Day 22 - Penkridge to Abbot's Bromley
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Our route departed Penkridge via the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. We observed a narrowboat in the Parkgate lock Over the lock was a dinky little bridge with well-worn steps down to access the footpath ahead. It made one wonder how many feet had gone down the footpath and for what reason they had passed that way.
Moving on across open fields we have to say the Staffordshire Way was very well marked, despite all we'd read when researching this project. We then joined the canal again and followed it for around 8km, circumnavigating Shugborough estate. We took a side visit to view the delightful Essex Bridge - the longest packhorse bridge in England with 14 arches - which leads from the river Trent to Shugborough Hall. In a beautiful setting, the house is now in the care of the National Trust though Lord Litchfield (Patrick, the royal photographer) still resides in part of the house.
From here we continued on the Trent and Mersey canal to Colton, then on a succession of field paths and farm lanes, past the southern end of Blithsfield Reservoir and into Abbot's Bromley.
33km covered at an average speed of 5.8km per hour - a great day, we were well chuffed!