Monday, 23 March 2015


Well, it happened again. Cancelled walks - this time due to my mother falling and being hospitalised - and a long wait before we are able to get out again. Then PC succumbs to the recent bug/chest infection which means choosing something steady.

So we park up at Upper Burbage Bridge after passing coach-loads of school children - must be that time of year again when Geography teachers get to introduce their pupils to the Great Outdoors. It's actually quite chilly and murky this morning, although when I left home the sun was trying to shine. Fingers crossed the weather will improve.

Plenty of layers, then, as a guard against the cold, after which we need to restrain Mollie who is more than eager to go.

We cross the road and walk along the verge to the level path that is part of the Sheffield Country Walk. A woolly-legged grouse scuttles off in front of us as we do our usual catch-up talk. When we come to the rise up onto the first part of the edge we have to be careful due to the large stones and boulders that appear to be ready to be used for path repairs.

Once over these we climb up onto the start of the edge with the wide rocky slabs of gritstone and peaty puddles. We very quickly arrive at the trig point but the view, usually so good, is disappointing. A widespread murk covers everything in sight. PC gamely takes a few photos, though, before we set off along the edge.

This is oh-so-familiar, we have lost count of the number of times we have walked here, but it makes for steady - if uneven - walking which is ideal for PC. We are fairly early and the usual crowds have yet to arrive so we pretty much have the paths to ourselves.

We walk on for a while before deciding to sit on one of the rocky outcrops for a coffee and to admire the - well, the murk actually. Spiced vanilla latte again, which is lovely though a little on the thick side today. No idea why, maybe too much milk to water, but it goes down well.

As we continue we consider the best options. PC doesn't really feel up to a long haul uphill which would be the case if we drop off the edge (not literally!) and walk up the road, so we decide that after lunch we will turn back, descend a little way and hopefully not lose too much height.

Our lunch stop is familiar, yes, we even have our favourite eating places up here, where we can admire the view along the edge (not quite as murky now) and keep a little sheltered from the gentle breeze.

Sandwiches, coffee and pre-Easter hot cross buns, but this time with fresh cream and jam filling. Yum. Mollie devours her biscuits and drinks out of her new, collapsible water bowl.

Then it is back on with our gear and retracing our steps. Unsurprisingly there are now loads of people out walking so it is good when we find a descent a little south of Stanage Plantation  along what seems to be a stream bed, but is actually a path that just happens to drain water from the top.

Soon we are walking through the dry, rusty bracken beneath the Edge and can see the climbers scaling the cliffs. The path comes and goes, in places it is indistinct, but it is uninterrupted walking. At last we see an incline and decide to go up it to avoid PC having to slog up the road further on.

A few steps later and we are back on the top, with minimal effort, but after a short distance we once again choose to go down and find a way to skirt the uppermost point where the trig point is along with a lot of people. We're successful, and make our way through the bracken and around rocks to emerge on a broad path which takes us to some roadside parking.

We cross the road and walk along it until we can cut across and go through the gate at Fiddler's Elbow, which suits Mollie much more than road walking.

It isn't far now and in no time we are back at the cars. PC is in fine shape, the walk hasn't been strenuous and she hasn't had a relapse so it has all been worth while. Just a pity about the views.


Well we've managed it, the only wet (very wet!) day in a week of clear skies. Nice to see we haven't lost the knack.

Mollie is back with us today as we meet in the comparatively large car park at Over Haddon. We've only ever parked in the upper section as there have never been many cars when we've walked, but we can imagine it gets pretty full at the weekend. Of course it is a Pay and Display but it also has the benefit of toilets that are open.

Once we've togged up - waterproofs from the start today - we set off down the steep road to Lathkill Dale with the rain running in rivulets by our feet.

At the foot of the road we come to the River Lathkill which, no surprises, is flowing swiftly. It looks lovely despite the starkness of the winter landscape, and with the added addition of snowdrops on its scrubby banks. In fact, today turns out to be a very snowdroppy walk as we see them everywhere.

After some photos we cross over the clapper bridge and head upwards through the trees on the distinct track. This turns a sharp right then takes us higher still until we go through a gate and into a field which, thankfully, is devoid of cattle!

We cross the field and head towards the farm of Meadow Place Grange, once a monastic holding (see previous blog post) where we go through another gate and through a muddy yard. We then head for the track on our left which is relatively dry, unlike the muddy field path ahead. Glad we aren't going that way today.

As we walk along the farmer approaches with his tractor so we step aside out of his way. He waves his thanks as he passes and as I turn to see what PC is up to I see, for the first time despite looking for years, the distinctive outlines of Conksbury Medieval Village on the opposite hillside. Trees have obscured our view before though it is probably more obvious if walking from the opposite direction.

The link below gives the English Heritage listing for the site with more information.
I have tried to find an aerial photo of the site but sadly had no success.

We continue along the track to the road, which tends to be quite busy for a small rural road, and go down it a little way before hopping onto a track on our right. We walk along a little way through some trees to a gate but decide to turn back as this clearly leads towards Alport and that isn't in our plan for the day.

Back at the road we walk downhill towards the impressive Conksbury Bridge and once at the far side we make a bee-line for the benches. They are wet but slightly sheltered from behind, and I have brought a large umbrella with just this scenario in mind. So, beneath the brolly we have a nip from PC's secret flask (the last of the Cointreau), a cup of coffee and two of today's buns (which are quite small, honest).

Sadly, despite appearances to the contrary, they are not up to the standard expected. They are quite dry and in need of a quick zap in the microwave. Not that it stops us eating them.

So with us set up and Mollie having had some biscuits we put down the brolly and take the path at the side of the Lathkill. There are a few walkers about now, but this is a lovely path which opens up to lovely views up the river. There are a pair of swans in the distance and moorhens bobbing around.

We scramble up the slippery slope on our right to find a makeshift seat on a fallen tree (been here before) and up comes the brolly again as we settle down for lunch proper. And it's a good job we have the brolly too as the heavens open and it absolutely pours down.

Salad, sandwiches, coffee and the last two buns which leave us with a sense of disappointment. Ah well, we'll know for next time.

By the time we have finished eating the rain does ease a little so we carefully step down the slope and back onto the path. Now we follow the river and as the path climbs up I avoid looking at the young cows, then we take care on the downward stretch and the limestone underfoot can be very slippery when wet.
We aren't far from the clapper bridge now but we still have the delights of huge clumps of snowdrops to enjoy. Then it is just the steady trudge up the steep hill and back to the car park.
Naturally, as soon as we are ready to leave the rain stops, and by the time I am half way home the sun even starts to shine. A fairly typical day's walk for us!