Ina's rock is accessible from the disused railway track bed which is now a popular walking route between Alton and Denstone villages.Ina's rock some 30m high is popular with climbers and is mentioned in the UK climber website. The walking route starts 100m from old Alton Station at a car parking area. We tend to cut off the disused railway some 200m from the car park walking east towards Denstone at a overbridge with white railings and join the old canal footpath which has been recently been renovated by the Canal Society. This route is soft under foot but is magical. The clearing of the dead trees has resulted in the opening up of this ancient route and the thriving of the grown vegetation including bluebells which form a carpet in spring. Look out for the buzzard swooping low over the trees, and the tits chasing one another between the trees. Grey squirrels are also frequently seen racing up and between trees.The distinctive sound of the wood-pecker drumming echos through the valley. Heron are frequently seen visiting the canal ditches.
The old canal forms a 500m footpath to the junction with the north hillside footpath which climbs north east up the valley side. Ina's rock is found 500m up the hillside on the left. What a magnificent sight. The first surprise is the size of the extrusion some 30m above the hillside floor. The next surprise is the 20m pine trees precariously balancing on the top edge of the rock with their roots grasping for hold points in the crevices.Information from the Geotrail web pages explain that large rivers deposited sand and pebbles over the eroded carboniferous formation during the Triassic period. As the highlands lowered, rivers became more meandering and the sands finer grained. These rocks were later to be fractured and faulted by the late Triassic upward earth movements associated with opening up of the Atlantic Ocean. Cross bedding is clearly evident with grit and pebbles sandwiched between bedrock layers of finer sandstone material.
A round trip is possible by continuing past Ina's rock to the top of the hill. A river stream separates the sides of a smaller valley which leads southwards back down the hillside to Bridge 70. This bridge and footpath were also part of the previously mentioned superb conservation works by the canal trust. Turning sharp right once over bridge 70 will return the walker to the disused railway track. Turning right again ( westwards) will take the walker along the route of the the railway track bed and back to Alton Bridge.On turning left ( eastwards) at the disused railway line will take the walker ( east), towards Denstone and the beautiful Denstone Church and award winning Denstone Farm shop.
If anyone is aware of why the rock is called Ina's rock, I would be very interested.