Sunday, 14 December 2014


Another last minute choice for us today, basically a route we have done before, but in reverse and chosen because it is at 'my end' of the Peak District as I have to meet a train at a certain time this afternoon.

So we meet up in the almost deserted car park next to the Robin Hood pub at the intersection of the A619 & B6050. The car park is free to use for members of the NT or RSPB, so we are spared the fee.

Before we gear up we do our bit for recycling: swapping clothes that are outgrown, no longer suit, or no longer fit. Between ourselves and our daughters we manage a few good wardrobes changes through the year.

With Mollie eager to go we go through the gate to the pub and cross their car park and onto the main road, heading towards Baslow. A short distance past the farm we clamber over the stile in the wall and into the large moorland field which is, in places, boggy underfoot.

This has an easy gradient, and a large but mostly obscured enclosure (possibly bronze age though I have been unable to obtain details), along with a few spindly birch trees. There are also ponies and horses grazing but they are not interested in us.

We cross through into the next field area and start the very slow descent across rocky ground and through trees beneath Gardom's Edge. As we approach the main Sheffield road (A621) we meet our first walker out for the day.

It's a narrow stile onto the road, but once across we go through onto a wide track that cuts down to Bar Brook and crosses the small bridge beneath the much larger bridge leading to the picturesque house high on the opposite bank.

We wind our way up the steps (pausing to admire the house's lovely gardens even though we only have a glimpse) and into the woods at Jack Flat. We keep on walking upwards, the path is fairly clear most of the time and there is a drystone wall on our left to guide us. 

We are soon looking for a path to take us up to the ridge where Wellington's Monument stands but none of the tracks look particularly inspiring. Finally we find a steep (very) path uphill and go for it. With the help of a few trees we hoist ourselves up and emerge a little further along than we had intended, but within sight of an enticing bench for lunch.

Once settled we start off with a nip from the secret flask (strawberry vodka) we have a coffee (spiced vanilla latte) followed by sandwiches/salad then our buns (custard danish) and mince pies washed down with more coffee. We are certainly building ourselves up for the festive season.

Suitably replete - and feeling more in need of a post-lunch nap than a walk - we set off again before the chilly breeze makes us even colder. It is all downhill now on the wide, rutted track and we eventually make it back to Baslow village. 

Here we wind through the streets until we come out at the main road (and the conveniently placed conveniences) where we once again take the back lane over the river then right past the cottages (Were these used in the film version of Pride and Prejudice, PC wonders?) and into Chatsworth Park.

We turn left and follow the fence line for a short distance until we turn uphill to cross the entry road, which is lined with coaches waiting for the numerous day-trippers in the house itself, and continue to the stile in the fence line and past a huge flock of disinterested sheep.

The grassy track is wide and easy to follow and soon we are at the extremely high steps-in-the-wall stile which takes us onto a broad wooded path. We are making good time now as the path runs parallel to the road, an eventually we veer left to go down a muddy path to the sturdy bridge over Heathy Lea Brook.

Once over the bridge we negotiate the very steep steps up to the road, pleased that we weren't doing these downhill as they are muddy and slippery. At the busy road we cross over then it is only a short walk back to the cars in the car park.

Surprisingly we have made far better time than we anticipated and are able to pause for a chat before it is time to set off again. Our next walk will be our last before Christmas intervenes so we have fingers crossed for good weather.

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