Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rivelin Dams, Rails, Rivelin Valley and Malin Bridge.

A walk along the Rivelin Valley; one of the locations where the Industrial Revolution began.

Today was just as much an industrial archaeological field-trip as it was a walk. There are the remains and ruins of maybe two dozen mills and forges along this relatively short wooded valley which starts on the edge of the Peak District and ends only about half a mile from the shops at Hillsborough. Several of the mills date back to as early as the sixteenth century, and some didn't stop operating until the mid twentieth century.

I got off the bus at the middle of the three Rivelin Dams and walked a few hundred yards back along the road to the footpath, leading uphill through woodland. The path continued for about a mile until I reached the hamlet of Rails where I took the road downhill to reach the car parking area at the head of the valley.

At this location there are toilets, picnic tables, an outdoor classroom for school visits; and the remains of the first of today's mills - complete with an illustrated information is the case at several other locations further down the valley.

It wasn't a very long walk today so I took my time, lingering at many of the old mills, weirs, sluices, stepping stones, dams, millraces and waterfalls; I tried to photograph some of the weirs which are really quite spectacular; but the shots were all out of focus. This photograph was my best effort:

Just over half way down the valley I arrived at the café where I had a meat and potato pie dinner; it was okay, but nothing special.

Less than an hour after finishing my meal I was in Hillsborough town centre, where it looked like martial law had been declared; there was a high profile football match being played; a police helicopter was hovering over the stadium and every takeaway establishment and pub had several police officers guarding it.

As I stood and waited for the tram, two trams passed which were not in service. I subsequently found out from the ticket inspector on the next one which actually stopped that the trams had been vandalised by football fans...and he had been given a black-eye by some thugs.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Eyam, Housley, Wardlow, and Calver.

I don't know if there were any organised orienteering or fell-running events in the White Peak area today, but I saw two organised groups; one as I was travelling on the bus through Grindleford, and the other, just after I'd started walking at Eyam.

I got off the bus, popped in the shop and then took a photograph of the church; the lighting conditions were perfect.

There's an impressive Saxon cross in the churchyard; but after only a cursory look, I couldn't find it.

I took a footpath through a small housing estate and soon reached a well-maintained track known as 'Tideswell Lane.' After a few minutes I was in open countryside and found somewhere comfortable to eat my sandwiches. Choosing  a 'bridleway open to all traffic' to sit down for a few minutes turned out to be a mistake though...when a convoy of two dozen noisy motorbikes passed by.

This area of the Peak District is typical White Peak limestone farming country - neat and usually quite straight drystone walls, grass fields, and sheep.

The lane leads to the hamlet of Housley: from here I walked along the road until I reached a path across fields to Wardlow.

There was another stretch of road to follow and then a footpath which led up onto Longstone Moor. The moor is fairly flat and the path is grassy, meaning that you can make quick progress if required;  I lingered though, to take in the views.

Another short stretch of road followed, and then the descent down into Coombs Dale - the nearest major limestone dale to Sheffield I should think.

After walking along the entire length of the dale it was then only a short walk to Calver to catch the bus, which was nearly full.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rowsley, Congreave, Stanton in Peak, Haddon Hall and Bakewell.

Today the weather was a lot milder, but although most of the snow had melted it was quite icy underfoot in some places, even though I was walking in some of the lowest parts of the Peak District.

I started at Rowsley, walking along the Pilhough road until I took a path which climbed up fields towards Congreave. The path comes out at the bottom end of the village and I continued along the road leaving the village, going further downhill.

The next section of the walk was uphill again, across more fields, and looked quite challenging on the map; yet I didn't really need to stop for breath...maybe I'm getting fitter or my bronchitis is getting better.

I arrived at Stanton in Peak and walked through most of the village. To me, it seems to have an austere appearance and to be somewhat out-of-place in the Peak District; I'm sure it wasn't just the weather - which wasn't too bad and was improving all the time.

At the bottom end of Stanton I found my intended footpath, but about twenty minutes later I was in the wrong place because I'd been concentrating on the cricket commentary on the radio and hadn't bothered to look at the map. I wasn't lost...merely in the wrong place.

I'd taken a track and then a lane which ran pretty much parallel to where I'd already walked and ended up just a few hundred yards further down the Congreave road. I walked across a bridge over a dangerous-looking River Wye and then reached the main road.

It was about half a mile to the main entrance to Haddon Hall; unfortunately you can't see anything of the house from the road. You can get decent views looking through binoculars from the nearby high ground though.

I then walked alongside the river to Bakewell. It was sunny when I arrived there and  I had sufficient time to look around the market and shops. I bought a pie for my tea from the farm shop. I looked in the window of the Chatsworth Farm Shop and when I noticed that it was charging £4.95 for quite a small pork pie, I went to the other shop.