Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rowsley, Stanton Woodhouse, Stanton Moor, Darley Bridge and Darley Dale.

I'm quite impressed with my new camera; it's easy to use and takes very clear pictures with very naturalistic colour rendering. The photographs I've included with this blog post were taken with it - I had a few problems with re-sizing the images though so that they're suitable for uploading to the blog server.

Today's walk began at Rowsley: by the way, I've finally checked online for the correct pronunciation...and it's 'Roseley.'

I crossed over the River Derwent, then took the lane with the bridge over the River Wye, then continued along the track leading towards Stanton Woodhouse. This section is initially level and easy-going, but then gradually starts to ascend out of the valley. There are some lovely views here, looking northwards along this stretch of the Derwent Valley, and westwards towards wooded hillsides; and the lighting conditions were just about perfect. This is where the banner photograph was taken; and many more, as I experimented with various settings and functions on the camera.

The hamlet of Stanton Woodhouse clusters around a small manor house and is quite isolated, and beyond this point the walk continues through heathland interspersed with copses.

The weather was lovely all day, and very mild for the time of year. By this stage I had already realised I was wearing too many layers of clothing, but there was really nothing I could do about it...but sweat. I was glad of my isotonic drink though. On the label it said it was 'mixed berries flavour;' but on the list of ingredients the only natural ingredients I could find were extracts of black carrots and hibiscus - two flavours I 've not tried before. The drink was pleasant enough though.

The next photograph was taken as I was looking back towards Stanton Woodhouse.

I had to climb a bit to reach the road, then took a path past some old quarry buildings and continued up through woodland to eventually reach the eastern edge of Stanton Moor.

I soon reached the Reform, or Earl Grey Tower, which is merely a nineteenth century folly, built to provide work for local labourers I think. I walked for another fifteen minutes or so and came down off the moor just to the east of Birchover.

I could already see the footpath sign indicating where I was going next, downhill across a camping and caravanning site, which was empty; maybe even closed for the season.

Next I re-traced the route of part of an earlier walk, in the opposite direction though, to reach Darley Bridge and then Darley Dale.

I had about fifty minutes to wait for the next bus and so popped into one of the shops for something to eat, which I ate whilst sitting on a bench. It was still nearly half an hour for the next Sheffield bus as I crossed the road to go and wait for it; however a bus that was going to Bakewell arrived, so I got on and arrived just in time to catch the Sheffield bus from there, (a different service) just as the last passenger to get on was paying his fare.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Hucklow, Bretton, Eyam, Stoney Middleton and Calver.

Today has ended up being an expensive day for me; I broke my camera. I cracked the viewfinder screen, but wasn't aware of doing it at the time. Even though there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground, I certainly didn't fall over or bump into anything; the only thing that I can think must have caused it is when I was climbing over a stile or squeezing through a gap in a wall. I shall have to buy a new camera before my next walk: it will be an inexpensive one though, because there's a fair chance that I'll end up breaking that too.

The walk began at Great Hucklow with partially overcast skies and the threat of snow, which never actually arrived though, and within an hour I was enjoying uninterrupted sunshine.

I walked along the road in an easterly direction towards the gliding club and Bretton, then taking the track that leads to Bradshaw Lane. After only walking a few yards along the track I noticed some substantial ruins of a group of stone buildings. To me it looked as though it could be the site of an old mine; the location certainly deserved an information board and a seat.

The lane leads onto the road which goes to the hamlet of Bretton; just a pub, a closed-down youth hostel and a few farms. I then headed northwards and walked towards Bretton Clough, the views from here were spectacular with woodland in the foreground and the snow-capped hills of the northern Peak District in the distance. The photograph I've actually selected was taken from a bit further along the walk though; looking towards Stanage Edge.

And then a bit further...

I didn't descend into the clough, I chose a path which stayed on higher ground and looped around to cross Eyam Moor, arriving on Sir William Hill Road just to the east of the transmitter.

I then walked down the road into Eyam, calling at Mompesson's Well. I took a couple of photographs of the information board, but I was casting a shadow onto it and the problems with brightness and contrast makes it difficult to read the text - so I haven't posted the details, which should be easy enough to research online.

