Amber Valley Ramblers Derbyshire

Leading the way in Amber Valley

FOUR CHURCHES WALK – 9 miles / 14.5 kilometres(amended March 2017)

.

A walk to four churches – Brassington, Ballidon, Parwich and Bradbourne

Start: Brassington Quarry car park. . Post code: DE4 4HA

Grid ref: SK 233 547 on Explorer OL24 Peak District White Peak area

.

1.Bear right from the car park then turn left down towards the village, before taking the curiously named road – Maddock Lake. This leads to the church gate on the right.

.

St James’, Brassington was first in existence in 1281 and was later restored and enlarged in 1881 with a seating capacity of 220. It is now a Grade 2 listed building. The original, very narrow (only 6 feet) Norman south aisle remains. The church stands in a slightly elevated position looking grandly over this old lead mining village.

.

Walk through the churchyard, past the front entrance, to a footpath sign, turn right and climb up to the road that runs above it. Then turn left and take the path on the right which rises gently and diagonally left cross fields. Wide ranging views of hills westwards to Dovedale and beyond emerge as height is gained. Walk through fields and stiles, turning left on reaching a green lane. Descend gradually, with the outcrop of Rainster rocks appearing in fields over to the right. On reaching metalled road (Pasture Lane), continue for about half a mile down to a T-junction, which has road signs indicating Ashbourne and Bakewell. (2.miles).

.

2.Cross the road and go through the gate opposite. Follow the gently rising track which twists its way upwards. The ground levels and a lone standing stone comes into view. Turn left off the track and pass by on its left before aiming for a stile in the wall 100 yards away, and begin to walk downhill. Descend to lonely Ballidon Church, which comes into view down below.

.

The original church was built in the 13th century and is dedicated to All Saints, now being a Grade 1 listed building. This small church, with no churchyard, stands alone with no surrounding population and is now closed for public worship. However, in the 14th century, it was part of Ballidon Manor, any evidence of which has long since disappeared, along with the 17 or so houses which were believed to have been inhabited by about 100 people. Standing here today in this quiet spot, all this is an interesting test of the imagination.

.

3.Continue west behind the church on the concrete path to the road. Taking care (there can be quarry traffic during the week), turn left looking for a signpost a few yards across the road tucked in between a hedgerow. This indicates the route to Parwich. Walk through four fields, though stiles, and over small bridges, to Highway Lane – about half a mile. Turn right here and ascend the road for about 440 yards to take a footpath on the left. Onward to descend fields steeply with a fine view of Parwich developing below. Take a left turn into the village at the bottom of the hill at the second signpost. St Peter’s spire is the guide now and, on reaching the church, an irresistible seat awaits under its neighbouring tree.

.

This church is dedicated to St Peter and is a Grade 2 listed building. The church was originally a Chapel in the parish of Ashbourne ad was made the parish church of Parwich in 1640. Interestingly, built into the south wall of the tower are three 12th century grave slabs. They were discovered above the west window of the old north aisle and are believed to be the grave covers of Crusaders after their return from the Holy Land. There are two Millennium widows on the south side which are inscribed with the names of all the children who were living in the parish on 1 January 2000.

.

4.Turn left west of the church, across the road there is a signpost pointing straight ahead, crossing a stream and with houses on the right. Aim for a partially hidden stile in the hedge to the right of the garage doors facing. Go up the narrow and short green lane to emerge into open fields. Turn left as signposted, and climb the hill to a stile in the hedge at the top. (4 miles).

.

Pause for breath and, from this height and angle, there’s a lovely retrospective view of the village, in which St Peter’s is prominent.

.

5.Through the stile at the top, electric wires appear, these are the next objective, turning immediately left on a faint path when level with the electricity pole. Walk diagonally right now, passing through two stiles, with a stone barn appearing on your left. Proceed straight ahead though one gate and then through two sets of stone gateposts, keeping to the right-hand field boundary. Soon after the final pair, go over a stile on the right. A tall, lone tree comes into view, keep to the left of this and aim for a wide gap between hawthorn bushes. Maintain the high ground by keeping to the left field boundary to find a stile ahead. Over this, and now with the hedge on your right, descend gently through a succession of fields and stiles with Gorse Hill Farm ahead in the distance.

.

6.At the bottom on reaching a gate and stile, bear slightly right across the field to cross Bletch Brook via a footbridge. Continue up to a foot gate in line with the summit of Gorse Hill. Bear half left of the summit, contouring around the hill to pass through two sets of old gateposts, then descending south to cross a stile and stream. Continue straight ahead through a young plantation, rising to meet a metal gate and stile. Ahead, along the right-hand boundary, to pass through a foot gate in the corner of the field. Follow the left hedge for about 30 yards to another foot gate on the left. After passing through this, you are looking down a long field, the way ahead is now clear. Below, the road to be crossed is just visible along with Mill Lane, the road up to Bradbourne. Beyond is the squat Norman tower of Bradbourne Church and, on the skyline, turbines at Carsington.

.

7.Go down the field, aiming for the centre of the field that runs parallel to the road up to Bradbourne, bearing slightly right towards the bottom to find the hidden gap and stile in the hedge that leads to an old concrete bridge to the road. Crossing here, there is a narrow gap in the hedge opposite with a stile. Ascend three fields, keeping straight ahead to join the road that goes into the village of Bradbourne, and the church of All Saints. The broad shoulder of Haven Hill, usually littered with sheep, overlooks the village on the right. (6 miles).

.

The original church was built on the 13th century and is now a Grade 1 listed building. As often the case with rural parishes, the church seats 100 for a previous population of only 268. Although there was once a Bradbourne Manor, it was never in the patronage of the local lord and the Bishop of Derby is now patron. The churchyard has the remains of a Saxon Cross dating back to AD 800.

.

Film and stage enthusiasts will want to pay respect to the grave of Alan Bates (and some family) at the rear of the church. It has a distinctive covering of heather.

.

Walk past the church, aiming for the phone box at the end of the main road, turning right down Brackendale Lane for half a mile, count the footpaths on the left until reaching the third footpath signpost, there is a brook on your right which has a small footbridge. Do not cross the footbridge but, instead, turn left off the road to round a thicket of Blackthorn.Cross over the tricky stile and walk up the field passing around the back of the farmhouse (Crowtrees Farm), using two stone water troughs as your guide, Go through the small gate to cross a small stream. Turn left across the next field, following the power lines overhead, to another stile. Pass under the power lines to a stile, and head for another one. A stone barn comes into view and the rim of hills around Brassington now appears in the distance. Aim for the barn where there is a stile to its left, which leads onto Nether Lane. (8 miles).

.

Nether Lane’s concreted surface enters the outskirts of Brassington. Turn right into the village along Church Street to return to start.

.

The Amber Valley Group of the Rambler’s Association gratefully acknowledges the kind donation by the Pilgrim family of Crich, which enabled the production of the walk leaflet. The details above have been amended from the original printed leaflet to reflect changes in topography. Dec. 2014

Thursday, July 19, 2018