Winnies Walks – Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses.

A 4km circular walk in the South Staffordshire countryside.

Winnie is a Jack Russell cross Poodle who loves nothing more than putting on her harness and heading off to pastures new to explore with her pal Boo.

Winnies Walks are a series of short walks for little legs on varied terrain – from beach strolls to mountain scrambles. We will talk you through each walk from a dogs eye view. (Winnies comments appear in italic type and are useful considerations for your pooch) Sometimes accompanied by photos or video footage, we will concentrate on describing terrain and points of interest, as well as they all important pit stops for drinks and biscuits!

From the road side car park, and with the sign post to the Rock Houses to your left, walk across an open sandy space to pick up one of the shared paths highlighted by a purple arrow. We will visit these ancient dwellings at the end of our walk.
Follow the highlighted route until you reach what looks like a mini adventure playground. These log built obstacles are great fun for your dog if they do agility, this could be a playstop for them! (When you said I needed to practice the see saw Boo- I didn’t expect this!)
Continue walking on the wooded lower slopes of Kinver Edge. The path is uneven in places and good footwear for humans is needed – and sure footedness for our four legged friends as the sandstone can be slippery. (If your canine companion likes chasing squirrels you might want to keep an eye on them here. I keep telling Boo is a fruitless exercise but he doesn’t listen. Sigh – Boys!)
The path meanders through the dappled shade combining twists and turns with gradients up and down until you arrive at a spectacular outcrop of red sandstone called Nannies Rock. Time for some exploring but watch your footing.  Wind, rain and the human hand have sculpted this outcrop into caves and stunning shapes. Over the years visitors have added their mark too. (I’ll watch from the outside – it looks a bit scary in there)
Once you’ve explored some of the human handiwork, continue to follow the path which reaches a Y junction a few hundred yards ahead. You have two choices, to continue to follow the lower route to another feature – Vales Rock or take a left turn up the slop and climb up onto the Edge itself. (Deffo scary – I’m off)
At the top you join the Staffordshire Way, a long distance footpath from Mow Cop castle in the north to Kinver where it joins the North Worcestershire Path. There is a bench at the top of this short hill – a welcome resting place after the climb. ( I’m not surprised that you’re thirsty Boo, you’ve run three times the distance that I’ve walked – I keep telling you – forget the squirrels!)
Follow the Staffs Way path to the left. The path widens considerably and views can be seen as the woodland thins and opens out to extensive upland heath. You are now walking along the Edge itself. The path here resembles a cobbled path with pebbles – called Bunter Beds – embedded in the sandstone from the Triassic Era when this part of the country was under the sea. Hard to imagine now as we 164m up! (Looks like a beach to me!)
After a while you come across the Trig point. Continue to follow the path that proffers views on both sides of stunning rolling countryside of Worcestershire and West Midlands.
A short distance from the trig point there is a kissing gate. You are now entering cattle country. English Longhorn cattle are used to graze the lower slopes on the side to maintain the heathland.  A few hundred meters on you encounter another ancient site – a hill fort from the Iron age. You can still clearly see the surrounding banks. (Those cows are BIG! No wonder the sign says keep dogs on leads)
The path now resembles a runway in size as it comes to the end of the Edge which is marked with a toposcope and is the best view point to see the surrounding countryside and nearby hills. The toposcope map shows points of interest in all directions. (Hmm, I think you would be hard pressed to see Edinburgh even on the clearest of days!)
From here there are two paths that will take you down the slope – take the left hand path which drops steeply to the valley below so has a series of steps to aid a safe decent. (Biscuit stop soon!)
At a clearing at the bottom, take the left hand path which immediately forks into two – you need the upper track to take you down to the Rock Houses.   The first restored Rock House you reach is the café. A little further down the path is the reception where you can purchase you ticket to the site and view all restored Rock Houses. These Rock Houses were dwellings for folk as far back as the 1770s, with the last families moving out in the 1960s. They have been restored to show what life was like in the 1930s. The site is well worth a visit as you can explore these unique cave homes and experience the daily life for these residents – including the outside privy! (Ahh, we’re not allowed in Boo, but there’s a nice place out here to sit)


As with all Winnies walks we end with a well earned cup of tea and cake. You can get refreshments here at the NT tea shop or take a short drive into Kinver Village itself to the dog friendly ‘Olde House Tea Rooms’ in the High Street. Once you are suitably refreshed, shopping opportunities abound here in the quirky village shops and the floral displays show why Kinver is a multi winner of the Best kept Village competition. Enjoy!

Paw note:

Kinver Rock Houses are open 11.00am – 4.00pm on Thursday Friday and Saturday and all through the school holidays.

Kinver Edge can be accessed all year from dawn to dusk. For more information visit Kniver Edge and the Rockhouses National Trust webpage.

To download a printable version of this walk Click here.