Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Matlock, Matlock Bath, Upperwood, Snitterton, Oaker, Darley Bridge, and Darley Dale.

Today's walk began with me walking through the park at Matlock and then climbing up to Pic Tor. I was hoping to get some good all round views, but it was still quite misty and the only photograph I'm happy with was one taken of the war memorial in silhouette as I faced the sun.



I then continued towards High Tor, with good views looking down into the valley. Just below the summit there was a short section of footpath I specifically wanted to walk along; it's known as 'Giddy Edge.'  It's a narrow path, in places cut right into the rockface: there's a handrail to use on the more difficult stretches...and it's definitely needed, and because it's so narrow and passing would be dangerous, it's a one-way footpath - the only one I know about.





I soon reached Matlock Bath; it was looking rather forlorn at this time of year - hardly any of the shops were open. I continued along the road and had a quick visit to Masson Mills. I didn't stay long because I wasn't able to view any part of the working mill; there were just a few shops and a café. If I wanted to look round shops I would have stayed at home in Doncaster.

I crossed over the road and found the path that starts as a series of steep steps going up the hillside. I soon came across something I wasn't expecting, it isn't marked on my map; a mineshaft that wasn't blocked off and appeared to have easy access. I rummaged in my rucksack and found my headtorch and ventured into the darkness: the mine consisted of a well-hewn tunnel about five foot high. I had to stoop slightly but had no problems getting about fifty foot in I should think. The tunnel seemed to go on for quite a bit further, but the roof appeared to be getting slightly lower and so I turned around and headed back towards the daylight. If I was younger and more supple, and had a hard hat and some knee pads I probably would have ventured further. It was quite pleasant inside the mine; I didn't feel claustrophobic in any way and the temperature was a good few degrees warmer than outside.

I briefly passed through Upperwood before continuing northwards. In the fields above Bonsall I was having difficulty walking across areas of churned soil which had frozen: I was simultaneously slipping and tripping up - I think I need to find a new word to adequately describe this predicament.

Along this section the local wildlife seemed to be ganging up on me; a squirrel nearly as big as a cat missed me by only about two foot as it jumped from one tree to the next and then a couple of fields later I was almost rugby tackled by a hare.

The next place of interest was the old mine in Jughole Wood. I was aware of this mine and had passed nearby on a couple of previous walks, but didn't have the time to look for it. I easily found it and went in about half way: it's quite large but there isn't anything particularly interesting to see - there are no stalactites or stalagmites...and no obvious mineral formations. Like the other mine I visited though it appears to be quite safe and would be a bit of an adventure for small children...you do need sturdy boots and a torch to visit both sites though - and if you want to take any photographs you'll need a better camera then mine.

I walked downhill to Snitterton: en route I spotted some unusual farm animals in a field. I couldn't make out if they were were either  cows or calves, or sheep. After studying the photographs I took I still can't decide - unfortunately they were quite far away...what do you reckon? You'd think I'd know the difference between cows and sheep though.



I briefly entered Oaker before climbing the hill at the back of the village. The highest part of this section is a pleasant ridge walk.

I was concerned that I might miss my bus and end up waiting almost an hour for the next one, and so I jogged most of way back to the bus-stop at Darley Dale - I arrived with nearly ten minutes to spare...not long enough to risk walking  to the shops and catching the bus at the next stop though.