People don’t tend to think a lot of Biddulph – that’s if they even know where it is – but to me, Biddulph is my home and has been for the past 19 years. I’ve lived in the same house on a little estate and watched this little town grow and develop and I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud of the town I live in. Here in Biddulph we have the best of both worlds in terms of countryside and urbanisation. For those of you who don’t know, Biddulph is a little old mining town in the Staffordshire Moorlands, just off the Cheshire boarder. I still like to think myself as more of a Stokie though. We have some absolutely beautiful countryside surrounding us, but also benefit from the developing High Street.
Our High Street used to be ridiculed for its amount of takeaways and hairdressers; but actually we have some great little independent businesses surrounding the mammoth Sainsbury’s, such as The Yard milkshake shop, Off The Rails clothing shop, and of course the well-loved Povey’s Oatcakes.
I’ve compiled a little list of free or inexpensive things to do in and around Biddulph so that you can really appreciate the town more:
- Biddulph Grange Gardens – a beautiful Victorian garden created by James Bateman featuring little themed gardens such as Italy, China, and the Himalayas. It’s a gorgeous walk and there are ample photo opportunities for any wildlife photographers. You can also enjoy the tea room facilities and garden shop. The gardens charge £9.50 entry for adults and £4.75 for children, but they offer group and family discounts too. This National Trust park is a definite must-visit this spring when all the flowers are blossoming!
- Biddulph Grange Country Park – right next to the gardens is a stunning country walk that’s absolutely free. 73 acres of woodland and meadows as well as a beautiful fishing pool. There are so many little hidden gems in this country park, so go and explore! Wheelchair access is quite good due to restored paths and there are plenty of benches dotted about for if people need a rest – you could even take a little picnic.
- Knypersley Reservoir – similar to Biddulph Grange Country Park, this is another free entry countryside walk. The reservoir was built in the 1800’s by James Potter, sadly not Harry Potter’s dad. It’s a prime fishing spot for things like bream, roach and the occasional carp but is also a great little walk; you can even venture a little further into the rest of Greenway Bank Country Park too.
- Biddulph Valley Way – I couldn’t find much information on this one, however I’ve walked the old train line quite a lot. The tracks used to be a line linking Stoke to Congleton for coal runs, but since its discontinuation, it has been tarmacked and is now a lovely straight path to walk, cycle, or horse ride along. It’s nice and shady due to its trees, so you can enjoy the walk even if you’re not a massive fan on the sun, like me. There are a number of entry points, some of which are wheelchair friendly, and a quick google search will show you exactly which ones they are.
- Mow Cop Castle – less than 3 miles away we have Mow Cop Castle, an old folly built in the 1700s. You used to be able to go inside the folly, but there was an incident which meant that they locked the gate; however you can go right up do it and stand on the ridge, looking across Staffordshire and Cheshire for miles. The views are truly breath-taking.
- Biddulph Up In Arms – The Biddulph Arms is more than just a local pub, it is a growing music venue, holding intimate gigs most Wednesdays. Who says you have to travel all the way to Hanley to see local talent? It’s right on our doorstep!
- Festivals – In-keeping with the music theme, there are a few little festivals held in and around the town too, like Biddulph By The Beach, where in summer the High Street is covered with sand and there are little donkey rides and a funfare. On the town hall steps there is a little carnival of dancers and musicians showcasing their talents. Additionally, there is the annual Rock on the Rocks festival held by Biddulph Moor Village Hall, another great music festival. Biddulph By The Beach is free to attend, however there is a small fee for Rock on the Rocks.
- Monthly Artisan Market – an artisan market is held on the High Street on the first Friday of each month from 9am-3pm. The stalls at the market are all local businesses selling a range of food, drink, craft, plants and textiles. It’s a real asset to the town and I think it maintains a little bit of tradition and heritage, alongside the fact we still have a town crier.
- Biddulph Ukulele Group (BUG) – In 2013 a six week ukulele course for beginners was held in Biddulph, from which BUG was born. The group is free to attend and they meet every Thursday at Old Sam’s pub at 7:30-10. It’s open to everyone, and the more experienced players are dedicated to helping the newbies. For the younger ones, there’s a junior ukulele group called ‘buglings’ (how cute is that?).
- Tribe Dance Academy – If you’re looking for a fun way to keep fit or just love to dance, then Laura is at Biddulph High School on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to teach dancers of all ages and abilities. Her classes include street and lyrical as well as teaching teams that will go on to compete in UK dance championships and competitions over the country and has a show coming up this October which her dancers are working towards.
So if you’re from Biddulph, or just fancy a visit to our beautiful little town, then these are the places I recommend. Let me know if there’s something you love to do in Biddulph or its surrounding areas!
*Images are not my own, if you are the copyright owner, please contact me so that I can credit you, as I took these images from Google Image search*