Local Walk - Circular
This walk is just over 4 miles in length, so allow 1½ hours for a leisurely walk. It takes in quiet lanes and field paths and passes by three old Halls. In winter, one section near Oakley can be a little wet underfoot.
From the centre of the village, walk up the road signposted to Audlem, past Griffin Close on your left, and turn up a drive just past the next house on the left. This leads to a field, with a small gate. Go through the gate and cross the field behind some bungalows which front onto Griffin Close, and go through the ‘kissing gate’ on the far side of the field. Turn right up the lane.
You stay on this lane for about ¾ mile. It is fairly quiet, but watch out for fast moving tractors. The lane passes the drive to Brand Hall, a Georgian Country House that can be glimpsed through the parkland. Then passing the buttresses of an old railway bridge (the railway opened in 1860), turn left and cross a stile into a field.
Cross the field diagonally and go over a ditch. Once over the bridge, change course slightly for a tree on the skyline at the far side of the field. Pass through the small gate into the next field.
Walk up this field parallel to the hedge on your left and another gate soon appears. In the distance hills of Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire can be seen on a clear day. Nearer to hand the hamlet of Ridgwardine can be seen. Through the gate, walk down the hedge line to a gate at the bottom. The hill straight ahead in the far distance is the Wrekin.
Turn left into the lane, soon crossing the old railway line, and continue for about ½ mile as far as the Market Drayton to Norton road at Betton Hall. Taking care of the traffic, turn right for 200 metres and then turn left into another lane. You are now walking towards Oakley. After the second house, Betton Lodge, there is an evergreen hedge at the end of which is a gate into the garden. Cross the lawn on this public footpath, with the river on your right, through the next gate and then strike diagonally up the hill for a few yards to follow the path to the left of some pools. You then come to a footbridge and gate into a field, where you should head towards Oakley Hall, which has now come into view, to the gate by a lake.
Admire the view!
Do not cross the dam, but walk the other way alongside a stonewall up the hill and then head for two trees in the field. Continue uphill and towards the top bear right, to keep the fence line on your left. You are walking on the old road from Norton to Oakley, but only traces remain. Continue along the old track way and small gate appears. Through the gate you are on a‘green lane’ and from up here you look down to the village of Norton. This lane leads into the village. There is a short cut across the corner of the field further or keep on the lane all the way to the end of Forge Lane. From here, continue straight ahead with the village school on your left, to your starting point.