Youlgrave and Bradford Dale

A joint blog by Martha G and her dad, Tideswellman.

It was a lazy bank holiday Monday and we had a few hours to kill. My Dad is a bit of a walking nut, not in the sense of a pistachio with legs, but he has to trek up and down any valley he sees, Usually dragging me along with him.

Firstly we piled into the car, Dad never tells me where we are going until we get there. We went through Wensley and then passed through Winster. After that it’s up to Elton, Then through the hamlet of Gratton, where we saw some llamas resting in the field. About 2 mins later we a large Hare running through the field, they have an unusual way of running, they are like a kangaroo running on all fours.

[Dad] We drove down the valley and crossed over the bridge where the River Bradford flows underneath.
I always want to go walking alongside the Bradford, but there never seems to be anywhere to park. Today though I resolved to stop making excuses and to find somewhere to put the car. We drove up to the top of the village and parked on the Conksbury Road. I got Martha togged up in a rain mac, just in case of unexpected downpours, and we headed to the Church.

Martha’s right about me dragging her everywhere, but I’m just trying to give her a balanced view of the interesting history of the Peak District. It’s an area that has so many interesting places, It seems a tragedy to me to allow my kid to grow up here without seeing it or knowing at least a bit about it. Martha took control of the camera, I had my phone which has a reasonable camera too, So we went into the churchyard.

I pointed out some graves that had the name ‘Birds’ on them, as Martha has a friend with that surname. then we spotted a stone of a James Gregory, (my name. He’s actually related to my dad’s family). I’ve been to Youlgrave Church lots of times but Martha hadn’t, so I just let her lead really. Here are some of the Photos.

Youlgrave Church

Youlgrave Church, Derbyshire. A fine unspoilt Churchyard. Full of historical headstones.

Llamas

youlgrave-stained-glass youlgrave-statue

To the River

After the church we headed down Mawstone Lane, turning down a smaller lane called Stoneyside, where we met a lovely, friendly cat who made a big fuss of us. We did our best to return the favour. At the bottom of Stoneyside, we went through the gate into the field alongside the River Bradford.

River Bradford - Yourlgrave

River Bradford – Youlgrave

There were some Sheep and Cattle grazing the lush green grass and plenty of walkers on the trail. We didn’t want to go too far today because we didn’t have that much time. the River Bradford is so clear and pretty shallow. In places I’d say it was more of a stream than a river, but I’m guessing that it was once much deeper. I say that, because the river bed has been managed and there are 2 small weirs built into it, so I presume that somewhere along it’s course, there may have once been a mill or two. Perhaps someone who knows will comment below to put us straight?

Weir in the River Bradford

Step weir,

river-bradford2

Swimming Area In the River Bradford

We came to the main weir where we saw a sign actually sanctioning swimming. How fantastic, in this day of health and safety “over regulation” to see a sign effectively saying, “get on with it, at your own risk”. We Derbyshire folk are no namby pamby’s you know? A bit further up we came to a stile where the path met the limestone way. There was an overgrown path following the river, and a sign to refreshments, guess which path we followed? We headed up a steep tarmac path, which gave way to cobbles. along the path there were signs saying ‘Dying for a drink’. It turns out, that was the name of the Tea shop.

Dying for a Drink

Dying for a Drink‘, isn’t technically a shop, it’s a house that the owners open to hikers and locals, at Easter, Bank Holidays and Youlgrave Wakes. Tea and Cakes are available to order, and no price is charged, instead everyone is asked to make what they feel is an appropriate donation. What a fantastic idea. I do hope that everyone is fair with them. The house is perched on the side of the Valley overlooking the Bradford, and when sitting in the verdant terraced gardens, You can hear the river flowing below.

The staff/owners were all, shall we say, of advanced years. They were also super helpful and attentive, making sure we got a seat and ensuring that we had a drink and something to eat, despite the fact that we didn’t have much cash on us. Which I’m very grateful for. One lady, who was serving drinks must have been into her 60’s, she was whizzing up and down the steep garden steps, like a woman half her age.

Fantastic Paintings on Sale

When we first arrived I noticed a lady sitting at an easel, I went across to her and asked her if I could take a look. I peered around the easel and what I saw actually took my breath away. It was a stunning woodland theme, with light playing between the trees and hordes of springtime flowers.

Maureen Capewell  - Artist

Maureen Capewell – Artist

Very often, when faced with these situations you peer around the easel and have to nod and smile saying “oh wonderful”, whilst really thinking, “hmm, what is it?”. The artist was called Maureen Capewell.

I’d fully recommend you pay a visit to “Dying for a Drink” just to pick up her work, which is on sale there. It is truly excellent, and what better purchase than an original by a local artist? The chap who owned the house also came over to us for a quick chat, he told us that “Dying for a Drink“, donate the money they raise to help people in developing countries get clean water. They work with a charity called Tearfund. Tearfund are working with the Kigese Diocese Water and Sanitation Programme. I thought this was very apt, a perfect charity, because I was just enjoying a glass of cool local water. Youlgrave draws  it’s own water supply from a local source that flows from the surrounding hills.

Everyone at “Dying for a Drink” did their best to make us feel welcome, Their customer service ( and Lemmon Cake)  was so good, we simply had to give them and their great work a mention. I love their the name, ‘Dying for a drink’, it’s a statement so many of us utter flippantly, yet the people in Africa, who are now receiving the charitable donations literally were “dying for a drink”. dying-for-drink-youlgraveA large party arrived, so we gave up our chairs and headed off back down the valley. Martha invented a sort of ‘Pooh Sticks’ game using buttercups instead of sticks and we wound our way back to the car, happy.

Our Route
River Bradford Walk - 2 K

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7 thoughts on “Youlgrave and Bradford Dale

  1. Pingback: Gregory’s of Youlgrave, Birchover,Stanton,Winster and Elton | A Tideswell Man's Weblog

  2. Thanks very much, Tideswellman, for this unsolicited and grateful publicity! As shared with you, 50% of the profits go to Sierra Leone (with whom this village has a link) & the other 50% goes to Tearfund WASH work in other developing countries worldwide — thanks to the generosity of kind folks like you.

      • Just to update you, that all the profits now go to Tear Fund (the Christian aid agency) WASH projects, with half going still to Sierra Leone & the other half going to other developing countries. Thanks to the generosity of patrons, we are now approaching £40K+.

  3. The description you give of this beautiful short walk and the lovely little cottage /tea gardens with its spectacular views (and delicious cakes …next time try the flap jack !!!) makes me want to get in my car and drive up from Sussex and make my annual visit to what is my liitle oasis in my otherwise frantically busy world
    Mandy Jones

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