Kinder Scout With Dean Read

I was lying in bed after a particularly exhausting week of work when I received a text, a bit out of the blue from Dean Read.  I’d messaged him a few days earlier, commenting on his videos, and suggesting that we meet up and go for a trek somewhere. We’d talked about going walking together before, but for one reason or another, we hadn’t managed it.

Dean has, over the last few years amassed a fantastic YouTube channel with lots of videos of walks across the Peak District and beyond. You can see his work at peakroutes.com and deanread.net.

I was naturally pleased to be going walking with someone who clearly has a detailed knowledge of our local area and also a keen passion for it, as well as a passion for sharing that passion with other people, who might want to know more or who perhaps aren’t able to get out to the higher, more challenging parts of the Peak District.

We settled on a route around Kinder and Dean came up with the final route, being as he knows the area and is the more experienced of the two of us.  Even though I have lived in the Peak District for most of my life, in recent years I’m discovering that there’s still a huge amount of it that I still haven’t discovered fully.

Barber Booth

After a bit of a kerfuffle to begin with I finally met Dean at Barber Booth car park, we climbed over the Stile at the bottom of the road near the railway bridge and headed on up towards  Kinder Scout over the fields.

As we climbed we talked, covering a multitude of topics from walking, vlogging, family, diet and exercise and other topics. Dean is an easy bloke to spend time with, and easy to chat to with for sure, and I felt like I’d known him for ages.

We were instantly immersed in nature after a little lamb came up to us for a snuggle, and then further up the track, we spotted a small Common Lizzard on the flagstones, that was awesome for me as I’d never seen a Lizard in the UK before.

Edale

Looking back toward Edale from the path out of Barber Booth

Edale Head

Edale Head

Brown Knoll & Edale Head

We headed onto the hard flags toward Brown Knoll. The flagstones are a topic that divides opinion, some people like them and some loathe them. As a fell runner I’m really not at all keen, however, I do see the need for them due to increasing amounts of people who are walking and cycling in the area. Without such measures, the erosion would be devastating to the moors. So a necessary evil in my opinion. From there, we continued on towards Edale Head.

Edale Head

Kinder Low Trig

Kinder Low Trig

Kinder Low

As you get up toward the top we passed the top of Jacob’s ladder, I hear a lot about this being a challenging path to walk, I’ll look forward to trying it one day. We pushed on a little further to the Kinder Low Trig. Dean did a bit to the camera and then that’s where we took a break and had some lunch.

From there, we pressed on, heading up to Kinder Downfall, although the day was hot, the views were a bit hazy over toward Manchester. We did get a great view of Kinder reservoir though.Kinder Reservoir

Then, further on, we had a nice view of the Mermaid’s Pool too.Mermaid's Pool Then further on we were treated to the great escarpments of the downfall, there were some seriously big rocks all stacked up rather precariously.

Kinder Downfall & The River Kinder

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Kinder Downfall

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Dean Read exploring kinder downfall

Dean Read exploring kinder downfall

After doing a little scrambling and exploring at the downfall we moved on, up the River Kinder, and marvelled at its unusual river bed. It had literally worn its path through the gritstone. Leaving a course, gritty sand as its bed. I was amazed at how little water was actually flowing so early in the year.
Rover Kinder Panorama

from there we moved through the Groughs, looking at the great work being done by moors for the future All along the Groughs, there were signs of the repopulation work they had done putting back heather and Sphagnum Moss. There were mini dykes holding pools of water helping to form new peat bogs.

Then we reached the official summit, which was actually little more than a lonely tussock of heather on a raised but of peat, no more than about 3 ft across. You could easily miss it if you didn’t have a map or GPS bearing. We meandered on coming eventually to Pym chair. There is another Pym chair in the Peak District, the other being at Goyt valley. Names tend to get re-used around here, just as there are 2 or three “Back Tors”, and several “upper towns”.

