Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sprotbrough, Barnburgh, and Goldthorpe

After a night out in Leeds with friends it was only ever going to be a local walk today.

I caught the earliest available bus to Sprotbrough and took some photographs in the village; needing to be at the bus station for 9:30 really wasn't that early though.

I've never seen it flooded near the church before.

There were some nice views as I took the footpath that continues from the end of Boat Lane going up through the woods - obviously nowhere looks its best at this time of year when the weather's a bit miserable.

The constant noise made by some people most likely shooting in Steetley Quarry over to my left was echoing up and down the Don Gorge and really spoiled my enjoyment of the walk along this section.

I spent quite a while exploring areas of the woods and the old railway cutting that I hadn't been to previously before getting back down to the river; unsurprisingly the water level of the Don was very high today.

I walked along the TransPennine Trail alongside the River Don for just over half a mile before I climbed up the path at the base of the supporting pillars of Conisbrough Viaduct up to the disused railway at the top. I didn't go over the viaduct, instead I walked in the opposite direction, heading west.

After about a mile I branched off and was then on the Dearne Way, another long-distance footpath, which I stayed with until I reached just south of Harlington. The River Dearne was also very high; it was very windy walking along the top of the levee.

Without planning to I ended up going to the memorial placed at the site of Barnburgh Main Colliery; it just looked like an interesting way to go - my map is over thirty years old and so none of the landscaped former colliery sites existed then.

I ended the day by walking down the Green Lane area of Barnburgh and then continued along the road to the bus stop at Goldthorpe. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Carburton, Clumber Park, Hardwick, Elkesley, and Retford

The aim of today's themed walk has been to cross over as many different rivers as possible, and I should have managed four.

I was aware that the River Poulter, the Idle, the Maun, and the Meden all converge within a very small area about four miles south of Retford. I managed to plan a walk that started at Carburton Cottages, and got there by catching the Sherwood Arrow bus from Worksop. 

I got off the bus on the main road and walked down a footpath; I needed to climb over a chained gate right at the start of this path though. I knew it was the path because the public footpath fingerpost sign was only a couple of feet from where I was standing as I checked the map. Carburton is only a hamlet, it does have a church though, although it looks like it's no longer consecrated.

I then briefly walked along a country road for a few hundred yards until I entered Clumber Park through the western gate. Before that though I'd crossed over the River Poulter for the first time today - I noticed that the level of the water was high.

The pretty stone bridge in the park was being rebuilt but pedestrians are still able to use it - this was my second crossing of the Poulter. I stuck to the southern shore of Clumber Lake, therefore not going near the toilets, the tearooms, the visitor centre, or the chapel...I did pass this small folly though. 

I'd not visited  the main part of Hardwick Village before but I have used the public toilets there when walking round the lake. I certainly don't remember there being a small art gallery in one of the corners of the gents'.

Hardwick is the Clumber estate village; I spent a few minutes exploring before heading off east towards Elkesley.

I passed to the south of Elkesley and then had to turn to the south to cross over the Poulter again and then both the Meden and Maun in quick succession. I got over the footbridge without any problems, but when I reached the other side this is what I saw.

I couldn't judge how deep the water was, and didn't want to find out so I retreated into Elkesley and then had to walk the next four miles along the road to Retford. There's only the one safe crossing over the busy A1 trunkroad, and that's at Elkesley; Gamston airfield is also nearby and that made access to both Gamston and Eaton difficult too...going straight back to Retford was the easiest option.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Great Hucklow, Windmill, Castleton, and Hope

Today should have been another one of my themed walks, visiting as many old lead mine rakes as I could manage. I'd got my route all worked out and was well under way, at least a couple of miles into the walk before I realised that I'd forgotten my map, I'd left it at home. I knew the area well and so there was no danger that I'd get lost, but I couldn't remember the exact route I'd worked out with all the detours and diversions to reach, or get as close as I could to the rakes. So...I didn't try, I just continued heading in the general direction of Castleton.

By the way, just out of interest, a rake is a term used to describe a linear feature in the landscape caused by old leadmining practices, consisting of a trench and small spoilheaps at either side.

Channel 5 was filming a documentary as I was travelling on the train to Sheffield this morning; I didn't see any interesting or dramatic interactions or confrontations though which would appear in the final edit.

I travelled to Great Hucklow on the bus and walked along the path that runs parallel to the road heading westwards, never being more than a few yards from it. Most of the land here is an old rake; I don't know its name though - it might be an extension of the first rake marked on the map that I visited, High Rake.

