Reports of Previous Walks 2020
11 March – A Circular Walk from Ashover to Lumsdale
Fifteen of us met up in the car park next to Ashover village hall on a pleasant early spring day for a circular walk that would take us via Ravensnest to Tansley, on to Lumsdale and a cross country return to Ashover.
We started out on the walk at 10:40, as several members of the group were delayed due to a road traffic accident on the A38 at Abbey Hill. Our route took us SW through Ashover past the 15th century church of All Saints and a meeting hall on the opposite side of the road. Turning right off the road took us onto a track that gradually climbed above some mine workings and a large chimney to Ravensnest, where there were far ranging views of the surrounding countryside and Ogston reservoir. This track met Holestone Gate Road at Red House Farm. From here, we headed W along Allen Lane to a FP on the left, which headed SW across the fields to Knobhall Lane. To reach the road, we had to skirt the run-off from a large pile of slurry, which fortunately, everyone managed to negotiate successfully. Continuing on the FP opposite, we stopped shortly afterwards behind a tall stone wall for our morning break. This spot gave lovely views of Riber Castle directly ahead, the wind turbines at Carsington and Crich Stand off to the left.
After a short break, we continued along the FP towards Tansley. Unfortunately, the ground which was remarkably dry on the upper slopes soon gave way to some wet and marshy ground on the lower slopes. Skirting the edge of the sports field, brought us into the village of Tansley opposite a pleasant looking pub. Following the road NW alongside the pub brought us to a side road on the left, which took us to a FP that followed a pleasant wooded stream with cascades and ponds. It was here, that some lucky members of the group saw a kingfisher sitting on a tree. This FP eventually came out on the road that passes through Lumsdale. We followed this road N to a FP on the right which took us past a striking waterfall, ponds and industrial ruins that make up the rich heritage of this once thriving industrial valley. On reaching the head of the lower pond, the group sat on benches and a low wall for lunch. From here we continued N through the valley to the middle pond, where we crossed the stream on some stepping stones and headed NE uphill on a track through some woodland above Lumsdale quarry. This FP brought us out on Foxholes Lane, which we followed until a LH turning to Packhorse Farm. After a short distance, we left the farm track and followed a muddy FP that took us around the outside of a caravan park and then E across some fields to Lant Lane and then Holestone Gate Road. Turning left onto the road, we headed NW to some radio masts, where we took a FP on the right and headed downhill through a pleasant woodland to the track at Greenend. It was on this descent that we had good views of Ashover and the church spire of All Saints. Turning left onto the lane and then right onto a FP across some fields brought us to the pleasant wooded valley of the River Amber. It was a steep descent on rough steps cut into the hillside to the river, which we crossed on another set of stepping stones. A FP to the right then took us to the road through the village, which we followed back to the car park.
The walk was 8 ½ miles long and took us approximately 4 ¼ hrs as we were back by 15:00. I think most people found it to be a pleasant walk through some nice countryside with the added adventure of two sets of stepping stones to cross.
26 February – Thorpe to Alsop Station Circular
After braving large puddles across the road whilst driving to the car park at Thorpe, 13 walkers faced rivulets of water flowing down Spend Lane. There was evidence on the verges of snow showers in the night which increased towards the summit of Thorpe Pasture. There were good views of the snow on the surrounding hills. Snow covered the fields as we left the lane and headed towards Hollington Barn. In places the snow had drifted to lie up to 5 inches deep as we approached Bostern Grange Farm and further on a cold wind drove snowflakes into our faces for a short time.
Dropping down to New Hanson Grange the wind died away and crossing the A515 we were able to stop for a late coffee break at some picnic tables on the Tissington Trail. There were only a few traces of snow on the trail and we made speedy progress under blue skies and in sunshine down to Tissington for a lunch stop.
There were few visitors in Tissington as we made our way through the village and to the Avenue. Recrossing the A515 we entered Washbrook Lane and cut a corner off across a field. This and the remaining few fields back to Spend Lane were not unduly muddy. We were soon washing our boots in the rivulets as we retraced our steps down the lane to the car park. We had covered around 8 miles.
