Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tideswell Dale, Litton Mill, Cressbrook, Upperdale, Asford-in-the-Water, and Bakewell.


Some people boarding the number 65 service this morning en route would have been slightly confused when a Doncaster Park & Ride branded bus turned up. The vehicle was quite small with limited legroom, in contrast to the usual double-decker. I was quite squashed and uncomfortable for part of the journey and needed to do some stretch exercises when I arrived at my destination. 

The toilets and carpark at Tideswell Dale are right next to the bus stop. It didn't take long for me to walk along the mile or so of the accessible trail to reach the road that leads to the pretty hamlet of Litton Mill.

I then walked along the concessionary footpath towards Cressbrook, noticing the sign just before reaching Rubicon Wall at Water-cum-Jolly Dale.


I thought there was a good chance that I might be needing to use the diversionary footpath....and I was correct; the path was flooded to a depth of about eight inches - it looked as though the water had been a lot higher though.


I wasn't disappointed though; I haven't walked along the high level route to Cressbrook before and always enjoy covering new terrain.

I continued along the road to the small settlement of Upperdale and then took the footpath leading up to the Monsal Trail. I remained on the Trail for only a few hundred yards before descending to the valley bottom again just before the Headstone Viaduct near Monsal Head and headed downstream along the bank of the River Wye.

It wasn't long before I could hear the roaring noise of the weir; I have never seen it looking so spectacular; complete with spray and foam. I couldn't get a really good photograph because there were too many people around: this section of the riverbank is very popular with families enjoying picnics.

It's about another mile to the carpark at White Lodge. I was hoping to find an ice cream van there, but was disappointed. I went to the toilets though. These facilities are composting toilets and so there isn't a flush - there are detailed instructions and explanations though.

I then took the footpath which leads through Great Shacklow Wood to Ashford-in-the-Water. When I reached one difficult section where you need to basically crawl along a stony riverbed and then climb up between some rocks I met a couple who were considering turning back. I told them I have walked this route before, and that although it was much wetter than on my previous visits, it is perfectly passable. So...they continued; we walked together for a couple of minutes until I found a sunny spot to finish off the last of my sandwiches.

The path continues through the wood and then gently descends down to the riverbank.


The last few minutes of this section are along roads until reaching Asford-in-the-Water where I had a quick drink of Diet Pepsi sitting outside the pub and then popped into the shop because I noticed that they sold Bradwell's Ice Cream - my favourite. I asked for my favourite flavour, lemon curd, but they didn't stock it - so I had cherry Bakewell flavour instead.

I timed my stay in the village so that I could have a leisurely walk along the riverbank into Bakewell.

.