Walk Diary Wednesday 7 March 2018 Weather, 6°C. Fair.
Stone Centre, Middleton Depart 10 a.m. 6 ¾ miles. Leader: Gerry White
No. on walk 21
Nice to be out walking once more, now that most of the snow and ice has all but disappeared, although we did find several large drifts along the way. Some of the hillsides and walls were highlighted by the snow blown up against them, good to see but glad and hopefully that’s the lot for this season. Numbers a little down on our usual turnout as several members were at a funeral, supporting one of our regular walkers in his bereavement.
Slightly overcast as we set off, west along the High Peak Trail to Middleton Top visitor centre, but as the day wore on it became quite sunny and several degrees warmer. From the visitor centre we continued along the trail, leaving it at the first bend to take the most direct footpath to Hopton, stopping for our first break just before reaching the road at Carsington reservoir. Great views looking across the road to the hillside known as Soldier’s Knoll, at this point, most of us didn’t realise that we would be climbing up to a point just beyond it, gaining Stainsbro’ Lane at Rough Pitty Side. After a further climb up the lane, we took the path, along the tops, to Callow, it was here we found the deepest snow drifts, some still up to four feet deep, even after the recent thaw.
On reaching Callow Lane we walked nearly its entire length eastwards. At Upper House Farm, we stopped to look over a wall into a small paddock to marvel at the sturdiness of some newly born lambs, mostly twins with their mums in attendance. After along downhill stretch along the lane, we left it for the footpath below Round Meadow Farm and after passing Pittywood Farm, we stopped on a rocky outcrop for a delightful lunch, where the sun burst through the thin layer of cloud to warm us, it remained sunny for the rest of the day.
Our way was now through the town of Wirksworth, firstly walking north to Warmbrook and then following a series of paths and alleyways to pass by the ancient parish church of St. Mary. We stopped to admire the remains of a medieval Cruck Truss house, it’s frame, pictured, preserved in the wall of a later building.
We entered onto Coldwell Street and ambled down to the entrance of The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, taking a sloping permissive path on the western side of the rail station, with good views over the waiting rolling stock stabled there, waiting for the new visitor season to begin that hopefully will be around Easter time. The path brought us up onto the B5036 which we followed it for a way, turning left to Ravenstor Station, continuing back to the Stone Centre beyond, where about half of us stopped for a cuppa in the delightful Gastro Cafe, the rest retiring to their cars in the car park just around the corner. A grand day out, with several good climbs to blow the cobwebs away, I am told a total days ascent of over one thousand feet.
And at last a mystery solved thanks to Ian.D.'s research, the pictured piece of signalling equipment which currently stands at the top of Middleton Incline, used to be at the bottom with a rope or chain laid by the track connecting it to the engine house at the top, so when there was a wagon ready to be pulled up they would inform the engine house thus.G. go S. stop B. back. Makes sense doesn't it?