Sunday, February 26, 2017

Derbyshire Life: The Ten Prettiest Peak District Villages

Here's the list, in alphabetical order:
Ashford-in-the-Water: A very pretty village with plenty to see...and a good base for accessing the Monsal Trail. The article states that Sheepwash Bridge is the most photographed bridge in England.
Bakewell: The unofficial capital of the Peak District; plenty of quirky shops, pubs, and cafes.
Castleton: Tourist honeypot - easy to reach from Sheffield. Plenty of shops and pubs. The village specialises in the production of blue john jewellery...the mineral is found nowhere else on Earth.
Edale: It wouldn't be on my list. It's surrounded by stunning countryside but the village is nothing special.
Edensor: A unique village on the Chatsworth estate. Every cottage is different yet they were all built at the same time.
Eyam: The 'Plague Village' A fascinating history and an uplifting example of self-sacrifice for the common good. Plenty to see and do, and some pretty, yet quite easy walks in the area.
Hartington: I've only visited the once and wasn't that impressed with the place.
Hathersage: More workmanlike than most places in the Peak District; it has nice areas though. Easy access to nearby climbing areas on the Eastern Edges.
Tideswell: Plenty of shops and cafes, and a large parish church known as the 'Cathedral of the Peak.'
Tissington: I've not been yet, so can't comment.

Personally I wouldn't include Edale and Hartington on the list and would replace them with Monyash and Froggatt.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Tickhill, Stainton, Braithwell, Micklebring, and Conisbrough Hill Top

Tickhill is a pretty little market town. The sun was still shining when I arrived there and I got off the bus a few stops before the town centre and walked along the main road, taking photographs along the way.

I located the lane that leads to Stainton, but missed the footpath across the fields. The footpath runs almost parallel to the road so I didn't have to walk much further. As I approached Stainton something that looked like a castle keep appeared in front of took me a while as I walked a good few hundred yards closer to realise they are actually grain silos [I think.]

The church at Stainton is quite higgledy-piggledy, probably constructed over different periods of time many years apart, but it is quite attractive and is in a pretty spot in the village, up the hill from the duck pond.

It was a mixture of tarmac lanes and muddy fields until I reached Braithwell; the church there isn't as attractive, and its location next to an estate of council houses ruins many of the opportunities for photography.

There's nothing to see at Micklebring and I've done the walk back to Conisbrough Hill Top several times and so knew to expect nothing as I walked back to the bus stop. As I approached a double-decker on its way to Doncaster passed, fortunately I only had to wait seventeen minutes for the next one though.

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Highlights of the Peak District

Listed from north to south...approximately:

Bleaklow: Appropriately named - it's very bleak up there.; it's the largest expanse of land over two thousand foot high in England. There are several dozen aircraft wrecks slowly sinking into the peat; it will be a test of your mapreading skills if you want to go looking for them...there aren't a lot of landmarks about.
Upper Derwent Valley: Consisting of the three reservoirs and dams; Derwent, Howden, and Ladybower. An easy walk around the shores of the reservoirs and spectacular views from high up on the moors.
Kinder Scout: The highest point in the Peak District; it's also a plateau like Bleaklow though and the actual summit is difficult to find...even if it's marked on your map. There are some interesting rock formations along the edges of the plateau.
Castleton: A tourist honeypot village, easily reached from Sheffield on the bus. Plenty of pubs and cafes and shops selling blue john jewellery, the local speciality...the mineral is still mined locally and is found nowhere else on Earth. There are four show caves in or near to the village - I think I've visited two or three of them...maybe even all four. The climb up to Mam Tor and then along The Great Ridge to Lose Hill is very popular and not too difficult.
Eyam: 'The Plague Village' - there's a lot to see for the visitor and it's a good base for walking.
Tideswell: Plenty of shops, pubs, and cafes. The parish church is known as 'The Cathedral of the Peak.'
Froggat Edge: The walk along the edge starting at Fox House and finishing at Baslow is one of my favourites.
Buxton: Grandiose Victorian spa town with regular cultural and artistic events throughout the year.
Monsal Head: One of the classic Peak District views.
Chatsworth House, gardens, and parkland: The largest, and one of the best, stately homes in the country.
Bakewell: The unofficial capital of the Peak District. Shops, pubs, a lovely riverside walk and my favourite reason for visiting...the lovely courtyards bedecked with flowers in the summer. Of course you can also buy a Bakewell Pudding from one of the three rival establishments each claiming to have the original recipe. You can even buy Bakewell tarts...if you really want to!
Monyash and Lathkill Dale: A pretty village and possibly the best of the limestone dales.
Lumsdale: A hidden gem. A series of waterfalls tumble down the hillside in this steep gorge where several ruined mills are located. It's only a couple of miles from Matlock.
Matlock Bath: Known as 'Derbyshire-by-the-Sea' due to its large number of amusement arcades and fish and chips shop...and other tourist attractions. Maybe you might want to take the cable car up to the Heights of Abraham or visit on a Sunday [especially bank holidays] to view the impressive array of motorbikes that will be parked along the promenade.

