Wednesday, 3 December 2014


It is one of those days where we are setting off with a half-baked plan and only a vague idea of where to go. We have a starting point, the small lay-by at New Bridge at Calver, our intention being to walk alongside the River Derwent towards Calver and then, well, that's when we will start making it up.

At least the weather is fine, although it has rained overnight so we expect some mud to cope with. And today is PC's pre-birthday walk, so first of all she is pressed into trying one of my concoctions, this time apple vodka which she struggles to identify.

Once we are ready we set off through the gate and onto the narrow path at the side of the river. Very soon we come to the large S-shaped weir which has the water flowing over it in a white torrent. From here we expect a longish stroll but we are disappointed as it isn't long before we reach the gate onto the road. Cue map.

After some debate we set off along the road to Calver, cross over the bridge then take the continuing path beside the river and beneath the underpass and coming out at the fields behind the houses. It is a straight path here and though we see cows they are not in the field we are in! 

This path follows the Derwent Valley Heritage Way and as we move away from the river on the well-used path it does become quite muddy. We meet a couple who are out for a walk wearing trainers, and they ask us how bad the path gets after attempting to pick their way around the muddiest sections. We can't offer them a great deal of encouragement and hope they are prepared to get muddier.

We pause where a stream rushed beneath the path just before we go through a crush into a field, and debate again where to go. This time we cross the field then turn sharp right up the lane towards Bramley Farm on Bramley Lane. To our surprise we realise we are very close to the large plantings which spell our E and R, easily read from a distance but not so clear close up.

We continue up the fairly steep lane and soon come close to Bramley Wood on our right, and we turn into it on the well-trod path. The path skirts the top of the wood and once out of the trees and rhododendron bushes it has a good view.

But it is lunchtime so we find a comfy spot on a wall and stop to eat. First is the celebratory mini bottle of vino which we savour before eating sandwiches and preparing ourselves for the birthday bun - chocolate cheesecake. The after-lunch coffee warms us up as it has now turned distinctly chilly.

We pack up and set off again, the path taking us straight for a few yards then turning left to head pretty sharply downhill. Here is the problematic stage and, due to the recent rain, this path is a muddy slalom that takes us much effort and concentration to negotiate whilst remaining upright. Not until we reach the stream are we able to guarantee safe footing.

There is a field to cross now, then we come up to the backs of the houses where the path winds around a little, though by following the signs we are able to make our way into the centre of the village. We walk down through the village and head for the main road, which we cross then take the path which runs along the road towards Mill Farm.

From here it is a simple case of crossing fields and following the river, and before long we are back at New Bridge.
To say that it has been a made-up walk with no specific route or destination in mind it has turned out to be a very pleasant one. And the wine helped too, of course!

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