Things to do in Alton, Staffordshire
Alton is on the eastern slopes of the Churnet Valley. It is a large village with a long history encompassing the Romans, Saxons and the Victorians It was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 and consequently has some interesting historic buildings. The village was formerly known as Alverton.
Local legend tells a strange tale of the Earl returning home to Alton Towers in 1821. An old woman stood in the road and stopped his coach. She asked for a coin but the Earl dismissed her and she cursed him.
She claimed that for every branch of the oak tree that fell, a member of the Earl's family would suddenly die. That same night a storm broke off a branch from the oak tree and the very same night a member of the Earl's family died.
To prevent more deaths the Earl had his servants chain up every branch to another for support so no more branches could break off. The oak can still be seen bound by its rusty chains which have now become part of the tree.
Present Day Alton
Alton has a good selection of village shops including some which sell fine porcelain. There is a post office, village hall, three churches and six pubs and restaurants.
The village has many elegant buildings including the Round House and the ruins of a 12th century castle. The Malt House, St Peter's Church and St John's Church are of interest around the village and the small Methodist Church has historic links with Hugh Bourne, one of the founders of Primitive Methodism. Nearby Alton Castle is now a Catholic retreat.
Surrounded by the Staffordshire moorlands and the Derbyshire Peak District, the area around Alton is known for its outstanding natural beauty.
Things to do in Alton
Visit Alton Towers for the day, which is conveniently just a few minutes away. It is known for its thrilling roller coaster rides and family fun and is set in magnificent gardens with a lake.
Seek out the chained oak near the entrance to Alton Towers. The path runs to the left of the driveway to the Chained Oak BB and is a five minute walk.
For walkers and cyclists, Alton is on the Tissington Trail and the Staffordshire Way. There are beautiful walks through the woodland at Dimmingsdale and the along the nearby Churnet Valley.
Other things to do around Alton include paint-balling, cycling, fishing, canoeing, sailing, swimming, horse riding or hill walking in the scenic countryside.
The lovely ancestral home of Chatsworth is within easy reach from Alton, or spend a day at the Uttoxeter Races.