I was able to get an early breakfast and left Penkridge at 8.00. I had a pleasant easy start strolling along the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal before turning east and climbing up to Cannock Chase Forest.
Navigation through the forest was a little problematic due to the plethora of paths and lack of signage. In the end I just took any trail heading east and soon found the Sherbrook Valley.
The route crossed the stepping stones before climbing over the ridge and dropping down to join the Trent and Mersey Canal.
The canal runs parallel to the River Trent down to Rugeley where the Power Station is a landmark.
Having spent about an hour walking south-east when I really wanted to go north-east, the Staffordshire Way finally turned in the required direction. The pubs at Colton were all closed and there are no shops, so I carried on to Stockwell Heath, where I stopped for lunch by a delightful duck pond.
From there the way crossed another ridge and descended to Blithfield Reservoir. The Staffordshire Way takes a circuitous route avoiding crossing the dam.
I think I must be becoming a serial law-breaker, but as I could see lots of cars and people on the dam, I nipped across as well, and reached Abbots Bromley at 2.45.
As I was too early to go to my B&B at Marsh Farm, I took the opportunity to shop for tomorrow’s lunch and check out the route I wanted to take from the farm.
Unfortunately, as the route was not a right of way, my landlady told me that I would probably be stopped and turned back. She then offered to return me to Abbots Bromley in the morning. As I have well over 20 miles to walk to get to Dovedale and the weather is breaking up, plus I do not enjoy walking along busy roads with no pavement, I was happy to accept.