I soon reached the hamlet of Windmill and carried on walking down the road until I arrived at the remains of High Rake Mine and the start of High Rake. It was a misty day and not very suited to landscape photography, so I tried something a bit different at a farm just beyond Windmill...maybe there's art and beauty in neglect, dereliction, and decay.

The footpath follows the rake for a while until it reaches a minor road. On the other side of the road was my second rake of the day, Tideslow Rake, the best example in the Peak District. At the far end of this rake there's a location called Whiterake, but there was nothing obvious to be see: it was at this point that I realised I'd forgotten my map.


A few minutes later I spotted a fox running across the road and further on I noticed a couple of llamas in a nearby field and then a hare jumped out in front of me.

I couldn't see any snow up on the summit of Mam Tor or along the Great Ridge yet there was still this remnant left of a deep drift which must have formed up against the wall.

As I progressed and Mam Tor moved out of the way I noticed some larger patches of snow in the distance on the flank of Kinder Scout, which is higher ground. 

After checking the map when I got home I can confirm that I'd passed within a hundred yards of Oxlow Rake, I got a good view of it.

I chose the route going down Winnats Pass to get to Castleton; it's not the shortest, but was probably the least muddy.

Three o'clock is the one hour during the day, on schooldays, when there's not a bus that goes to Sheffield from Castleton, however one leaves from Hope College at 3:40 and it's only a short walk along the road to get there. 

I had plenty of time.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Bakewell, Congreave, Rowsley, Stanton Woodhouse, Stanton Lees, Warrencarr, Darley Bridge, and Dimple

Because it's been quite windy today I've chosen to do a low level walk in  the Peak District from Bakewell to just north of Matlock.

I started by walking to the Agricultural Business Centre in Bakewell and took the path leading approximately southwards which stays pretty close to the River Wye as I headed downstream.

It was flooded in places down by the river, fortunately the footpath surface here is gravel under the water.

At Haddon Hall I walked along the A6  road for a few hundred yards until I joined the minor road leading uphill to Congreave, nothing more than a hamlet.

[It hadn't been a very productive session for the local molecatcher - there are only six dead moles hanging on the wire fence]

I then walked across the fields on a footpath going back down to the river at Rowsley; the Wye joins the Derwent here.

I then headed south, staying parallel to the Derwent, but mostly out of sight of the river, passing through Stanton Woodhouse and Stanton Lees.

Just after passing through Stanton Lees I was distracted by an annoying constant clicking sound for several minutes as I was walking down the road. It must have been an electric fence, there was nothing else there that I could see. I've never known electric fences make a noise before though, so maybe it was actually something else.

The next section of the walk, passing right next to the Enthoven recycling facility was rather unattractive, but Darley Bridge, the next place I reached is pleasant. I crossed over the river here and continued towards the footpath that goes alongside the tracks of the heritage railway for a couple of miles before popping up on the main road that heads north out of Matlock, at a place called Dimple.

This footbridge had been partially destroyed and almost washed away by the floodwaters - it was leaning at an angle of forty five degrees and its foundations had been undermined, having been separated from their anchor points on both river banks, but it seemed sturdy enough and so I risked crossing it, humming the Indiana Jones theme tune for good luck as I cautiously inched forward, holding on to whatever piece of the structure I could grab. The bridge was wobbling, swaying, and bouncing up and down with every step I took and I only looked down once at the deep fast-flowing water ten foot beneath me.

There are plenty of buses going back to Bakewell from Dimple, where I finished the walk, and I didn't have long to wait for one.

Monday, February 10, 2020

X71 Timetable

Hulley's have just published the timetable for the new forthcoming bus service going to Hanley from Sheffield. It's a weekend and bank holidays only service and only one bus goes all the way over to Hanley. Nonetheless I will be able to take advantage of this route to travel towards Alton Towers and reach some very nice walking country from there and the intermediate stops en route. The intermediate stops and full route haven't been published yet...apart from Hartington, but Dovedale and the Manifold Valley should be reachable and areas further south such as the pretty estate village of Osmaston and the ruins of Croxden Abbey.

The morning departure from Sheffield on a Saturday is at 0840, that won't be a problem for me but the Sunday departure is at the same time and my train from Doncaster isn't scheduled to arrive at Sheffield until 0838 so I'll probably miss the bus more weeks than I'll catch it and so will need an alternative walk planned.

When full details are available I'll be able to start making my plans...I'm really looking forward to my walks in the southern parts of the Peak District and beyond, this summer.


The full timetable has now been published:

I'm glad that the bus is stopping at Hulme End on its way to Alton Towers - it's a good spot for accessing the Manifold Valley.