Stanage

Monday, 24 April 2017

EYAM, FOOLOW AND BRETTON


We meet up in Eyam's central car park across from the museum and are surprised to find it empty despite there being plenty of people about. Then we see the sign for the free car park (honesty box for donations) so we swiftly move.

We have both dogs today, Mollie and Scamp, and they both seem eager to be off. It is rather dull, and the forecast isn't brilliant, so we make sure we're prepared although we aren't likely to be doing much offroad walking.


 We drop down to the village and turn right. We've never been to this part of the village before but it is rather pretty. We spy on path on the opposite side of the road, Tideswell Lane, though it is -these days at least- merely a rough track.


We have soon left the few houses behind us and walk along the rough track between the limestone walls. There are fields at either side and some rather good views too. The path undulates and curves around a little, but it is fairly easy walking.
When the lane ends we take a sharp right onto Foolow lane, avoiding the busy A623. Almost immediately, on our right, the grass verge is covered with low growing white flowers. They take a bit of tracking down to identify them, but they turn out to be Creeping Comfrey, or Symphytum grandiflorum.
 Symphytum grandiflorum - Graham Calow - Footpath off Park Road, Cosby - 04 April 2016
We continue down the lane towards Foolow. We have never actually been here before and find it to be a really pretty village.

There is a rather good looking pub that is just opening up for the lunchtime trade.
And a really quaint old chapel....
...which sits across the road from the green and duck pond.
We take the right hand lane, Bradshaw Lane, immediately after the small chapel, which gives us a long but steady road walk. But we see our first spring lambs in the fields.
It is quite a long road, and the last part of it is pretty steep, but we crest the top and clamber over a stile to sit with our backs to a wall and a view ahead while we eat lunch. It's quite chilly though, so we don't exactly linger.

The road continues along and comes to the familiar Sir William Hill Road.
At the end of this road, or rather, track, we turn right. We still have tarmac underfoot but the road isn't a busy one. This is Edge Road, and we pass Mompesson's Well, pausing briefly to reflect on the events of the plague for which Eyam is famous.
As the road bends we decide to take the path through the woods on our left. And since the sun has decided to come out it turns out to be a good choice. We cross Hollow Brook at the bottom of the woods and climb up again past an inquisitive horse in an adjacent field.
We have some good views over the village as we walk along the rutted tractor track, and soon we are on a tiny side road that drops down to the village centre.
From here it is a short stroll through the village and back to the car park. We have done a fair amount of road walking today but it has actually been quite pleasant and we have enjoyed visiting places we have somehow missed in the past.

Monday, 3 April 2017

ROUND HATHERSAGE WITH THE DYNAMIC DUO!

We've extra company this week. Joining us and our regular doggy pal, Mollie (border collie), is Scamp (not a border collie!!!) Scamp, a rescue dog, belongs to PC's daughter and her partner and today his usual job of joining his master at work has been postponed, so he's coming with us instead.
We park in the car park near the leisure centre and pay the maximum charge. Last time we did this walk we did the same and needed the extra time. We head down the alleyway at the side of the car park and into the village, crossing the road and turning right.

We follow the narrow lane between the houses then turn left, hunting for a path on our right to take us up towards the church.



There are workmen in the church, not that we were going to visit, but we do pause at the parking meter next to Little John's grave. 

We go through the gate at the end and go left until we reach a gate into a muddy field. Nothing for it, we head through the gloopy mess.

The ​path swings right and up to a lane. Perhaps we could have avoided the mud by taking a slightly different route!

We walk up the lane, pausing to admire the snowdrops and the gnarly roots of the trees growing on the bank.












When the path splits, with the right one going towards Toothill Farm, we head in that direction. There are some glorious views towards Mam Tor covered in snow!
We continue uphill, it's a little slippy underfoot but not too grim. Last time we were here we inadvertently followed a right-hand path, but this time we are prepared and keep our eyes open for one on our left. Sure enough, there it is.
We follow it uphill through the next field.
And come to a barb wire fence!
After a quick look around we follow the fence to a wall and a gate into the access land. Again, the views are superb.
We follow the path through the mood and onto a farm lane which leads, in turn, to the road up from Hatersage. We follow this until we reach the road beneath Stanage Edge.
We follow this road down aiming for the picnic site near Stanage Plantation. Here we can sit comfortably with coffee, sandwiches and buns. Or rather, early, cream filled, hot cross buns. Yum. 
We head away from our picnic, retracing our steps to the toilets.
Then leaving the views of the edge behind us we take the downward track toward North Lees Hall.
From here it's steadily downhill, and at the bottom of the sweeping driveway we turn left, clamber over an awkward stile on our right, then negotiate a rather slippery path adjacent to Cowclose with its spectacular metal stag sculpture.
From here it's a pretty direct route across the fields, slippery in places but the sun is out which makes it so much better.

Of course, we aren't long before we are walking back through the churchyard and through the village. And it hasn't taken us anything like as long as we had anticipated.

AN ALTERNATIVE CIRCUIT OF CRESSBROOK AND TANSLEY DALES

It's one of those beautiful spring mornings with sunshine and a clear sky. It's chilly, but great to be out. We are parked at one of our 'good' spots in a small parking bay next to the River Wye down from Monsal Head. Up there it is busy, but down here there's only one other car. There's enough to see already before we even get going. The daffodils are flowering and the views across the river are lovely.
We head, as usual, along the road towards the old mill which is now converted into an apartment complex. Here we veer right and start the steady climb up the road. It certainly starts to make us feel a bit warm, and PC pauses to remove a layer.
At the top of the lane where it hairpins we continue ahead on the rough track. Normally we would continue ahead through the gate, but this time we choose the steeply sloping right hand path up through the woods. It doesn't take us long to wonder if we've done the right thing.

