Saturday, March 30, 2019

Cromford, Alderwasley...and somewhere south of Wirksworth

I can use my bus pass for travelling in Derbyshire at any time on a Saturday and so I arrived at Bakewell for nine o'clock this morning and caught the 09:15 bus to Cromford.

I took a few photographs at Cromford and then walked along the Derby road until I reached Intake Lane and the steady climb up to the top, passing under the old incline railway.

Not long after passing the railway I noticed that I was now walking along the Midshires Way, at this stage a broad bridleway, in places surfaced with concrete or tarmac, later on becoming just a footpath passing through meadows and woodland. 

The church at Alderwasley is located some distance from the main part of the village; it looks like it might just be inside Alderwasley Park, the extensive private grounds belonging to Alderwasley Hall, now a private school - public access is maintained to the churchyard, although the church itself was locked.  

I then needed to walk along the road for a couple of miles...apart from one short stretch of footpath across a field.  The next mile or so along paths was more interesting; there was a variety of different types of countryside for me to enjoy.

It got a bit too interesting though when the path disappeared and where I was expecting a clear way ahead through a large farm down to a road all I found was a field and  an area of recently planted and fenced off woodland. I had planned to visit Kirk Ireton, and could clearly see the steeple of the church and several more buildings about a mile away, but after a couple of failed attempts to make progress I re-traced my steps a few hundred yards and walked up the road, heading towards Wirksworth - I did manage to take this picture from the area where I got lost though.

I caught the bus back to Bakewell from the bus stop which serves the Alderwasley Sixth Form Centre. I had nearly half an hour to wait but I didn't fancy any additional roadwalking and so sat on the bench in the shelter and started writing up my notes for today's walk.

The journey to Bakewell took a lot longer than expected; the bus was stuck for long periods in stationary or crawling traffic at Matlock Bath because of a broken down car left in the middle of the road.

I finished the walk at two o'clock this afternoon but didn't get home until nearly seven o'clock - that's too long, way too much time spent waiting for and sitting in buses and trains. It's nice when I can reach new areas further afield on public transport, but sometimes it's not really worth the effort.

Today's route - seven miles:

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Brough, Bradwell, Little Hucklow, Tideswell Lane Head, Litton, Wardlow Mires, Foolow, Eyam, Grindleford, and Fox House

At Sheffield this morning I caught the first bus going out to the Peak District and got off at Brough in the Hope Valley. I walked along the footpath to Bradwell and then continued heading south to Little Hucklow, partially along the road. I found an unmarked path climbing up through the woods past some overgrown quarry workings; although it was steep and quite dense vegetation in places it was still probably safer than walking along the road which is dark, narrow, twisty, and confined...and without any grass verges for long sections.

When I got there I took a path which goes at the back of the houses at Little Hucklow.

There was then quite a long stretch of roadwalking to Tideswell Lane Head, but I'd not been this way before and so didn't mind...I also decided to do a bit of gentle jogging; it helps to keep my diabetes at bay. I chose to continue using the road to reach Litton so that I'd go past the small Victorian church there.

Everything at the Red Lion pub at Litton is real apart from the lion. I went inside for a pot of tea and can vouch for the authenticity of the low wooden roof timbers. The family sitting opposite me chose the carrot and orange option from the menu; when their food arrived I saw that it was guesses were cake or some sort of juice drink.

It was a mile to Wardlow Mires, one of the ugliest places in the Peak District, and then another mile and a half to Foolow, one of the prettiest villages in the national park. I didn't take any pictures though because of parked cars in the way.

I continued going eastwards until I reached Eyam; there is always plenty to photograph there.

I made my way to Grindleford; there's no direct footpath and so I used the blocked off road that was closed a few years ago because of a landslip. It's quite high up there and there are some lovely views of Froggatt Edge and the Derwent far as Chatsworth House.

The final section of the walk was uphill through Padley Gorge to Fox House.

Today's route - 13 miles:

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Harewood, Stank, Bardsey, and East Keswick

On Saturdays I can use my travel pass early in the morning in areas beyond South Yorkshire and so I made an early start for Leeds today, from where I caught the number 36 bus for Harrogate and got off at Harewood, arriving before nine o'clock. I walked the hundred yards or so down to the main entrance to Harewood House and took some photographs of the impressive gatehouse and the lodges.

I then walked to the northern end of the village and went down Church Lane, which leads into the Harewood estate. After about half a mile, well hidden away, there's a church; not the parish church as I thought but most likely a private church for the personal use of the family which lives in Harewood House - their is no public access to the churchyard...the gate was padlocked.

It's tarmac or concrete for about a mile using the estate road, which is also a bridleway and part of the Ebor Way long distance footpath. Following the Ebor Way took me to the south just before I reached the estate village of Stank.

[I spotted the herd of deer in the distance.]

I really like the erosion patterns in the sandstone blocks surrounding this doorway.

I only managed to get a couple of glimpses of the big house in the distance, both times were when I was looking behind me, so there might have been better viewing opportunities that I missed - this was my best effort at taking a photograph though.

At some point when I was walking through the Harewood estate my route became part of the Leeds Country Way; I continued to follow this signposted route all the way to Bardsey. The approach to Bardsey is lovely, going along a sheltered, winding valley.

When I first saw photographs of the church a Bardsey online I thought it was fairly new, maybe built in the eighteenth century. After a bit of research I found out that it's actually very old - the tower and the nave are Saxon, dating from the ninth and tenth centuries and so I decided to include a visit during my walk. I imagine that all Saxon churches are simple hall churches, but this one looks nothing like that - I don't find it particularly attractive by the fact I think it's rather ugly. I was able to go inside; there's a lot of information about the history and architecture of the building.

I turned north, and left the village, heading for East Keswick...there's no church there for me to like or dislike.

I couldn't walk northwards any further when I reached the southern bank of the River Wharf which I followed upstream for a couple of miles before climbing back up to Harewood. 

There are buses going back to Leeds ever ten minutes, so I didn't have long to wait at all...less than a minute.

The area I walked in today turned out go be a lot more varied and interesting that I'd been expecting by just looking at the map; if it wasn't for the possibility of having a look at Harewood House I wouldn't have bothered, but I'm glad I did.

Today's route...9 miles:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Bamford, Thornhill, Aston, and Hope

I travelled to Bamford and then walked along the footpath to Thornhill.

I then went to the west towards Aston and up the bridleway to Hope Cross. For about a mile, mainly walking along the road to Aston I got caught up with a large group of teenagers who seemed to be marching to the beat of Whitney Houston songs - I found myself joining in to keep up with the pace.

[Some hazards aren't depicted on Ordnance Survey maps]

The water in the ford at the bottom of Jaggers Clough was at least a foot deep - just about my comfortable limit for walking through.

I took the footpath which leads up to Edale Youth Hostel and then turned to the south and made my way up the long steep climb to the top of the Great  Ridge near Back Tor.

It was dangerously blustery on the top of the ridge and so I immediately took a lower level path through the woods and then across a grassy hillside area down to Hope. One of the routes I took along here was one of three stretches of footpath today that I hadn't previously used on my walks. 

I arrived at Hope with plenty of time for a pot of tea and a flapjack at the Grasshopper Cafe in the village.

When the weather was nice it was perfect for photography, but it was a day spoiled by the wind least it meant that the snow showers soon passed over though.

Today's route - 10 miles: