The Villages

toothil-rockThe villages of Alton and Farley and surrounding hamlets of Bradley-in-the-Moors, Threapwood and Ramshorn lie to the south of the Weaver Hills in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The landscape is varied from moorland to the steep sided River Churnet Valley with its sandstone outcrops; there are lush pastures, ancient woodland and tumbling streams.

To the south of the River Churnet is Alton village with a population of about 1200 and to the north-west the small estate village of Farley, with the elegant Farley Hall; nearby is Wootton Lodge, also part of the JCB estate. Both Farley and Alton have dramatic views across the valley. Between them is the world famous theme park of Alton Towers with its jaw-dropping rides, extensive gardens and hotels, surprisingly well hidden in its woodland setting of the old Alton Abbey, once owned by the Earls of Shrewsbury.

alton-staffordshire-open-gardens-2In the Churnet valley there are beautiful walks, bridleways and cycle trails through the woodlands, alongside the lakes of Dimmingsdale, through the Wootton Estate and on the old railway track running the length of the valley. There are particularly spectacular views of the valley and villages from the rocky outcrops of Toothill and Rainroach Rocks. The Pugin masterpiece of Alton Castle, now a Catholic Youth Centre towers over the valley looking more like a Rhineland Castle – no wonder the valley is sometimes referred to as Staffordshire’s “Little Switzerland”.

Alton has a good range of facilities with a couple of shops, a Post Office and Newsagent, a Hairdresser and St Peter’s First School. If you need to wet your whistle there are a number of hostelries both in the village and close by – although sadly not as many as there once were – the High Street alone used to be home to 4 pubs!

In the centre of Alton village is the distinctive Round House – seen as our website logo – and once the village lock-up. There are three historic churches in Alton – St. Peter’s and St John’s at the heart of the village as well as the unique little Methodist chapel with its historic connections to Hugh Bourne. Bradley has its own church of St Leonard sitting in a beautiful spot and accessed through the garden of the neighbouring cottage! Ramshorn too has a Primitive Methodist Chapel, now in private ownership but used occasionally as a meeting room.

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Alton has a large, well used Village Hall with facilities for up to 200 people that is available for hire and hosts a range of regular clubs and activities ranging from Rainbows to W.I. and Short Mat Bowls to Parish Council Meetings. There are also exhibitions, musical evenings, quizzes and race nights. The village and surrounding area has excellent eateries, ranging from gourmet dining to good solid pub-grub, as well as plenty of places to stay in Bed and Breakfast and self-catering accommodation and campsites.

If you explore this web site you will find information on these attractions and facilities, photos of the area and lots more besides, there is also a Facebook page Alton in the Staffordshire Moorlands where discussions, events, news and photos are welcome. Come to visit the area and we know that you will be made very welcome and hope that you will find it beautiful and interesting – we love it and hope that you will too! If you find anything you would like to share with others that is not listed here do get in touch with us.