Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bradwell, Winnats Pass, Castleton, and Well Dressing.

As the bus arrived at Bradwell I noticed there was bunting hanging everywhere, and then spotted a notice announcing that it was well dressing weekend. This is the first time I've arrived at a village when the wells have been decorated with petals and so I was going to search out one of the wells and take a photograph for the blog.

I got off the bus at the church and right by the bus stop there's a well, so I took a quick picture. At some time during the summer most villages in Derbyshire have a well dressing festival and many people who travel to the Peak District really enjoy the occasion.  

Well dressing isn't the only folk custom that's unique to the Peak District and the surrounding area; another one is Hallamshire carolling; which tends to be more popular on the Yorkshire side of the boundary though. This is the practice of small groups of people walking from pub to pub at Christmas time and singing the words of one hymn to the tune of another hymn or carol. The only example I can instantly think of is singing the words of 'While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night to the tune of 'Ilkley Moor Baht 'At' - the Yorkshire 'national' anthem. It works really well; I'm sure there are other examples posted online.

Leaving Bradwell I walked about half a mile along Bradwell Dale and then climbed up a steep footpath heading westwards. I actually had to clamber on all fours across a dangerous area of scree and then continue up a near-vertical section of escarpment- I think this was the most difficult ascent I've undertaken since I started regularly walking again last year.

The next section of the walk was also quite difficult, with long stretches of dense overgrown woodland with a lot of low hanging branches. I spent most of the time with my back bent; and walking in this state is very tiring.

The next part of the walk towards Winnats Pass was fairly flat and across open limestone country. I soon reached the top of the pass and took the grassy path which is at the side of the road.

There are four show caves at Castleton which are open to the public; Speedwell Cavern is located at the foot of the pass and I took a photo which manages to include references to two more.

The other cavern, the Blue John Cavern is a bit further away.

From the bottom of Winnats Pass it's a relatively short walk down into Castleton, which as might be expected on a fine summer's day at the weekend was extremely busy.  Time wasn't pressing today and so I had time to buy a cup of tea from the Visitor Centre.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surprise View, Leadmill, Bretton Clough, Abney and Brough.

Today's walk began at Surprise View, a location which got its unusual name in the nineteenth century when Queen Victoria was travelling in the royal coach and was pleasantly surprised by the panoramic view which unfolds at this particular point on the road to Hathersage.

It's only a view yards to some rocks which can easily be scrambled up to get the best view.

The route of the walk continued westwards and downhill to the River Derwent, with excellent views of the Hope Valley every time there was a clearing in the trees.

After walking for a few hundred yards along the river I reached the hamlet of Leadmill where the pub there has a lovely display of hanging baskets.

I then continued in a westerly direction towards Bretton Clough. The path here is easy underfoot and there are some pleasant, if not dramatic views, as I walked across fields, and hillsides covered in bracken, and through woodland areas.

When I reached Bretton Clough I stayed on the higher paths until I needed to descend, and then climb the other side of the valley.

I came across a sign that certainly didn't apply to me.

I soon arrived at Abney and took the lane that leads to the track that goes to Brough; where I arrived just in time to catch the bus.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hope, The Great Ridge and Castleton

I got off the bus at Hope and popped in the shop and then briefly visited the toilet. As  you can see, there's a lovely floral display covering the entire parade of shops on the main road.

I set off in a northerly direction to reach the Edale road after about a quarter of a mile. A few hundred yards later I turned left along a lane which passed a very swish hotel/spa. Soon after this point I was walking across meadows with stunning views of Lose Hill and the eastern end of Edale: by the way, Edale is both the name of the valley and the name of the only village in the valley.

The next location marked on the map was the information shelter at Edale End, which I didn't stop to visit. Next up was a complicated series of stiles and gates where the footpath was routed around a farm.

I then walked along the road for about half a mile; in places it was quite dangerous, but the views of the Great Ridge were impressive, even though the sky was clouding over by now.

The path across the field towards Edale was easy going and very pleasant; I turned off before reaching the village though and headed for the most direct route to the lowest point of the ridge, Hollins Cross.

The climb up was quite strenuous but the most difficult thing for me was the makeshift path that had been constructed out of small boulders.

At Hollins Cross I had a rest and enjoyed the view back towards Edale from where I'd come, then moved a few yards and had another rest to enjoy the view of Castleton and the Hope Valley.

This is the view looking east along the Hope Valley:

Finally I walked across the fields to Castleton to arrive just as it started raining. As at Hope there were flowers everywhere; this is a photograph of some tea rooms in the village.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bus Services In the Peak District

I had intended to go walking again yesterday or today but I've had a stomach bug and haven't felt very well. Therefore, instead of updating the blog with the details of my latest walk I thought I'd post some information about the bus services I use to get from Sheffield into the Peak District.

The eastern part of the Peak District is surprisingly well served and many popular destinations are easy to reach.

Here are brief details of the major routes:

 65: To Buxton via Tideswell. Five services a day Monday to Saturday, three services on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.

This is a lovely scenic route across large swathes of the Peak District, taking 80 minutes to reach Buxton, the popular spa town. Other popular locations served are the fascinating 'plague village' of Eyam, lovely flower-bedecked Tideswell and Miller's Dale for easy access onto the Monsal Trail and the opportunity to walk through the recently-opened tunnels to Bakewell. Like many of the services it stops at Fox House where many climbers enjoy the challenges presented by Burbage Edge; additionally the managed landscape of the Longshaw Estate is only a short walk away.

181: This service only operates on Sundays and Bank Holidays, with just the single trip departing Pond Street Interchange at 09:00. It takes 95 minutes to reach Hartington, right on the boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire; I've only ever travelled as far as Middleton-by-Youlgreave so far though. The route takes you via Bakewell and Youlgreave, opening up access to Lathkill Dale.

214 To Matlock via Chatsworth House; an hourly daytime service. No service on Sundays.

215 To Bakewell and Matlock; an hourly service on Sundays and Bank Holidays going via Chatsworth House

218 An hourly service to Bakewell, four times a day extended to Buxton. Three services on Sundays, all the way to Buxton. This is the best bus for reaching Monsal Head and the Wye Valley

242 On weekdays this service runs at inconvenient times to Castleton, however on a Sunday it has a modified route and it's the bus to catch for the Upper Derwent Valley where you can hire bicycles to ride on the road which circles the reservoirs - of course, it's flat.

272 The bus which runs all the way along the Hope Valley to Castleton; basically an hourly service seven days a week.

There are a few other buses running out to The Peak, but they're not suitable for a full day's walking; there's a convenient booklet available from the Travel Centre at Pond Street with full timetables for all of the services I've mentioned though.

Finally, I mustn't forget Hillsborough, a suburb in the north of the city where you can catch buses out to Bradfield ,which is handy for exploring some of the higher and more remote moorland to the west of Sheffield.

I hope you find this brief introduction useful.