Just fifteen minutes from the Barn at Ivy House Farm is the Churnet Valley Railway, offering a 10.5 mile steam-powered journey through Staffordshire’s hidden valley.
This is a lovely outing for both old and young alike, but beware questions from the children that may make any adults feel truly ancient – for example: What’s that? – pointing at the vintage, rotary dial telephone!
We were fortunate to have been given a family ticket as a prize for a colouring competition and set off to Cheddleton, somewhat sceptical about whether our 12-year old gadget loving son and 9-year old daughter would enjoy a steam train.
Having parked the car, we enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee at the immaculately kept station, only just about managing to resist the delicious looking home-made cakes. We then set off on our journey through countryside that is barely visible by any means other than the train.
The steam train ambled along through Consall, along the canal, past the lime kilns and onto Kingsley and Froghall station. Had we had more time, we could have left the train at any of the stations and enjoyed more of the countryside, flint mines and possibly lunch at the Black Lion pub, but on this occasion, we stayed on the train there and back.
We all (children included) loved our trip into yesteryear and it prompted many questions about steam power from the children and brought back many memories for the grownups.
Highlights of the trip: getting really close to the steam engine, watching it being loaded with coal, and finally the lovely volunteer staff who played their roles –ticket collector, station manager etc – with true authenticity.