19 February – Friden to Parsley Hay Circular
Because of the continuing rainy weather and poor forecast a short walk mainly along trails was planned. Eleven walkers set out north in good time from Friden hoping to get as far as possible before the rain. We made extremely good progress and by 11 30 had gone nearly 3 miles under the Buxton road and reached Parsley Hay.
Many took the opportunity to don their wet weather gear which was just as well since the rain increased to a persistent drizzle with a strong cold wind at times blowing from the west.
There were a number of dog walkers and cyclists as we tramped down the Tissington Trail but the rain never increased to anything more than a drizzle. Where the trail crossed the road to Hartington the well preserved Signal Box reminded us that this Trail was the LNWR rail route between Buxton and Ashbourne. This opened in 1899 and closed 70 years later. The Peak District National Park bought the route in 1971 and turned it into a trail for walkers and cyclists.
Passing Hartington we had to watch out for the footpath to Newhaven but this was well signposted and we climbed the embankment and stile. The path to the A515 was not very muddy although there were sheep with quite large lambs in the first field. We quickly reached the road. It was a short walk then along roads to the car park at Friden. We had reached our goal by lunchtime after a walk of just over 7 miles.
12 February – Melbourne to Breedon on the Hill Circular
In spite of rumours that there were problems at the approach to Swarkestone Bridge 13 members appeared to have had no problems reaching Melbourne and were able to set off in good time through Castle Square. Before reaching the church in Church Lane a path led around the cemetery then across the King’s Newton Road to join the Cloud Trail. The sun was shining and the wind which had felt cold in Melbourne was a few degrees higher as we made quick progress SE along the Trail. Near Wilson there was a bench and fence for a coffee stop.
To avoid a large muddy field on our usual route we left the Trail a little earlier than normal. By a bridge at Tonge there was an exit up steps which took us east to a road into Tonge. Walking into the village over another bridge over the Cloud Trail we found the road to Breedon on the Hill and could soon see the iconic Priory Church of St Mary and St Hardulph. This sits on the top of a massive limestone hill one side of which has been quarried away leaving a sheer face. The Church is set within the site of an old iron-age hill fort called the Bulwarks and a later old priory and has important Saxon carvings. Cutting through a small housing estate we re-joined the old route and reached Main Street. Heading west there was a triangle of grass with a number of benches which was ideal for lunch.
A little further along Main Street a foot path took us into the golf course and up the hill to meet the Park Dale track. Turning left the track to a minor road was a little muddy. A short way along the road we took the footpath north over the fields back to Melbourne. There were the sad remains of a tawny owl in one field. In some of the gateways and around stile there were slippery patches of mud which had been churned up by cattle.
The sun was shining and the sky was blue over Melbourne pool as we completed the walk of just over 8 miles.
5 February – Birchover Quarry to Alport Circular
The silver trunks of the birches glimmered in the slight mist as 10 walkers crossed Stanton Moor by the trig point and approached the Nine Ladies Stone Circle from the south west. Turning left we crossed fields to the Lees Road where we walked downhill into Stanton Village. Some dewy benches and walls in a playground provided seating for an early coffee stop for us before we continued down-hill past the grounds of Stanton Hall. Opposite the Lodge a footpath led across a field to an old muddy track between two hedges and across a field. A short flight of steps took us down to the road at Harthill. Turning left we saw an old lime kiln hidden away in the vegetation. A short distance south along this fairly busy road a side road west took us past Harthill Hall. Further along a footpath led through a static caravan site and along to the road at Alport.
Snowdrops were in flower on the steep banks by the fast flowing river when we crossed a stone footbridge in Alport. Making our way up to the main road the route branched off again by the side of the river. At the bridge at the entrance to Bradford Dale we stopped at a favourite spot for lunch in the sunshine.