Pym Chair - Kinder

Pym Chair – Kinder not Goyt

Woolpacks

Next, we came to the Woolpacks.  The woolpacks are a huge collection of extremely weathered rocks, they look as though they are made from a different type of rock to the Gritstone we see all over the moor. Perhaps someone will set me straight on that but I thoughts they seemed a different type of rock.  Anyway, they are so intensely weathered that they had some fantastic shapes.

this one reminded me of a Baluga Whale

Baluga Whale?

It seemed to me that there just couldn’t be any more treats and surprises. I was wrong.

Crowden Tower & Clough

We came next to Crowden tower with its spectacular views overlooking Edale and the deeply carved gully that is Crowden Clough. We decided to climb down the clough, just for the hell of it.

Crowden Clough

Crowden Clough

I hope that you enjoyed these photos and my account of the walk. If it was a bit too long for you, please feel free to watch the video. There’s a transcription below for those who need it, and the video has closed captions. (subtitles).

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Video Transcription

PG: Hello there, Tideswellman is back out on the moors. It’s been a long time I know, but finally we’ve got some kit that’ll do the job and we are out on Brown Knoll. I’m very pleased to introduce to you, a chap who I’ve been trying to get out walking with, for a long time, Dean Read of Peak Routes.  Hi Dean,
DR: Nice to finally meet you mate,
Pg: Yes, Really good, do you want to tell the viewers, where we are going to go today?

DR: the plan is, quite a rough plan, we parked down at Barber Booth, we walked up to Brown Knoll, and head on up to Kinder, Downfall, maybe across to the summit and then, see what happens from there. It’s gonna be a good day!

PG: so there you have it, we’ll be taking footage as we go along and I hope you enjoy this walk with us.

Here we are at Kinder Downfall, we only have a trickle today, but that does not detract from the awesome beauty of what we are looking at.

Earlier I saw somebody trying to climb up, there. Wow!Good effort! And some others over here, I think they are going to have a more tricky time, as they have taken a more difficult line, unlike us who are on the top.

DR:Easy win!

SO we are here on the top of Kinder river. the downfall is behind us there. If I turn the camera round, you will see the river, and it’s quite extraordinary really as it’s just flowing over the top of stone. Slabs of stone,  and the water level is super low already and it’s only May.

There is hardly any flow at all. I’m not used to seeing the rivers this low, there is still some life in there though, I’ve seen a few water nymphs and freshwater shrimp. There’s some kind of creature skimming around in there, I don’t know what it is or if you can even see it , it’s so small, but there is LIFE!

This is what we are having today, Life, a fantastic walk over Kinder Scout.

We have been walking fora bout half an hour now in these Groughs (Gruffs) . Which are little channels in the peat and they are everywhere, and go off in all directions and in bad weather people who are underprepared have been known to get very lost in them. Thankfully we’ve got GPS and Maps and a bit of experience about where we are going.

As you can see, this brown soil is the “Old Kinder”, Dean was telling me about how “Moors for the future” have been working really hard to repopulate this surface with heather and gorse so you see the green moor we see today. Apparently, it was previously all like the brown soil we saw in the bottom of the Groughs there.

There’s not much variation in the landscape, so you could easily end up walking a good kilometre in any direction with no discernible landmarks. So you have to know what you are doing.

So there it is,
the most impressive (sarcastic)summit of Derbyshire. this tussock of grass and Peat is the official summit of Kinder Scout.

Wind and footsteps noises –
Now for the first time we have a cool breeze, I don’t think we have had a cool breeze in all the time that we have been walking, it’s been pretty warm.

Those of you who aren’t from the Peak District, and who know me or follow on Facebook or Instagram, if you are ever planning a trip to the Peak district, Kinder Scout, Edale, Hope Valley, these are the areas that you really must make a bit of time to visit.  Give me a shout if you are up here, I’ll happily come with you.

As you can see it really is a landscape to die for. *Laughing not sure that’s the best metaphor.

DR: Perhaps not die. To live for!

PG: Now we are coming into an area with all these weird rocks. these are the Wool Packs.

I guess you can see why. Once upon a time wool would have been gathered up and left on moors for collection in big bundles. I guess they do look a bit like…..Whoooargh (FALLS)

I’ll keep that bt in, walking and filming, lol, the pitfalls!

