Monday, April 30, 2012

Matlock, Bonsall, Upper Town, Winster, Brightgate...and back to Matlock.

I recently read on an online forum that barriers and turnstiles have now been installed at the toilets at Sheffield Interchange and so remembered to have a pee first in the railway station toilets on platform 4 which are still free to use, unlike the ones in the concourse.

You'd think that the last places which needed turnstiles installing would be railway and bus stations. It's nothing to do with the money..have someone holding a bucket for us to throw our loose change into if you must, but it's the delay and the inconvenience that's the problem; some people will be in a hurry and the extra time required to fish for the current amount out of your pocket or purse and then feed it into the slot...well, it's not helping, is it?

Rant over: now on to today's walk.

I got off the bus in Matlock outside the park, it saves a few minutes by not going into the bus station, and I  was able to use the toilets. It's then only a short walk to the railway station where the Limestone Way begins, leading up an adjacent street. After not much more than a hundred yards I suppose, I passed through a squeeze hole and was in open countryside; a lovely grassy meadow covered in a carpet of dandelions. Apart from the dandelions, which seemed to be almost everywhere I spotted many more varieties of wildflowers during today. I'm in no way an expert, but, in addition to the dandelions, I could identify daisies, bluebells, speedwell, lesser celandine and wood anemones.

As a climbed higher the views behind me of Matlock just kept getting better, so I stopped to eat my sandwiches: a couple of pork pies and chocolate-covered coconut macaroons actually.

I followed the Limestone Way until I reached Bonsall; arriving at the former Market Place, which looks as though at one time there might have been maybe half a dozen or so shops there: only one remains now, some sort of fashion or craft shop...and the pub. Of course, the old Market Cross is still there, and I managed to get a decent photograph of it today, by cropping out most of the parked cars.

The village of Upper Town is less than a mile away across fields and Winster is about another two miles, across more fields and meadows. I popped into the Post Office and bought a can of dandelion and burdock to drink - somehow it seemed appropriate.

I then walked along the road towards Wensley for about a mile, then took a path leading uphill across the grassy hillocks which are tailings of some old mine workings.

I soon reached the hamlet of Brightgate where I noticed that a spectacular flower, which might be a wildflower, or possibly a garden escapee because I didn't see it anywhere else, was growing all over the place. I took a couple of photographs hoping someone might be able to identify it for me, but both were out of focus.

The final couple of miles down into Matlock are quite pleasant, apart from the final stretch along the by-pass. I had to wait fifty minutes for the bus back to had some fish and chips. Very nice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's Raining Again.

It's rained every day since my last walk a week and a half ago. I've just looked at the five day weather forecast, and it's predicting heavy rain for every day until at least Sunday. looks like I won't be walking at the weekend again.

Ironically I think we're still technically facing a drought here in Doncaster; I doubt that anywhere in the Peak District is though - the reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Derwent Valley seemed pretty full when I was there a couple of months ago.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bradwell, Great Hucklow, Grindlow, Foolow, Eyam, Stoney Middleton and Calver.

There's a footpath which goes from Bradwell to Great Hucklow, but I didn't use it today because the last two occasions I walked along it, it was very boggy in places. Instead I decided to take a route which meant I had to use two short stretches of the road...they were very short sections though.

The view looking back towards Bradwell is quite spectacular. I don't know if you can make it out in the photograph, but the absolute last remnants of the snow from a couple of weeks ago can be seen just below the summit of Win Hill; the prominent hill in the distance.

I had to walk through the farmyard of Nether Water Farm; it's a bit of a dump,being some kind of depot for the storage of heavy agricultural and construction machinery and vehicles. Fortunately the site is well screened with leylandii trees.

About a mile further on, now approaching Great Hucklow, and I'm still stopping to take photos. When I reached the village I had planned to take a short footpath behind the houses, but I couldn't find it and so walked along the main street instead.

It's only a short distance to Grindlow across the fields, and as I was climbing over a stile I paused to watch a glider being launched from the airfield situated at the top of Durham Edge.

I walked across more fields to reach Foolow, enjoying the views of Eyam Edge to the north east, and finished off the last of my sandwiches in the village; sitting next to the duck pond.

I was still feeling a bit peckish when I reached Eyam and so popped into the tea rooms for a cooked breakfast; receiving a top-up of hot water for my tea pot because I had to wait a little time for my jam and toast to finish off my meal. This gesture was very much appreciated.

I thought I would have to hurry to get to Calver for the bus, but I actually arrived with nearly twenty minutes to spare. I wish I had taken my time and lingered a little in Stoney Middleton taking some photographs: walking down the village's steep main street somehow always reminds me of Spain...maybe it's the style of the architecture, the fact that many of the buildings are white, the colourful flower displays...or just my imagination.

Overall, a very easy walk today. It was short, only about six miles, fairly flat, and most of the walking was across grass, along farm tracks, or on the road.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blacka Moor, Robin Hood, and Baslow.

