Downs Banks - Oulton Heath, Stone, Staffordshire, England, UK.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Poole/Freeman
N 52° 55.562 W 002° 08.987
30U E 557155 N 5864380
Quick Description: Downs Banks is an area of open countryside owned and managed by the National Trust and located at Oulton Heath near Stone in Staffordshire.
Location: West Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/11/2018 6:11:17 AM
Waymark Code: WMXX37
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 3

Long Description:
Downs Banks is an area of open countryside, that is owned and managed by the National Trust. The area is located two miles (3 km) north of the town of Stone in Staffordshire, and four miles (6 km) south of the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The property is also known as 'Barlaston Downs'.
A map located at the car park shows pathways that cross the area and it is mounted on a board that also gives some information about the location.

Downs Banks covers an area of about 166 acres (67 ha), and consists of woodland, heath, and a glaciated valley with a stream, the Downs Banks Brook, that runs the length of the property from North to South.

The site is 'open access' on foot to all and is a popular site with dog walkers. As well as footpaths there is also a waymarked bridleway which may be used with care by horse riders and cyclists.
The site is sometimes used by the Potteries Orienteering Club, and before them was used by the Walton Chasers since the 1950s.
An all-ability trail, that is suitable for rugged wheelchairs and pushchairs, is a 1½ mile route on well-surfaced paths that take you alongside Downs Banks stream. Benches are available at regular intervals on many of the longer and steeper paths.

In the 18th century a farm on Downs Bank grew hops for Joule's Brewery, who rented it from Viscount Sidmouth. Hops growing on Downs Bank continued until the 1940s, and there was also cattle grazing until 1959.
The area was subject to purchase with the help of a public subscription and it was given to the National Trust by John Joule in 1950, as... "an offering for victory in the 1939-45 War, and as a memorial to those who died" - apparently on the grounds that it had originally been common land, and should thus be open again to local people. However, after 1950 the lack of grazing caused its characteristic heathland to decline, as bracken and birch were allowed to invade.

There are far-reaching views from the highest point on the Downs. The Millennium Viewpoint is a rock pillar that stands at the highest point where there are far reaching views on a clear day. A toposcope (a disc of metal sight-lines/landmarks) is embedded in the top of it and shows you what landmarks can be seen in the distance.

The area was well known to the author Mary Renault, whose parents moved to live nearby in the early 1930s. It was also part of the route of the annual New Year's Eve Barlaston Wassail, in which a torch lit procession walked from the nearby village to Downs Banks and back again.
Source: (visit link)
Source: Downs Banks Website, (visit link)
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The address of property, including Postcode.:
Washdale Lane, Oulton Heath, Near Stone, Staffordshire, England, UK. ST15 8UU

The charges to visitors and opening hours.:
Free Dawn to dusk

Web page: [Web Link]

National Trust member: no

Parking place (optional): Not Listed

References: Not listed

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