It’s almost like a Neolithic landscape, It looks like stone henge or something like that.

DR: it looks like they have been dropped here from a different universe!

PG: Fantastic

Now we are on Crowden tower. Look at the view, if I can get the camera up high. I’ll go to the edge and you can look over my shoulder down into the valley. The camera never ever does the view true justice to what I can see with the eye.

We are on the final bit of our walk now, this is Crowden Clough, and we are going down there, where the water goes, or should be going there isn’t much today. If you come here at this time in November there is a healthy flow.

I just want to take a second to say, how completely blessed we are, I don’t like to say that often, it’s an overused phrase on the internet but I think we are blessed to live in a place like this, where you can come out a few miles from home and have all this on your doorstep, FANTASTIC!

Down and down and down we go.

This is quite a good climb, particularly for me, Dean’s been on this route before many times, he seems to have handled that with no problem so I’ll give it a whirl.

There you go, we have just come down there. I feel quite happy with that.

After quite a good climb down, we finally found the water. Look at that, crystal clear! And there you are…We are down.

The stream has split off into 2 forks, we followed that one, and we are back down. It was quite challenging!

Walking through the bluebell woods now at the side of the Crowden brook and we have just come down from the clough, we are in the shade at last, out of the exposed Sun as you can see the beautiful bluebell wood and are making our way down to the road. soon we we will be back where we started.

there you go have a look at that old telephone box, it still has a working phone, beautiful, you dont see that very often these days.

And here we are, back where we started. Barber Booth.


Closing comments:

Just walking down now from Barber Booth, I have just left Dean Read, and we have had a fantastic walk. We started around this area, and we’ve been up onto Kinder, as you’ve seen through the video..we’ve done a good loop and down then clough.

I just want to say thanks very much to Dean for showing me that route, we’ve been in touch on social media for a long time and finally, we got to go out together for a walk today. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable chap and terribly humble and it’s been a real pleasure to go trekking with him.

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Oker Hill Trig & Beyond

Oker Hill is one of my favourite local fell running destinations. Oker Hill is a relatively small hill that extends from the side of a larger bank. It sits between Darley Bridge and Wensley, Or if you’re heading on the back road from Matlock, just above the Hamlet of Snitterton.

It has a white painted trig point that makes it clearly visible from both high and low viewpoints around the Darley / Matlock area.

My usual route to the trig starts at the Church Inn, Church Town, Darley Dale, I follow the road around the corner past St Helen’s Church, turning immediate right over the fields past the dog kennels. Follow the path across the first field and you come to a broad arable field on the floodplain.

map-church-town-darley.jpg

darley-dale-church-town2.jpg

darley-dale-church-town.jpg

Head toward the Cricket ground and this will bring you out at Darley Bridge. Head over the Bridge and swing left down the lane called Wenslees. You’ll have the River Derwent on your left, just after the Water Treatment plant, take the stile through the fields on your right.oker-hill1.jpg
Most of the year, this field is boggy, expect wet feet, if you don’t have waterproof footwear. Fell runners do not care about such things, we welcome wet feet.

You’ll come to a small stile, go over and up the next field, it brings you out on a farm track called Flint Lane, Turn right, about 10 meters on your left, take the next stile and go up the next field. This field is steep and undulating. Depending on the time of year, there may be cattle or sheep in the field.  If you have a dog with you, ensure it’s on a lead to avoid spooking the livestock. I have been chased by bullocks in this field so beware.