Taking the Limestone Way south east we found the fields a little soggy as we made our way up hill. Passing Harthill Moor Farm and crossing the road we could see the rocky spires of Robin Hood’s Stride. After walking through the gap we quickly descended to the road. The track up to the Druid’s Inn was at first steep, muddy, slippery and challenging but gradually improved. Across the road at the Inn the track was steep but drier and we were soon back at the car park. We had completed nearly 7.5 miles.
29 January – A Circular Walk from Alstonefield
Twelve of us met up on a mild winter’s day at the car park in Alstonefield for a walk that would take us into Dovedale, along Wolfscote Dale and Narrowdale, around Wetton Hill to Wetton and back to Alstonefield.
From the car park in Alstonefield, the route took us E along Lode Lane to a track on the left that headed NE past the youth hostel in Overdale and on down a steep bank to Coldeaton Bridge on the River Dove. Unfortunately, the winter sun was low in the sky, leaving the valley walls in shadow, and therefore not showing the rocky walls of the valley at their best. However, the weir at Coldeaton Bridge gave a good photo opportunity for the photographers amongst us.
We followed the River Dove N and then on into Wolfscote Dale where there were some nice rock formations at Peaseland Rocks and Drabber Tor. As we walked along the river there was a pair of dippers that flew up and down, and one that posed for a considerable time on a rock in the river. It was along Wolfscote Dale that we stopped by the side of the river for our morning break.
At the head of Wolfscote Dale we turned SW across the footbridge to follow a track that took us into Narrowdale and then onto a road that went past Gateham Grange. A short distance after the Grange we left the road to take a FP that headed W and then SW across the fields and moorland around the first peak of Wetton Hill. It was then a stiff climb uphill to the col between the two peaks of Wetton Hill and on into the village of Wetton, where we stopped on the village green for our lunch. Unfortunately, there was quite a chill breeze blowing, so we did not linger too long over our break.
After lunch, we headed NE out of Wetton on Buxton Road. This took us past the Old Police House, where there were some interesting wooden sculptures in the garden that scandalised and shocked some of the group with their explicit form. Taking a FP on the right took us to Windledale Hollow and Furlong Lane. Here we turned right and then took a FP on the LHS across the fields near a small holding to another road, which we crossed to a FP on the opposite side. This took us uphill to the playing fields on the outskirts of Alstonefield. It was then a case of following the lane and road back to the car park.
The walk was 8 miles long and took us approximately 4 hrs as we were back by 14:15. Despite the heavy rain over the winter, the route was relatively mud free, and we only had one significant stile to climb over. This made for a pleasant walk on a mild winter’s day, and significantly aided our progress.
22 January – Mapleton Circular
9 walkers started promptly from the main street in Mapleton to cross the bridge over the Dove. At New Year this bridge is the scene for stalwarts jumping off into the water 30 feet below. Turning into the park of Okeover Hall we passed the Hall and started the ascent towards Martin Hill. In the farm yard near the top the farm track to the left led up to the ridge where we turned right along the gated Limestone Way. Here there were views over the valley with Minninglow in the far distance.
Descending slightly at Woodhouses a rough wall provide a stopping place for coffee before the Limestone Way took us across a field into the valley, across a brook and up the other side to the road at Coldwall Farm. Through the farm the path went straight down a field rather than the zig-zag track to Coldwall Bridge which dates back to 1726 then up to Thorpe. Here instead of taking the usually muddy track below the Church we stayed on the road through the village. Turning into a narrow road to the right we climbed steeply up to Broadlowash then crossed Spend Lane to the footpath to the Tissington Trail.
We took advantage of the seating and tables at a picnic site nearby for lunch before heading south on the Trail. We made fast progress down the trail where there was much evidence of tree thinning activities. A flight of steps down took us to the uphill path towards Mapleton. We crossed the large Caravan Site then headed down to the village. There had been some muddy patches particularly near stiles and gateways. Although it had been a little overcast the weather had been dry and surprisingly still and mild for our 7.8 mile walk.
15 January – Duffield to Hazelwood Circular
In spite of recent heavy downpours there were blue skies and snowdrops in bud by Duffield Church car park. To avoid the saturated fields by the side of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway it was decided to walk to Hazelwood by way of the higher ground of the Chevin Golf Course. To this event 15 walkers set out in a more northerly direction through Duffield to join the Midshires Way up the Chevin. Chevin is an ancient word for a chase used for hunting.