Mollie may be finding the steep steps great fun, but for those of us with less bounce, they're a bit of a trial. PC removes another layer!
However, when we get to the top of the woods we are rewarded for our efforts. The fields are lush and green.

The views across to the cliffs over Ravensdale cottages are superb.
We skirt the wall and find our stile through, then we have a number of fields to cross. From the first we can see to Cressbrook dale, but I'm not in a mood to linger. There had been cows in these fields before and I want to get moving!

Fortunately, it's too early for them to be out yet, so we make it safely across this and the next few fields too before joining the track on the edge of Litton village. We walk along until we find our next path which leads us across more fields to the head of Tansley Dale.

Lunch beckons, but despite the sun it is rather chilly and we could do with some shelter. Ahead of us two ladies vacate what looks to be a perfect spot tucked under an outcrop, so we take their places.
We settle down with our sandwiches, coffee and buns, and a small warmer from the secret flask. That will need topping up soon.

With lunch over we walk down the valley to where it joins Cressbrook Dale, and we see the water. Yes, we've had a fair amount of rain recently but we hadn't quite expected there to be so much water. It's usually bone dry here, and we've only once seen it so inundated, and that was from the far end - and we hadn't been able to get through. We hope it doesn't block our way back.
The spread of water is quite extensive and we keep high up to avoid paddling.
There are ponds that look permanent, even though we know they aren't.
We head through the woods accompanied by the soothing sound of running water. The sunlight on the mossy green stones under the water is particularly stunning.
By the time we reach the narrow wooden footbridge there is quite a torrent, but at least it isn't flooded. But at the other side it is a quagmire. The farmer has clearly kept cattle on here through the bad weather, and they make full use of the footpath to access the water and shelter. Walking is really hard, and a couple of people go past us at a less cautious speed only for the man to slip down a few places in front. He gets up swiftly enough with seemingly little the worse for wear, other than muddy clothes and battered dignity.

We proceed with more caution and reach the safety of a solid track without mishap. From here we only need to walk up to join the lane at the hairpin bends then walk back along the road to the cars. It has been an excellent walk.

Monday, 6 March 2017

A LONG WAY TO HOPE CROSS

We've decided on something a bit more challenging today. For too long we've been playing safe, acutely aware of our lack of fitness and time constraints. So, enough of that, today we're making the most of it!

We squeeze into the full lay-by next to Yorkshire Bridge Inn and start off with our usual swapping session (including an old fashioned ginger beer plant). It starts to rain so we wait it out with a piece of Key Lime Pie and a drink of ginger beer. That sets us up nicely, then it's onward and onward.

We cross over the dam wall and look down it's chilly length. There's always a stiff breeze blowing here, but we suspect that there'll be little good weather today.


We turn right and set off at the side of the reservoir. We haven't gone too far before we reach the track we usually come back down on and make the decision to go up that way instead and do our walk in reverse. Well, it seems like a good idea!

We go up, through the gate at the top, and pause. Is it an age thing? We can't remember how we usually approach this point - and we've been here loads of times. The map is of minimal help, the paths on paper not quite matching those on the ground.

We strike off to the right and then veer left, eventually going through a metal gate. The first wisps of familiarity disappear as we realise we have never been here before. Never mind, it's going in the right direction, more or less.


The path is quite boggy in places, and brings us to an old derelict building. It has wonderful views, but poor access and needs a bit of work doing to bring it up to modern standards!


We head on upwards and come to the fence line beneath Win Hill. We may not be on the path we planned but we've arrived where we need to be.

From here it's a long walk following the line between moorland and forest. In places it is waterlogged, in others it is stony underfoot. 


The path undulates with some quite large dips and rises and we even get a glimmer of blue sky, but it doesn't last. The views from here, though, are superb.



Further along we have a number of options; go down, go on, go to the Roman road, go backwards and up Win Hill. The sheep scrutinize us as we quickly decide to keep going. We'll reach the Roman road soon enough, and our target is Hope Cross.


And after more walking than we recall (why are distances distorted when you do a route in reverse?) we see the cross standing aloof next to the path.



We only pause briefly to look at it before finding the path into the woods. At last we find something to sit on out of the wind to enjoy a late lunch. The Key Lime Pie and ginger beer certainly kept us going! Today's treat is scratched cinnamon swirl bun. Nice and chewy, but I would have liked more cinnamon.


Once we've done we head off again, it's too cold to linger. We're going steadily downhill now, and past the ridge and furrow land under the trees. They look very ethereal given the dark gloom of the woods here.

At the bottom we turn right through the muddy patch that was once the front yard of another derelict building. There's heavy moss growth on the old gateposts and a sense of nature reclaiming everything.




We walk through the trees, and the views open out again. It's downhill and a bit muddy, and we're surprised how far we still have to walk - this is usually behind us on the outbound stretch so it's not our usual view.



It's levellish ground though, and no challenge, especially as we still have plenty to talk about (nothing new there). But the sky is dull and we've had the best of the day. No pause when we get back to the cars, it's been a long walk and we can't hang around. But it's certainly been worth it.