On a crisp and clear St George’s Day, Tom and Carmel (left) led us on an energetic 10 mile circular walk from the pleasant Derbyshire market town of Bakewell – famous for its puddings and its tarts – across the tops to Ashford in the Water and back. On the way, we had a coffee stop in Over Haddon, whence we walked up to the Magpie Mine at Sheldon, a former lead mine which operated from the 18th century until the 1950’s (below) although the heyday of the mine was in the 19th century.
Lead mining was a speculative business, with big profits to be made sometimes and huge losses at others – so the mine changed hands frequently. It was closed from 1846 to 1868 and when it reopened, a large Cornish pumping engine was installed in the engine house, which is now the major building on the site (right).
As it was rather breezy up there, we decided to take lunch in the lee of the buildings, in the company of a sheepdog called Rupert, who played ball with some of us.
After lunch, we continued climbing upwards, with cars on the main road below looking like dinky toys until we came upon a fabulous view of the beautiful village of Ashford in the Water below us.
Situated on the crystal clear River Wye, with the famous Sheepwash bridge for us to walk over, Ashford in the Water is real ‘’chocolate box’ village.
We had a very pleasant stroll along the banks of the river back to Bakewell, passing the weirs which created Ashford Lake and powered Lumsden Mill (Arkwright,1777), then Holme Hall of 1626 (photo courtesy of the Historical Houses Association) and the odd couple of llamas.
Mapleton Walk - Easter Sunday
On a cool and cloudy Easter Sunday, April 13, June had organised a walk from the public car park near the Isaac Walton Hotel in Dovedale. We started off walking along the lovely River Dove.
After a little while we crossed over the famous stepping stones, under June’s careful supervision.
We then climbed up the hill towards Thorpe.
After a long steady climb we then headed through woodland before reaching a spot with a view, where June decided to stop for our coffee break.
Occasionally on our walks, we do a bit of standing around to regroup, admiring the view in the meantime.
Our lunch was taken at the beautiful St Mary’s church in Mappleton, where we inspected the interior before exiting to peruse the graveyard.
Although a church here was first mentioned in records during the reign of Edward 1 (1272 – 1307) the current building was built in the mid-18th century to the design of James Gibbs, a pupil of Christopher Wren. Among his most important works are the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and the Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University.
After that we returned to Dovedale via the river and the scenic countryside near Ilam, having crossed over the impressive Coldwall Bridge near Thorpe.
This is a Grade II listed monument dated 1726 and was originally the main coach road across the River Dove, between the counties of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. When the motor car became popular, it was used less and less because the steep gradient was too much for the first cars. Today, the bridge is only used by farmers and walkers (and sheep) and is really peaceful.
We then returned through the beautifulvillage of Ilam. Despite the weather, we all felt this had been an excellent walk – thanks June!
Pictures of Mapleton Church and Ilam are taken from Wikipedia. The photo of Coldwall Bridge is courtesy of Derek Harper and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.o
Earl's Hill Walk
On Sunday 2 April, we took a fair trip out to Pontesford, SW of Shrewsbury, for a walk starting and ending at Earl’s Hill nature reserve, led by Alison and Lesley.
It was a beautiful spring day, ideal for walking, and the countryside round there is very pretty, with several hills, woods and ponds noted on the walk.
There are also a number of quiet lanes to walk along.
We also passed through the village of Castle Pulverbatch - unfortunately not stopping at the White Horse Inn
– before having a look at what is left of the motte and bailey castle
and then having our lunch on a very pretty and secluded bank
with a lovely view.
Later, we passed around Lawn Hill
before climbing back up to Earl’s Hill to finish the walk. All in all, a really lovely day out.