Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blacka Moor, Totley, Holmesfield Common, Horseleygate, and Baslow.

I got off the bus just before the National Park boundary sign and walked down through Blacka Plantation. I had soon escaped from the noise of the quite busy road and was among dappled light, birdsong and the sound of a babbling brook on a pleasantly warm and windless day in early Spring.

Once I'd cleared this wooded stretch I was walking along undulating tracks and country lanes with panoramic views eastwards towards Totley and various other suburbs of Sheffield.

I actually walked past some outlying farms and houses which are probably part of Totley, possibly a location marked as 'Totley Bents' on the map.

A few minutes later I reached the road that goes to Owler Bar, walked along it for a while and then soon took the footpath which goes around the back of the bus terminus/turnaround  and through Gillfield Wood, I think it's called. Along this section I noticed a couple of benches with names carved into them, and the lettering 'Community 10,000' - it probably refers to a community arts project of some sort; although I can't find any mention of it online.

I ended up walking further east than I had intended; my path wasn't clearly marked, and I arrived at a small car park reserved for wheelchair users at one of the entrances to Holmesfield Park Wood. I soon spotted the fingerpost sign for a footpath which went along the edge of the wood all the way to Holmesfield Common.

I then took the country lane which leads to the hamlet of Horseleygate, taking a bit of a detour down into a small valley and back up through a very tidy mobile homes site in order to avoid walking along a stretch of metalled road.

I then took a short, steep footpath down to the Millthorpe road, crossed it,  and continued down into a very pleasant grassy dale where many yellow, buttercup-like flowers were in bloom.

A short dead-straight stretch of a track called Car Road was next, and then a footpath alongside a stream, gradually walking uphill until I reached bracken moorland and the road quite near to the car park for Shillito Wood.

I walked along the road which leads to the main Baslow road, took a path across more open moorland, crossed another country lane and walked along the track which passes by Wellington's Monument and eventually becomes Bar Road which descends steeply down into Baslow Nether End; where I bought the best ice cream I've tasted in  many years - lemon curd flavour...and I could certainly taste the sharpness of the lemon. It was produced by a local company: Bradwell's of Bradwell.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blackwell, Flagg, Sheldon, and Bakewell.

Unusually, for a day I had planned to go walking, it was raining when I woke up this morning. The weather forecast was for plenty of warm sunshine later; and I wasn't disappointed.

I got off the bus at Blackwell: the bus doesn't actually go into the hamlet, but the houses are only a field away from the bus-stop. I took the road which leads towards the settlement of Priestcliffe Ditch, following a path across the fields though before I sighted the buildings.

I soon arrived at the main Buxton road, crossed over it and continued across more fields, this time climbing rather steeply uphill though, until I joined the Limestone Way.

I quickly walked along this section of the Limestone Way, mainly along country lanes, until I reached Flagg. What a strange village Flagg is, it must be nearly a mile from one end to the other, but there are actually very few houses. Very little must ever have happened there...well that's my assumption after reading the inscription on this memorial stone...there may be other reasons I suppose.

There were a couple of other strange things I noticed in the village. At the site of the former pub called The Plough there is now a private property inexplicably called 'Plough Station' which consists of a chalet-style bungalow set back from the road and something which I would describe as an art installation; consisting of a small forest of unused flagpoles, a ship's wheel, and random pieces of old agricultural implements and machinery. A few yards further on there's a concrete dog half-buried in the grass verge.

After taking what seemed like a very long time to walk through the village I took the road which forked to the right, and then quickly located the path leading eastwards across grassy fields. I then had a very short length of road to walk along before taking the track the leads down into Deep Dale. I didn't go down into the valley, although it looked very tempting, being perfectly illuminated with the sun being at just the right angle.

I took the path to the right and soon arrived at Sheldon - there were good views of Magpie Pine all along this section. I'd barely entered the village last year on a walk which incorporated a visit to see the substantial ruins of the mine, and so today I got the chance to see all of Sheldon; the one thing I noticed was that the occupants of several farms and smallholdings were offering eggs for sale at the roadside...the eggs were stacked up in cartons and  jam jars or saucers were left to put your money in.

After passing through Sheldon the road led down into Kirk Dale and I took the footpath leading up the other side of the valley. There was a final couple of miles to be covered before reaching Bakewell, arriving in the town just by the church.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bakewell, Rowsley, and Bentley Bridge

After getting off the bus at Bakewell I crossed the road and headed towards the shops. I popped into the small Spa supermarket and bought some chocolate covered raisins, and then went to the toilet - where I had a choice of five doors to enter; Male, Female, Disabled, Family or Traders.