I'm not able to get over to the western areas of the Peak District...and I know there are a lot of nice areas and attractions over there as well.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Kingston-upon-Hull: UK City of Culture 2017

When I found out about this I immediately made plans to visit a couple of times this year. I was really looking forward to going to Hull today; I did enjoy myself...but it seems that the city isn't ready yet - there are still plenty of roadworks taking place and the only difference I noticed from my previous visit was the installation of a large wind turbine blade in the main square. All it did for me was block my sightlines of the impressive Victorian municipal buildings I wanted to photograph.

We stopped for our sandwiches at Hessle as usual, but this time we drove on for a couple of hundred yards beyond the Foreshore area to a nice wooded car parking area next to Hessle Haven, from where we were able to to go for a short walk right down to the water's edge.

It was still quite sunny when we reached Hull and so we lingered so that I could take some photographs - there was no need to go inside to shelter from the weather.

We then made our way to the Old's not far.

We went in to the Hull and East Riding Museum but didn't stay for long. There wasn't much for us to see; all of the exhibitions seemed to be aimed at children. However, just across the square is the Streetlife Museum of Transport,  a much better prospect - we spent an hour in here, and could have spent longer if it had been a little less busy.

We then made our way back to the main shopping area and the highlight of the day for me - the recently re-opened and refurbished Ferens Art Gallery, which like all of the museums in Hull is free entry. There are more Dutch Old Master paintings inside this building than anywhere else outside of the Netherlands. There are several dozen of them, most in very good condition and all of them well lit and presented...the galleries were quite busy today.  

We slummed it a bit by stopping for a pot of tea and a toasted teacake each at a coffee shop inside the indoor shopping centre before we set off for the drive home to Doncaster.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tideswell, Litton Mill, Brushfield, Ashford-in-the-Water, and Bakewell

An almost perfect day today; the weather was warm and sunny and ideal for photography, my health was one hundred percent as good as it can be and that's very good these days, public transport ran like was muddy nearly everywhere I walked. I've brought back several ounces of Derbyshire mud on my boots and trousers...I didn't slip down though.

I got off the bus at the northern end of Tideswell, on the way in, so that I could walk down and take some photographs of the church and whatever else I saw in the area.

I took the path which runs parallel to the road through Tideswell Dale, but is obviously more scenic...but a lot muddier. I then crossed the road into an area of Access Land and the path soon took me up high behind the parking area. I needed to be careful on the steep grassy descent though.

Just past the toilet block there was another path leading onto the Access Land again and I immediately regained all of the height I'd lost, and added a bit more too, arriving at the old quarry...a wonderful spot for wildflowers in the spring and early summer months. It's a sheltered location here and somewhat of a sun trap; it was noticeably several degrees warmer, being protected from the chilliness of the wind on all sides by the sheer quarry walls..

I left the quarry by walking down well over a hundred steps cut into the rock, down to the gravel track at the bottom which comes out just before Litton Mill. These were to be the first of many more hundreds of steps I'd be climbing up and down today...I don't think I've ever come across so many on a walk before.

It was a short stretch along the road to reach Litton Mill - I didn't take any photographs because, despite it being nearly midday, the sun still hadn't risen high enough in the sky to illuminate most of the buildings in this deep narrow valley.

I had to climb up more steps to reach the Monsal Trail, and more still, followed by a difficult muddy ascent up to the rake and then the bridleway which goes to Brushfield.

It was a steady descent of just over a mile to reach the Monsal Trail again, just before the Headstone Viaduct and then the Headstone Tunnel.

After passing through the tunnel I continued for a few minutes before reaching the first path that goes down to Ashford-in-the-Water - there are some lovely views to the north with Longstone Edge looming on the horizon.

By the time I reached Ashford many parts of the village were in shade...but not the church.

The next bus to Bakewell wasn't due for another forty five minutes and so I walked it there taking the pleasant riverside footpath...still more mud to deal with though.

I literally just turned the corner and walked onto the bus at Bakewell, the driver setting off as soon as I'd sat down.