As you climb to the top of the field there’s a gate on your right, keep going up, under the Hawthorne trees, and you’ll see the land on your left rise sharply. Up and up and you’ll come to what looks like a little ski slope. If you’re fit, you can run up this in one go. If not, you know you need some training. It’s a short but steep hill and when you get to the top you reach the trig point and are rewarded with fantastic views.

south-darley

South Darley Church

oker-hill-trig1

Looking towards Wensley

I really like this little route because it gives you a reward, without killing you in the process. A relatively easy trig with great views, but you still have to make a bit of effort.

oker-hill-trig2

After you’ve caught your breath and taken in the view, head along the undulating path toward’s the big tree, you might spot a rabbit or two if you’re lucky.  At the big Sycamore tree, there is a little shrine, I don’t know the detail behind it, but someone either loved this place or lost their life here.

oker-hill-tree.jpg

Now follow the path past the tree, through the scrub and you’ll come out on the other side of Oker, to your left is an old derelict barn and your way back.

oker-hill-barn

Oker Hill, Head down toward the barn.

Head down toward the barn, you can now turn right into Oker and take the bottom route or head left and you’ll be heading back the way you came, just slightly lower down the hill.
Look for the shard.  The shard is just my name for a sharply pointed guidepost on the path, resembling it’s more modern, London counterpart.

oker-hill-shard-guidepost

All you have to do now is follow the path, you’ll come out at the foot of the steep incline up to the trig. Go back down, retracing your steps and back to the pub for a well-deserved drink.

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Alport Castles

Alport Castles is a geological feature situated in the Alport Valley in Northern Derbyshire.
I first learned of it from an image I saw online. I decided that I had to pay it a visit as soon as I could. When planning Fell run routes, I always try to add a stunning Peakland feature into my routes.

The ‘Castles’ are mounds of gritstone which, are remnants of an ancient landslip. As you head down the Valley you can see them towering over the valley below. In a certain light, the rocky outcrops look like ruined castles.

A Short Steep Fell Race Route

I parked my car on the Snake Pass and headed down the road, turning off at a farm by the roadside. I took the track through the farmyard and followed it for about a mile and a half down the farm track.alport-castles-map

About half a mile into the run, I came across some old farm machinery from a bygone era. It’s hard to imagine that this machinery would onece have been so vital to a farmer’s work.

alport-castles-machinery

All along the hedgerow, there were temporary signs, informing walkers that work was going on to restore and maintain the natural habitats of the valley.

Further down the track, I came to Alport Castles Farm. The farm is beautifully isolated, a real haven for those seeking peace. It was also once the home of a famous Suffragette, Hannah Mitchell

alport-castles-farmThere was a ladder stile here and a path that wandered down to the river. I paused for a few minutes to watch a pair of Chaffinches play in the branches of the trees before heading over the bridge and up the rocky track, toward my goal. The steep path went up and up weaving between two streams. I soon reached a small plateau, before another steep climb curving round to the right. Here an official sign for Alport Castles told me that I was definitely on the right track.

I clambered over a couple of grassy mounds, finding myself in a tight gully strewn with boulders.  I knew this was just the start of the landslip and that the best was yet to come.

Alport Castles

alport-castles1

Alport Castles Boulders

Alport Castles Rocky Gully

The largest feature is called “The Tower”, It’s a large Gritstone stack, Isolated from the rest of the landslip, And there it was. As I reached the top of the gulley the splendour of “The Tower” hit me, it was just as impressive as all the pictures I’d seen.

The Tower

Alport Castles Tower

Wandering up the bank onto a grassy plateau, long tussocks of dry grass made it pretty tricky going. I inspected some of the smaller landslips,  before heading down towards “The Tower”.  The size of some of the stones that had fallen from the cliffside was quite worrying, I moved swiftly, in case one of these monstrous rocks should fall on me and send me to meet my maker.

Alport Castles The Tower

I decided I’d eat my lunch at the top of “The Tower”, If I could manage to climb up there.  It doesn’t look too tall on the photos, but when you are half way up, you realise that a fall might just kill you.

Climbing alport Castles

I managed to get about half-way up when hunger overcame me. I found a nice flat rock and got stuck into my Cheese & Pickle sandwiches.

Climbing up Alport Castles

Whilst I was resting, I sat and watched Ravens soaring overhead. Their distinctive calls were oddly soothing. I have seen a definite increase in the places that these beautiful birds inhabit in the Peak District.