Above the Golf Course a track led to the Hazelwood Road and we were able to join the original route where we stopped for coffee. Looking down towards the Ecclesbourne valley we could see a very muddy arable field that we had avoided. The footpath east to Nether Lane, although high on the hillside, was muddy and slippery as was the path on the other side of Nether Lane down to the Wirksworth Road
On the other side of the valley the route was generally less muddy as we walked up to Gunhills Road. Turning off at Hole Farm the path led up to Windley Hill where there were good views over the valley. At Windleyhill Farm which had once been derelict it was good to see some of the outbuildings had been restored into modern dwellings. Crossing fields with sheep we met the newer Centenary Way and stopped for lunch in the gated entry to an old ruined hall.
Continuing uphill through Champion Farm we crossed Cumberhills Road and before reaching Quarndon Common turned off east over grassy fields towards Duffield. This seemed a better option than the arable fields below Bunker’s Hill. We were soon crossing Broadway and taking a series of jitties to the A6. It was then over the railway footbridge back to the Church. We were all rather mud spattered but had enjoyed the dry, bright weather for our 8.5 mile walk.
8 January – A Circular Walk from Ambergate Station Car Park
Fourteen of us met up on a mild, overcast winters day at the station car park in Ambergate. From the car park, the route took us towards the Hurt Arms and then south down the A6 to the pretty little church of St. Anne’s. Here we turned down Holly Lane and crossed the River Derwent on the road bridge. The debris in the lower branches of trees bore testament to how high the river had risen in the flood back in early November. Once over the bridge we turned right on the track that headed west into Beggarswell Wood. This was quite a stiff climb uphill and gave everyone a good cardiovascular workout after the Christmas break. After a short spell on the flat, we took a footpath on the right and headed downhill to the small pond in the wood. This is a pleasant spot to sit, but as it was still too early for a break we continued NE downhill through the wood to come out on the northern edge of the old wire works. It was then NE through Shining Cliff Wood, a pleasant deciduous woodland where charcoal burners such as Betty Kenny once lived and worked in the 17th and 18th centuries. An old yew in the wood is known as the Betty Kenny tree because it is said that whilst she worked, she laid her baby in a hollow bough of the yew tree and sang the lullaby ‘rock-a-bye baby’ to the child. Once out of the wood, we stopped overlooking Alderwasley Park for our morning break.
After our well deserved rest, we continued NW along the FP, which gave us nice views of Alderwasley Hall School and the church amongst the trees. After a short stretch on the road we headed through Kennel wood, another nice deciduous woodland that sloped to a stream on our LHS. This FP brought us to Alderwasley, where we crossed the road and took the FP on the opposite side that headed NE to Hankin Farm. Once over the brow of the hill, we had good views of Crich Stand straight in front of us. Heading to the A6, we crossed the River Derwent on the busy road bridge and headed uphill on the side road to Cromford Canal. We followed the canal N for a short distance to a FB where we stopped on the opposite bank for our lunch. The walls of an old derelict building provided seating for most of the group in this quiet, sheltered spot. After lunch, we headed SE and took the FP through Duke’s Quarry. This brought us to a road heading uphill into Crich Carr, which we passed through on roads and lanes that took us to a steep flight of steps that lead to open fields to the W of Crich. Using the small underground reservoir as a landmark brought us into the outskirts of Crich. From here, it was all downhill. Taking the road S through the village brought us to a FP that continued S across the fields to the B5035. After a short distance on this road we took a lane on the left, which we followed to a FP on the right that lead into the woods on Crich Chase. Dropping down through the woods brought us back to the Cromford canal, which we followed for a short distance before heading to the A6 and back to the car park.
The walk was about 9 miles long and took us approximately 4 ½ hrs. Despite it being overcast all day, it was relatively mild and we were able to enjoy the distant views. All-in-all, a very pleasant day on which to be out and about.
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