“Have you been away again?” That was a question I was asked recently by a friend at my local running club after missing another training night. The answer was yes, we joined our local Ramblers group in their annual visit to the Derbyshire Peak District.
Our base for this long weekend of walking was the small market town of Bakewell, which was at the heart of the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Most notably, the town gives its name to the culinary delight that is the Bakewell Tart. It is made with shortcrust pastry, an almond topping and a sponge and jam filling. The origins of the Bakewell Tart are not clear, but a popular story is that it was first made by accident in 1820, when the landlady of the then White Horse Inn (now the Rutland Arms Hotel) left instructions for her cook to make a jam tart with an egg and almond-paste pastry base. The cook, instead of stirring the eggs and almond paste into the pastry, spread it on top of the jam. When cooked, the jam rose through the paste. The result was successful enough for it to be a popular confection at the inn. Commercial variations, usually with icing sugar on top, have spread the name. In case you were wondering, yes, I did try a slice of Bakewell Tart with an afternoon coffee. Yum!
We met up with our walking group at Millers Dale disused railway station and enjoyed a lovely walk in the autumn sunshine through Wormshill to Tideswell and back to the start via the Monsall Trail. The trees are just on the turn and when the sun did make an occasional appearance the autumn colours gave a hint of glowing. Sadly the sun did not shine enough for a full nature display.
Coffee stop at Wormshill Church
The autumn colours around Millers Dale
Top: Entrance to Tideswell Cathedral; Bottom: Tideswell Cathedral from a path above the village
A short distance from Bakewell is the village of Youlgreave, which has the distinction of being the largest village located entirely in the Peak District National Park. It sits on the River Bradford and is a mecca for walkers, as three long distance paths pass through the village. One of them, The Limestone Way, would provide part of our route for this day’s walk.
Top: Views on The Limestone Way route; Bottom left: Me, leaning on a wall; Right: Our walking group on the trail.
Clockwise from top left: Cales Dale; Waiting to climb out of Cales Dale; The hard way up.
We skirted the edge of Lathkildale via a steep slippy descent, and a short, steep climb up the other side and on to another tourist village at Monyash, another location popular with walkers cyclists and motorbike riders. This also provided our mid morning rest halt.
Clockwise from top left: Lyn sets out along Lathkildale path; Pot hole entrance; Two views along the river in Lathkildale.
Top: Bridge over the River Wye; Centre: Taking a rest; Bottom: Youlgreave resident.
From here we headed along the river back into Lathkildale and a flat river path back, eventually to our start point.
As we embarked on the last walk of the weekend we were accompanied by clear blue skies and glowing autumn colours. Today’s route took us towards the small peak district village of Little Longstone then on to the the viewing point for the noted landmark of the Headstone Viaduct which spans Monsal Dale below us.
Clockwise from top left: A sunny Autumnal day; Ashford Church; Dales Scenes.
The Headstone Viaduct was built by the Midland Railway in 1863 to cross over the River Wye (not to be confused with the River Wye mentioned in a previous blog). The bridge, which stands near the 533-yard (487 m) Headstone Tunnel, is 300 feet (91 m) long. and has five, 50-foot (15 m) span arches, some 70 feet (21 m) high at the centre. Whilst being considered elegant today and blending effortlessly in to the landscape, when it was built in 1863, critics saw it as destroying the beauty of the dale with one observing…..”the valley is gone, and the Gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool in Bakewell, at Buxton……..”
Top: Headstone Viaduct: Bottom: Monsal Dale
Four images taken along the River Wye including me at a wei.r
We descended a steep path into Monsal Dale and followed the River Wier for some distance before crossing a bridge over the river leading to a steep climb out of the dale and across farm land to Taddington. By this time the blue sky and sunshine had been replaced by dark grey clouds, a strong breeze had blown up and it was noticeably colder than earlier on. This change was also accompanied by a light drizzle as we headed on into and out of Deep Dale and on to the remains of Magpie Mine.
Top: Coffee stop by the river; Centre; Lyn waits her turn to cross a stile; Bottom: A curious donkey
Magpie Mine was the last working lead mine in the Derbyshire orefield and is probably the best surviving example anywhere in the UK of a 19th century lead mine. On another day it would have made an interesting pause to our walk as a fascinating industrial archaeological site, however the cold wind blew a fine drizzle across the flat plateau on which the mine was located and made the whole area rather bleak and uninviting.
Contrasting images of Magipe Mine
We followed the trail back to our start point in the village of Ashford in the Water and the conclusion of our walking weekend. We said our farewells to our fellow friends and walkers, some disappearing to the pub for a well earned beer, others, like us, back to their accommodation in Bakewell.
Views from the bridge at Ashton in the Water at the end of our walk.