Alport Castles Walk

Eventually, I managed to find a way around the stack and work my way up to the top. From there, I continued to watch and listen to the Ravens, and was lucky enough to get close to one that landed near to me. I even watched them mob and drive off a bird that looked like a Peregrine Falcon, but I couldn’t be 100% sure.

top of Alport Castles

If you fancy a fairly easy walk/run, with a good climb, then I’d definitely recommend a visit to Alport Castles. It has everything. A good firm track, wildlife, birds and fantastic views.

Have you been to Alport Castles? How was it for you, leave a comment below.

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On Stanage Edge

A Poem by Tideswellman. Feb 2015

On Stanage Edge, a great brown sea of Heather and Gorse, the moor, rushes up to Stanage Edge and stumbles over the many heads of the rock face.

The many heads of Stanage Edge

The earnest facade of timeless rock shines out her many colours, standing proud in the cold light of winter, ripe with the shape nature has provided.

Stanage Edge Colours

The wind whistles and whips round, and when she wants to be, is as warm as a country girl, who flirting, tickling here and there, planting warm breathy kisses upon the nape of your neck. Yet when her mood changes, she can be a wild and icy harridan, who could kill a man without pause for reflection, as she screams between the boulders.

Stanage Edge Boulders

Clouds, never far away, hang in the air, waiting to swoop and shroud the rocks in silky mist, forever changing, and rearranging the feel of the landscape.

Low Cloud on Stanage Edge

Here and there, Rusty brooks bring forth the life blood of the moor, Water, a murderous colour stained red with Peat. Like a gentle, liquid knife it slowly cuts through the moor and rock alike.

Stanage Brook

As ramblers struggle over boulders squelch in bright black mud, a Jurassic sound stalks them, the Grouse laugh like naughty children as they play hide and seek with worried, wary walkers. stopping, peering as they try to pinpoint the sound.
Walkers on Stanage Edge

Cuts and crags, nooks and caves call to people curious to know the moor, to try her, to own her, yet the scale of this fortress of wilderness swallows and humbles both man and beast, man cannot own this, nor digest this visual feast.

Nooks and Cranies stanage-gapRobin Hoods Cave - Stanage Edge

Climbers on StanageWith senses overwhelmed a spell is cast that compels the moorland guest to return for pilgrimages uncounted.

Stanage Edge will make you return again and again

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On Stanage Edge by Tideswellman

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Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014

Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014 was the third race that I have missed through injury.
I can also say that whilst I’m gutted about not being able to run at the moment, I’m secretly happy that I didn’t have to run in the 30+ degree heat that we’ve been having this summer.

Whenever I’m not running, and can get to the race to support Tideswell RC, I take my camera along and try to snap team member and other runners in action. Sharing is caring and all that.

The Mother of all Hills

I thought I’d check out the route before the race kicked off, as I wasn’t familiar with the route and fancied finding a good vantage point to take pictures.

The route looks fairly gentle, to begin with, that is until you hit Stoney Middleton “High St”, I’m sure it got its name because, well, it’s high, very bloody high.

My little car found it tough going so Bing a frail human being huffing and puffing up it in the beating sun would be pretty tough going.

Running Groups Well Represented

The race itself started on Stoney Middleton playing fields. All the runners started arriving and there were plenty of running clubs represented. The ones I knew were,

  • Tideswell RC
  • Buxton RC
  • Goyt Valley Striders
  • Steel City Striders
  • Fat Boys
  • Totley
  • Ripley
  • Matlock
  • Sheffield
  • Dark Peak

A few of the teams were kind enough to let me take pics of them before the race.

The Race got underway from between the football goalposts.

Runners line up at Stoney Fell Race

Lining up

Stoney Fell Race Starts

The race begins

A quick loop up the length of the field and down to the style to exit the field. Runners started off quick, to be first over the stile and to get a bit of a start for that hill.

runners at Stoney Middleton

Runners rush to reach the 1st stile

Due to the high number of runners though, the race was at a standstill within a minute as there was a near instant bottleneck at the narrow stile.

