Friday, September 27, 2013

Spitewinter, Uppertown, Two Dales, Darley Dale, and Churchtown.




I got off the bus at Spitewinter, just about the highest point on the road from Chesterfield to Matlock, and certainly my favourite place name of all the villages I've visited on my walks.

I walked mainly across fields, going downhill, to reach Alicehead Farm, where the footpath was quite overgrown with bracken, brambles, and nettles. I crossed the road and then walked down a farm track to Dryhurst farm. Just beyond the farm buildings my way was blocked by a herd of cows in a field, one of which seemed to be expecting me to climb over the stile and then sit on her back....and then do...I don't know what. I only able to take this photo after she'd briefly retreated for a bit; but...she was soon back and I had to do something.


Some of the cows were making a bit of noise and so I thought I might as well do the same.

'So..here goes,' I thought to myself as I tried to communicate, "Moo, moo, moo, moocow, moocow, moocow...move, move, moooove!!!"

No effect at all. I had to get serious now and bring on some onomatopoeia...and some plosives. "Bang, bang, bang...pap-pap-pap...boooom!!' Surprisingly this worked, and continued to work for the entire herd as I crossed the field

I reached the hamlet of Uppertown and walked down the lane towards Hodge Lane Farm, but took a couple of short footpaths which allowed me to bypass part of the metalled road on this section.

There was nearly another mile of road to be walked before a reached open country, crossing grassy fields to arrive at Flash Lane. I passed a couple of farms selling fresh eggs and then took the forestry path going down through Wayne Piece, I think it's called. There are a couple of clearings down here and there are pleasant views towards the west.


Before reaching the bottom of the track I turned left and took a narrow, but well-maintained lane towards the road that goes down to Darley Dale. I took a photograph of the trees in the distance from here, which were showing the first signs of autumn.


I walked along this road for a bit before locating the well-hidden footpath which leads downhill to the lovely wooded valley where the Sydnope Brook flows. I was briefly startled by a sleek and stealthy animal running across the path in front of me; it emerged out of the water and was low-slung and quite slender, and very athletic, about a foot, or maybe eighteen inches long with jet black fur. Possibly a stoat, ferret, pine marten or weasel I should think.

I continued down the road to Darley Dale at the bottom of the valley, visiting the toilets and the shop: by the way, these toilets aren't shown on the Ordnance Survey maps.

I passed Darley Dale Railway Station; it's not somewhere you can buy a ticket to - it's a stop on the Peak Rail heritage railway...it's always well-presented though.



The final leg of today's walk consisted of me turning right just beyond the station and walking across the fields to Churchtown, a location which looks to be the oldest part of Darley Dale.

I then walked up to the main road and waited for the bus back to Sheffield. It arrived on time, but was delayed at Chatsworth House when several people, most likely Chinese visitors I should think, presented their Sheffield PlusBus rail tickets to the driver, who refused to accept them, stating that they were only valid in South Yorkshire. He finally relented when the one in the group who spoke the best English explained that the tickets were accepted this morning when they travelled out from Sheffield in the other direction.

A few more people got on and then the ticket machine broke down and the driver had to phone the depot or office for instructions. It could still issue some tickets, but not all. He was given his instructions and we were on our way. I don't think he had any more problems because everyone seemed to present a day ticket, a return ticket, or a concessionary pass.

I had a few minutes to wait for the train at Sheffield; the Bridlington train today. As I was standing on the platform a man sprouting an over large gold tooth approached me and asked me what date it was. I said I thought it was the twenty seventh today; as I was looking at my watch to confirm this he said that most people don't know what day it is and walked towards another platform.