Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bentley Bridge, Matlock Green, Riber, Cromford, Bonsall, Snitterton, Oaker (or Oker), Darley Bridge, and Darley Dale.

Unusually I spent a bit of time researching for today's walk because there are three locations I specifically wanted to visit; Lumsdale mills, Riber Castle and Arkwright's Mill at Cromford.

The walk didn't get off to a good start though: I got off the bus at Bentley Bridge and found the lane that leads off towards Lumsdale and I was soon in a deep wooded valley which I presumed to be Lumsdale. Maybe it was, or maybe it wasn't; but even with backtracking several times I couldn't find even one of the six ruined mills that I'd read about. They'll have to be visited on a later walk because I was soon at the bottom of the valley, in Matlock Green.

I followed the main road in an easterly direction for a few hundred yards and then took the steep path which goes up to Riber, going alongside a wall, then open grassy fields and finally an area overgrown with bracken. Although the visibility wasn't particularly good, I enjoyed some pleasant views of Matlock from a new  perspective.

My next objective, Riber Castle, isn't a castle at all; it's a nineteenth century folly. In the village there are at least another two crenellated buildings, both of which I spotted before seeing Riber Castle. Eventually I caught a couple of glimpses of the battlements but had to wait until I had left the village to enjoy the best view, as I was walking across the fields towards Cromford.

The path soon descends to the Cromford road, but whilst still quite high up there were some spectacular views of Matlock Bath and the cable cars...yet again, seen from a completely new direction.

The first place I arrived at in Cromford was Cromford Wharf. I popped into the café, but was rather disappointed with the limited choice on offer so crossed the road and had a pot of tea and a cherry scone at Arkwright's Mill...a very easy location to find; it's well signposted.

This photograph was taken from where I was eating my scone.

I lingered at the mill for a while, and then continued into the town centre where I ended up taking  photographs of the most colourful outdoor shop display I've ever seen...and a green padded bicycle with a card placed in front of it bearing a very strange and cryptic message.

The message on the yellow card reads; 'Show me the rejects. Like us on Facebook.' The card attached to the rear wheel has an equally strange message about taking photographs when wearing a specific tee-shirt - I think it all might be part of some online viral marketing campaign.

I then walked along a footpath which runs parallel to the Via Gellia, passing through woodland and across fields to reach the road which leads up to Bonsall.
Despite its Latin sounding name, Via Gellia isn't a Roman road at all; it was named by, and for, a Mr. Gell, the man who paid for the original road to be built.
Interestingly, the fabric known as Viyella was itself named for the Via Gellia, the location of the mill where it was first produced.

It's a long climb up to the top of the village of Bonsall, not too steep though. At the bottom of the hill I noticed another strange message - this time on a bus stop.

There are several paths leading up from just beyond the village centre, going in a northerly direction - I'm not sure exactly which one I took but I reached Salters Lane and then found the path leading me back downhill across fields to reach Snitterton. Along this section I briefly set foot inside the official boundaries of the Peak District...the distance covered is only the width of three fields though.

I then took the road leading to Oaker, or Oker, as it is also written. It seems that no-one can agree on the correct spelling: on every actual sign I came across, the name was spelled differently to how it is depicted on the Ordnance Survey Map. Coincidence? Conspiracy? An organised protest; or just a bit of fun?

By now it was starting to rain and I was glad it was an easy walk back to Darley Dale to catch the Sheffield bus.


  1. Just came across your blog by chance via the "Next Blog" doodah in the top bar. I also love walking in The Peak District and happily combine three things I love - maps, photography and plodding along through the countryside. There's so much to see - it never ceases to amaze me. I visited the Cromford/Matlock area earlier this summer and enjoyed a lovely four hour walk there. Best wishes, Neil (Yorkshire Pudding)

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