Bottleneck at Stile

Bottleneck at Stile

This part was the only negative for me, but these things happen, and without issues like this, races would have nothing to improve on in coming years.

Within minutes, all the runners were off up the main road and heading toward “The Hill of Doom”. God pity their souls.

Being crocked, I wandered up the path and over the nearby fields to find a couple of decent vantage points for photos. Eventually, I settled on a nice spot down in a cool Valley just before the runners had their final ascent. I had a friendly marshal for company, and proceeded to prattle away to her whilst we waited for the pack to arrive.

Sadly, the pics were not the best, I must have had the camera on the wrong setting, but they are passable. So here they are.

Please leave a comment.

All pics are free to use and download but do please credit me “Tideswellman” by linking back to this post.

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Related Links

* All the photos can be found on my flickr Gallery here.

* Fell Running Fox – Stoney Fell Race Blog

Hathersage Fell Race 2014

I entered my first Fell Race last night. It was a really hard route, but I managed to finish and I wasn’t last. I had previously only run the Chatsworth 10k, and the Tideswell Inter Inns Run. (5k). I was a bit nervous about doing a fell race, to be honest, because I’ve been suffering from Shin Splints for a while now, and didn’t think they could take it.  The shins held out fine though, in fact, I’d say the Fell race was LESS painful than a full road run.

I’m completely amazed at how good every other runner is though.  Big or small, old or young, there are some seriously dedicated runners out there, and I salute you all.

 

The Hathersage Gala Fell race was always going to be tough, knowing the terrain around there. I enjoy walking in that part of the Peak, so knew it would be challenging.

Tideswell RC at Hathersage Fell Race

All photos borrowed from Facebook with thanks to Accelerate, Andrew Watkins & Kathryn Brindley.

I finished right near the back, but that’s fine for now. Thanks go to Nigel Jeff, who was spotting myself and Collette, and to Ben Brindley, who, running back, spurred me on for the last mile, and helped me attain a pretty fast sprint finish (According to Strava). Happy days indeed, I can’t wait for more races now.

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Hathersage Gala Fell Race Results

See the Hathersage Fell Race 2014 Results Page.

Accelerate – Facebook Gallery of the Whole Race

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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Tideswell Church – The Cathedral of the Peak

Tideswell church, St John the Baptist. Tideswell is a very large ‘Church of England’ Parish Church. It is one of the most important churches in Derbyshire.

I lived in Tideswell until the age of 20. During that time, like most other Tideswellians whether young or old, I consider that I have a special relationship with Tideswell Church. I spent many hours bored rigid in there as a schoolboy, listening to religious services at Easter, Wakes, Harvest and Christmas.  I had fun practising for School plays and concerts, I was scared by the creepy tombs, and marvelled at the stone cat and the monkey. I’ve been drunk in the Churchyard, in my teens, hanging out with friends in the churchyard till the early hours.  I saw the Duke of Edinburgh there in the 80s, when he looked at our Cub Scout’s Welldressing. I have shared in sombre moments, attending funerals some of good friends and fellow Tideswellians.  So it feels right, that I should pay some small tribute to a building that I love.

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Church – Cathedral of the Peak

About Tideswell Church

Tideswell church is famous locally, that is to say, within the Peak District, and perhaps Derbyshire, maybe also amongst those, who like me, appreciate churches and other ancient buildings. There is no doubt that it will have a memorable effect on anyone who has visited it.

Tideswell Church -Cathedral of the Peak

This Photo Shows the size of Tideswell church in comparison with local houses.

The reason that the church is so well known, is because of it’s size and striking architecture. Dubbed the “Cathedral of the Peak” (it is not a cathedral). It is one certainly amongst the most famous churches in Derbyshire, and is a Grade 1 listed building.

Tideswell Church has Norman Influences

The church, replaced a small Norman church, was constructed between approximately 1320 and 1400. The building work was delayed by the Black Death, which also hit nearby Eyam (Plague village). I always like to remind people that the plague wasn’t just in Eyam, but it seems that only Eyam is famous for it.