The last few yards down into the village were through woodland, and then, after a couple of hours with no problems on the moors, I was struggling with the slippery roads and pavements as I headed towards the tea shop for something to eat.

I tried to time my departure to make sure I'd not miss my bus at Calver. The footpath to Stoney Middleton has some lovely views; it was at this point that I discovered that my camera was broken. I could still take photographs with it, but couldn't see what I was taking.

Finally, I  needed to jog part of the last mile along the road into Calver; the bus was a few minutes late though.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Calton Lees, Beeley Hilltop, Robin Hood and Baslow.

I glimpsed my first snow of the winter today: as I was sitting on the bus travelling across the moors towards Fox House the sunlight was illuminating the remnants of last week's snowfall on the higher ground of Kinder Scout and the Great Ridge. There was, however, no snow underfoot where I was walking today; it was just a bit frosty and icy.

I got off the bus just beyond Calton Lees and walked up the lane to Beeley Hilltop. The sun was at just the right angle to light up the countryside and cast dramatic shadows in the direction of Chatsworth Park. This photograph was taken looking towards Edensor Church.

Not far beyond Beeley Hilltop the lane deteriorates and becomes nothing more than a bridleway. After about a mile I reached the boundary of access land and walked across Beeley Moor towards Hob Hurst's House. The site is very disappointing, but the information board explains everything.

It was then a steady descent along the western fringe of Gibbet Moor. The Chesterfield road soon came into view and I noticed a footpath sign. When I was close enough to read it, it was going in the direction of Robin Hood. The footpath wasn't marked on the map, but it was well established and so I decided to follow it.

I was aware that there was quite a substantial beck at the bottom of the valley, just below and before the road. No footbridge or even stepping stones were indicated, but I wasn't concerned because these features quite often don't appear on Ordnance Survey maps.

When the path reached the beck it continued following the bank, becoming quite overgrown in places. It wasn't long until I could see the Robin Hood Inn, just a few yards away; but I couldn't reach it because a deep ditch, a fast flowing beck, a tall drystone wall with what looked to be barbed wire on top...and a road, were all in the way.

I had planned to continue beyond Robin Hood and visit Nelson's Monument and the Three Ships rocks on Birchen Edge and eventually finishing the walk at Calver. Obviously I needed to change my plan; the weather had become cloudy by now and a few degrees colder than when I set off, and so I decided to continue towards the northern perimeter of Chatsworth Park and then catch the bus at Baslow Nether End.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shatton, Abney Moor, Leadmill and Hathersage.

Today the weather was showery and windy, as forecast. This didn't spoil my walk though, it's all part of the outdoors experience. What did spoil my walk though was when the elastic in my underpants snapped, causing me to feel a bit uncomfortable - if I'd had a pair of scissors or a knife in my rucksack I would have cut them free.

I got off the bus at the end of Shatton Lane and walked through the village, seeing it in its entirety for the first time. Just before the deep ford I turned left and walked up the byway  that leads to the transmitter on Shatton Edge. On a much clearer day than today there are gorgeous views from along this part of the route.

A few minutes after passing the transmitter I took the path that leads across Abney Moor, a route I don't remember ever having walked previously. Enjoying the bleakness of the moor and the rushing wind I just wandered aimlessly, following sheep runs and occasionally, footpaths I suppose.

After a while I headed for the highest point and could work out exactly where I was - just above Offerton Hall. I found the path that leads down to the country lane and then descended further across fields towards the River Derwent. I had noticed earlier that all of the becks seemed to be in spate, and when I reached the river, the option of taking the short route back to Hathersage by crossing over the stepping stones wasn't viable at you can see. They were actually several inches under water.

So...I followed the river downstream to Leadmill, then walked across the fields to Hathersage, where I popped into the café for a meal consisting of eggs, sausages and chips. I wasn't that impressed; the service was slow and the portions small. The small portions meant that I didn't have to rush too much in order to make sure that I didn't miss the bus.