I then left the town, walking over the old bridge over the River Wye, and along Coombs Road. I could have kept walking along the road but took a bit of a detour which meant I had to climb to reach a short section of the Monsal Trail along the old railway embankment: the views were far better though.

I rejoined the road at the end of the Trail, at the viaduct, and continued along Coombs Road; which soon petered out into merely a track. Just beyond the viaduct I noticed a planning application had been pinned to a gatepost explaining that permission had been sought to extend the Monsal Trail to Rowsley.

The track continued for about two miles until I reached Rowsley, going through farmland and alongside a pine plantation. I arrived at the A6 road but only followed it for a few yards until I picked up a path which led across fields to the village, seemingly having to walk right through the gardens of a couple of houses. I was definitely on the path because of the stiles and a conveniently placed bench, but when I arrived at the back street where it came out into the village there was no footpath sign; if I'd been walking in the opposite direction I would not have been quite so confident of it being a right of way.

I briefly called at the Post Office to get a carton of chilled milk which I enjoyed whilst finishing off the chocolate covered raisins; sitting on a bench in the centre of the village, near to the well.

I left the village by taking a path uphill and soon arrived at an interesting piece of topiary, which I had to pass through.

At the top of this path there was a country road which soon became a series of switchbacks through dense woodland; if it wasn't for the trees blocking the view I'm sure this would be a spectacular sight; it was certainly challenging walking this section.

The next section of the walk was fairly level, going across open moorland and fields interspersed with small copses and larger plantations.

There was then another stretch of road I needed to walk along, and then a path across more fields, skirting Matlock Golf Club, and arriving down at Bentley Bridge, about two miles north of Matlock on the Chesterfield Road, just in time for the bus.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bolsterstone, High Bradfield, Holdworth and Hillsborough

For a change today, I caught the bus to Barnsley instead of the train to Sheffield. By making this choice it opens up new areas of the northern Peak District for me to walk.

I got off the bus at Bolsterstone, a village at one time famous for its male voice choir; I had to check online though to confirm that it's still in existence. The village would make an excellent location for a meal break during a walk starting elsewhere; it has a pub and there are plenty of benches situated in the centre of the village, near the church.

I left the village and took the road that leads downhill towards Broomhead Reservoir, soon locating the path that continues down through woodland, to arrive at the dam wall. After struggling to find the gate that would allow me access to the path across the dam wall, I walked a few yards and then realised that if I sat down on the concrete I would be sheltered from the wind, and so took a while to eat my sandwiches there.

I then continued across the rest of the dam wall, turned right along the track running along the southern shore of the reservoir, and after a few yards, rather fewer than I had expected after studying the map, took a steep path uphill through more woodland.

Next, I crossed a lane and continued walking in a southerly direction, still climbing, though not as steep now, and across more open country, until I reached a minor road, which I had previously walked along in the opposite direction. After a few hundred yards I took the footpath leading to White Lee Moor: there were good views westwards as far as Win Hill; and the geologically interesting Canyards Hills could be studied from high ground.

I soon reached another road, but just crossed it and continued across grassy moorland, then struggled down a steep path to reach Rocher Head. The next section was through woodland again, and later along the base of a quite impressive cliff, which seemed natural to me, but isn't named on the Ordnance Survey map...this usually being a clue that it might actually be an old quarry face - but there's no hint at that being the case though.

I then tried to locate a waterfall which is marked on the map; I'm sure I could hear it in the distance at the bottom of a ravine, but somehow seemed to circumnavigate it. Just before reaching the church at High Bradfield I crossed an area where some trees had been felled; although it was a bit of a blot on the landscape, it has at least temporarily opened up new vistas; and new saplings have been planted.

The village is pretty, with some excellent floral displays, even this early in the season.

After leaving the village, I climbed over the highest ladder stile I have ever come across and started walking along a section of  the Sheffield Country Walk. At a farm I was joined by another puzzled walker as we looked for the route of the path through the farm yard. For the next two miles or so we chatted about everything and nothing until we parted ways as soon as we reached the houses at Hillsborough.

The next settlement reached was Holdworth, located just outside the borders of the National Park and thus subject to less vigorous planning regulations...and you could tell.

It wasn't long and then we were walking along the periphery of Hillsborough Golf Club and then Loxley Common and Wadsley Common, areas of what looked like mainly woodland and heathland to me.

After saying goodbye to the other hiker I walked down steep streets on housing estates to reach the main road near to the Leppings Lane tram stop.