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Dog on a walk
This is a perfect walk to explore with your dog | © National Trust Images / John Millar
Shropshire & Staffordshire

Downs Banks dog walk

Take a little exercise with your dog and enjoy the fresh air on this 1.5-mile (2.4km) route alongside the stream, or if you're both feeling energetic, add half a mile (0.8km) more and climb uphill for fantastic panoramic views.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

National Trust Downs Banks car park, grid ref: SJ900365

Step 1

Head south out of the car park and turn right on to Wash Dale Lane. Keep your dog on a lead for now in case of traffic.

Step 2

Carry on for a short distance until reaching the stream. Cross the footbridge and turn right into the woods. (If your dog is safe around people, other dogs and wildlife, you may wish to let it off its lead here.) This babbling stream runs the length of Downs Banks along a serene rolling valley. Keep your eyes open and you may see the fantastic blue flash of a kingfisher.

Step 3

Follow this path along beside the water's edge all the way to another footbridge and cross the stream again. (This is the last chance for dogs to paddle.)

Step 4

Once over the stream follow the path to a set of steps down one bank and up the other side. This hilly area was once the site of an ancient watermill. You now have two choices: turn right and take the shorter, flatter route along the valley bottom, back to the car park (the dashed line on the map), or follow the Ridge Path up a steep hill to the highest viewpoint at Downs Banks.

Step 5

If you choose to go uphill, follow a path that rises sharply ahead of you. There are benches on the way to the top, so take a rest any time you like.

Step 6

Pass the Millennium Monument and stay on the same route. The Milennium Monument is a rock pillar standing at the highest point on the Downs and shows you what landmarks can be seen in the distance. On a clear day you have marvellous views across the Staffordshire countryside of up to 40 miles (64.3km).

The stone column of Downs Banks's toposcope in the sunshine.
The stone column of Downs Banks's toposcope in the sunshine | © Rod Whiteman/National Trust

Step 7

When you reach a fence, turn right and follow the path through a gate. Once through the gate head straight on, back into woodland. Continue down steps along a wooded valley.

Step 8

When you reach Wash Dale Lane again, put your dog onto their lead and turn right onto the lane. The car park where you started will soon appear on your right.

End point

National Trust Downs Banks car park, grid ref: SJ900365

Trail map

Map route for Downs Banks dog walk
Map route for Downs Banks dog walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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