The lay-by is pretty full of cars but none of the walkers seem to be going our way. We head over the stile at the side of the Inn and cross over the fields and into Hay Wood, admiring the lingering mist as we go. For some reason we always have to puzzle our way in the wood, but mutually decide to set off downhill on a very muddy path. Then a brief retreat to try to find PC's lost lens cap for her camera, and for a change we are in luck, then retrace our steps again.
We are surprised that this low-lying field isn't boggy after recent rainfall, but pleased nonetheless. The small stream is easily crossed and we head uphill into Horse Hay Coppice. We are now following part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way.
There are a number of lovely streams running down the hillside, one with a calm reflective pool, so we reflect a while with a nip from the secret flask. My home-made Ramblers again!
We have a good view of the larger bridge over the Derwent, and are surprised how many heavy lorries use it. We start off with coffee, then sandwiches - always a non-event - then the buns which, today, are Spiced Apple Fresh Cream Muffins. Not too stodgy, they go down very well followed by a second coffee.
We sit and chat for a while, and as we are talking we see a disturbance in the water. To our delight we are able to watch a water vole swimming along, it surfaces, sits on a semi-submerged branch for a few moments, then slides into the water to swim away. Magical.
In places the path along here is fairly boggy, and we have to make a few minor detours, but after a while we come up to some 'shelters' and an outside camp area complete with branches for seats and a fire pit. It looks wonderful!
We descend now and are soon retracing our steps down towards Grindleford. We make our way back up to the woods, and the uphill climb certainly makes us warm. Mainly due to good luck rather than good judgement we end up on the right path and come out exactly where we entered the woods this morning. Only a short stretch now across the fields to the cars, with ours being the only two left.