Walk Diary Sunday 25 March 2018 Weather, 8°C. Fine.
Winster Top C.P. Depart 10 a.m. 10 ½ miles Leader: Martin P.
No. on walk 14
An invigorating walk on a fine and sunny day, although it felt a bit cool at times, but such was the terrain, that a few layers were removed along the way. A total ascent of over sixteen hundred feet, during the length of the whole walk. A clear day also meant that we had good views over many parts of this area of Derbyshire, steeped in history and local folklore. Grand halls and houses, fast flowing rivers and streams, old quarries and lead mines all contributed to a great day out for us all.
From the car park we walked south, for a short way, along the Birchover Road to pick up the Limestone Way, which we followed to Harthill Moor Farm, where we rounded the lower contours of Castle Ring. Along the way we passed by the rocky outcrop which is Robin Hood Stride and also, pictured another rocky ridge, in which is hewn a Hermits Cave. We didn’t visit it and as with many walks, recently, we passed it by. Talking to other members of our group, I found that not many knew of its existence, let alone have actually seen it, I must remedy that one day. Just after this and across a couple of fields, the much more visible four standing stones, pictured, no access to these but they are quite prominent and a good example of their type.
Shortly after rejoining the Limestone Way at Round Wood, we could hear the well struck peal of eight bells sounding great through the thin morning air, of All Saints parish church below us in Yougreave. They were ringing, calling worshippers for the eleven a.m. service, also a reminder to us that it was our morning break time, we settled down for this on the hillside overlooking the village, the bells now silent.
We moved on, first crossing over Bleakley Dyke, easier now that some good crossing stones and new gate have been added to this section of the Way. Soon we were crossing over the River Bradford and then walking north east to take the higher path above Bradford Dale to Alport. Along this ridge we expected to find and we did, a breed of rare sheep, Balwen Welsh Mountain Sheep, almost extinct in the 1950’s with just one ram surviving. Good breeding and husbandry over the last decades has meant that the future of this miniature mountain sheep breed has been stabilised. They are instantly recognisable with a white blaze from forehead to nose, four white feet and a white swish on the tail which is normally not docked.
At Alport we crossed over the point where the fast flowing River Lathkill joins the Bradford, to walk up Dark Lane, turning right through a very muddy gateway to walk to the hilltop above Haddon Hall. We turned right again walking through Haddon Plantation, passing by the deep blue lagoons of old limestone quarries to cross the B5036 and through Tolls Wood. Then to make our way toward the spire of Holy Trinity church in Stanton in the Peak, to take our lunch break in the nearby recreational area, seated comfortably at the picnic tables there.
With three quarters of our journey complete we now made our way up along Lees Road and onto Stanton Moor, where we dallied awhile looking at the standing stones called the Nine Ladies. From here we made our way across the moor to pass through the camp site at Barn Farm, a few Pea hens watched us pass from their lofty position on a nearby roof. We continued the same line towards Winster which we could see ahead, however, it was still on the other side of the dale, so we made our way steeply down through Stoop Wood and then up into the heart of Winster Village.
We had become a little spread out over this last part of the terrain and now regrouped before making our way up through the village to the top car park, arriving there by three fifteen, all aglow after the last little bit of exertion. Great, Martin and thank you.