Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Darley Dale, Darley Bridge, Birchover, Alport and Bakewell.



At the end of next month many bus services in the Peak District are likely to be cut back due to Derbyshire County Council reducing its level of subsidy. I read online that services to Matlock could be particularly adversely affected; so that's why I chose today's walk...Darley Dale is only about three miles from Matlock.  

I got off at the parade of shops at Darley Dale; which turned out to be a couple of stops short of where I needed to be. So, I just walked down the road towards Matlock, past the church and park and then turned down the road towards Darley Dale; walking over the level crossing  next to the railway station on the Peak Rail heritage line.

After crossing over a pretty stone bridge over the River Derwent at Darley Bridge I continued along a lane towards Birchover, which then petered out into a track; the section through woodland being one of the few climbs on this walk.

I soon entered open country, with expansive views to the left down into the valley, and more pastoral views over to the right. I reached a farm which had a sign prominently sited which stated something like 'Danger. Wild animals. Do not Approach. Keep to Footpath.'

I was intrigued and wondered what it might refer to; all I could see were some chickens. Then...it happened. I'd just passed some farm buildings when only a few yards away, standing leaning over a gate, right next to the footpath, was an ostrich which was taller than me. I didn't approach it to take a photograph.

The route I'd chosen skirted to the south of Birchover,  going by a detached part of the village where it looked like a few council houses had been built.

I then walked along the road to the pretty hamlet of Eagle Tor, then continued for a few hundred yards further before taking the footpath leading towards Youlgreave; sometimes spelled and pronounced 'Youlgrave' by locals.

Yet again I didn't enter the village, denying myself the opportunity of welcome refreshments. I turned right into Bradford Dale; a short, but pretty dale which leads to Alport.



From Alport I walked along the right bank of the River Lathkill, climbed up through the woods to reach Haddon Fields and followed easy-going paths right back to Bakewell; arriving in plenty of time for the bus.

The bus was only a small bus, with a seating capacity of about  thirty I suppose. It was already quite full, having travelled from Buxton, and after picking up its passengers at Bakewell it was full to capacity, with several people having to stand all the way to Sheffield. I was fortunate to get a seat, but as some people moved down the bus to get off, I pulled a couple of muscles trying to move my feet out of the way.