As the bus was climbing up towards Fox House this morning I was surprised at how much snow still remained from last week. I didn't travel all the way to Fox House though, I got off at Blacka Moor and walked along the footpath through woodland which parallels the road, being just the other side of a high wall. After only a few minutes I noticed two memorial plaques; one commemorating the centenary of the South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire area of the Cyclists' Touring Club in 1978, and the other which had been placed a few yards further on by the Sheffield and South Pennines Topographical Society a year earlier.

I soon left the wood and then took the track which initially runs alongside the western boundary of the wood, but then crosses open countryside. I could see the highest point of the moor, and so headed for it, having a bit of fun on the way in a deep snowdrift which had survived in a sheltered hollow.

This location probably wasn't the highest land in the immediate area because I reached the Trig Point on Totley Moor.

By now I was walking along a substantial track which eventually led down to the road at a gas pumping station of some sort, just a few hundred yards west of Owler Bar.

I crossed the road and followed the path which cuts across the north-eastern corner of Big Moor; the chimneys and roof of the house associated with the old reservoir soon came into view. As I passed the building I observed that it looked as though it was occupied: although its location is extremely isolated, it does have a good metalled road leading to it.

I passed by the house and continued following the track southwards, occasionally crossing the Bar Brook using well-built stone bridges. Along this section I spotted a man who looked like he was picking berries; I can't imagine what they might be at this time of year...he was certainly regularly bending down though and placing something into a small transparent plastic bag.

Maybe half an hour later I arrived at the Baslow road, crossed over it and continued along a well-defined path across access land. This led me to a stretch of country road which I had walked along only two weeks earlier, I think. After only a few yards I noticed some bamboo canes stuck in the ground next to a roadside wall; I went closer to investigate and discovered that several fruiting or flowering bushes had been deliberately planted, and staked.

Another few minutes and I was at a crossroads and climbed over a stile (or possibly walked through a gate - I can't remember) onto more access land and took a path which was leading towards Birchen Edge. I soon caught up with, and passed , a couple who were being very careful in picking their routes across the boggy ground. I surmised that they didn't want to get too muddy because they were probably going to visit the Robin Hood Inn.

I reached the base of the Edge and soon found a way to scramble to the top and obtain my first view of Nelson's Monument, and a few yards away, the Three Ships: prominent boulders inscribed with the names of three of Nelson's most famous ships, Victory, Defiance, and Royal Soverin.

It was a quite difficult descent down to the main Chesterfield road, passing by the Robin Hood Inn and being wary of the traffic on my steady walk down into Baslow, where I had time to enjoy a hot Cornish pasty before catching the bus.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

To The West Of Castleton.

Although the majority of today's walk was to the west of Castleton, I started off by leaving the village in an easterly direction, turning off the main road into the Market Place and then heading up the lane which eventually goes to Bradwell; taking a very circuitous route because the Hope Cement Works is in the way.

The Market Place is merely a name these days; no market is held is a rather pretty spot though.

The lane out of the village climbed steadily; at one side I could see expansive views of the Hope Valley, and then higher up as the direction switched to be heading towards the south west, Hope Cement Works came into sight - not a pretty sight, but as I was having a brief rest at the roadside, a car stopped not too far away and a man got out and took several photographs and engaged his travelling companion in lively conversation.

I continued along this lane and then took the track which leads to the disused Hollandtwine Mine, where I stopped to read the information board explaining everything about how the site has been restored and the spoil heaps levelled so that the view of Mam Tor is now no longer blocked.

I continued westwards along this track for about a mile until reaching the massive excavated hole of Eldon Hill Quarry, which is currently not in use; stopping briefly to rummage for something in my rucksack and catching sight of about two dozen paragliders hanging in the air above Bradwell Edge. Also when walking along this section I noticed a father and his young son bending down to pick up loose rocks; I surmised they were looking for fossils.

Another short section of road followed and then a path leading downhill and then uphill to Ruhsup Edge Farm, where a bit of help with locating the actual path would have been appreciated.

I was soon walking along the main Chapel-en-le-Frith road, but soon turned off to climb up through access land to reach the footpath which goes along the top of Rushup Edge, and then turned eastwards to return to Castleton. The actual highest point of Rushup Edge, Lord's Seat isn't very impressive at all, but there's a tumulus only a few yards away which you can climb to the top of to enjoy marvellous views of Mam Tor, The Great Ridge and Edale.

At this point I could make out people walking to the summit of Mam Tor, a very popular activity on a lovely sunny day. A few minutes later, when I took the photograph several dozen people were on the steps, or on the summit.

At this point I decided to make my way down to Castleton as quickly as possible and hope to catch the next bus. I had considered walking up to the rim of Winnats Pass for some spectacular views; something I haven't done yet...but it will have to wait until another time.

The quickest route took me down the abandoned road and past the Odin Mine Crushing Circle.

I did arrive back in time for the bus; in fact I had time to pop into the shop and visit the toilets at the bus station.