St John the Baptist church - Nave

The Nave

There are two main styles to the building: the nave ( main body of the church), aisles Corridors) and transepts (wings) are in late Gothic style,(French style Architecture, characteristics include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress.) and both the chancel (space around the altar) and tower are in perpendicular style.(Focusing on straight lines)

Tideswell Church Clock

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Church Tower

The perpendicular style became popular the Black Death which killed about half of England’s population in 18 months between June 1348 and December 1349 returning in 1361–62 to kill another fifth. This had a dramatic effect on the arts and culture, which it seems became very practical. The nation was affected by the labour shortages caused by the plague so architects designed less elaborately to compensate.

The church underwent was major restoration in 1873 by J D Sedding, which was truly a restoration rather than a reconstruction. In ‘Churches and Chapels in The County of Derby‘, Rawlins described St John’s as being:

without exception, the most perfect and beautiful specimen of pointed architecture to be found in the County, – or perhaps in any other parish church of its size in the entire Kingdom

Tideswell Church Tower

Tideswell Church Tower

Catholicism in Tideswell

We often forget, that although today, most of our Parish Churches are ‘Church of England’. Many began life as Catholic Churches, Tideswell is no different. Bishop Pursglove, and Nicholas Garlic are Tideswells’ most celebrated and most notorious Catholic Clergy. Unlike local churches such as Hartington and Eyam, There are no signs of the fresco’s that would have covered the inside of the building in Catholic times.

Lichfield vs Lenton – The fight for Tideswell Church.

In 1250–51, the church became embroiled in a dispute between Lichfield Cathedral and Lenton Priory.

Tideswell was one of a several of parishes that had been given to Lenton Priory by the Peverel family during the 11th century. Later, their lands in the Peak District were seized by the crown and granted by King Henry II to his son William The Younger.

After taking the throne, Henry’s son,  King John, granted the lands to the Bishop of Lichfield and in turn, they passed to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral.

This transfer began around 300 years of disagreement between the Priory and Cathedral about who was the rightful owner of the Tideswell Church. The legal battle continued throughout this period, including suits in the Vatican Court on several occasions.

Tideswell Church became directly involved in the dispute when in 1250–51, The monks of Lenton Priory armed themselves and attempted to steal wool and lambs from Tideswell,

The Dean of Lichfield Cathedral knew that Lenton would try such a manoeuvre, and ordered the wool and sheep to be kept within the nave of Tideswell church. Strangely, the monks of Lenton did not honour the church’s sanctuary rights, breaking into the building. A violent battle followed, and 18 lambs were killed within the church: either trampled under the horses’ hooves or butchered by the attackers. The Lenton, monks managed to carry off 14 of the lambs. (House of Cluniac Monks, Page, W 1910)

Despite a commission being assembled by Pope Innocent IV, which fined the monks of Lenton Priory severely for their actions. The disputes continued until King Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Catholic power was smashed throughout the land.

Notable Features in Tideswell Church

There are of course several notable features in, on and around the church. Some of the most notable items are the tombs in the Church. There are brasses to Sir John Foljamb, d. 1383 and to Bishop Robert Purseglove as well as several stone table tombs.  These tombs used to fascinate and scare me as a kid, the thought of what might lie beneath them petrified me.

The Tomb of Sampson Meveril

In the middle of the chancel, there is an Altar tomb. Within lies Sir Sampson Meverill (1388–1462), allegedly one of the victors of Agincourt. Apparently, Sir Sampson was ‘a bit of a rum lad’. Not averse, in his day, to abducting Jurors, sent to try him.  As a boy, this tomb always scared me because, beneath the marble slab, a stone cadaver lies. The stone corpse looks emaciated and creepy. Sampson’s head is held by an Angel, but the ravages of time make the Angel look more like some kind of evil Succubus. The top of the tomb is heavily inscribed and has an alabaster frieze and brass panels. The tomb was restored in 1876.

Stone Cadaver with Angel

The Tomb of Sir Sampson Meveril in Tideswell Church

In the South Transept, there is the Lytton Chapel has one of the old bells on the floor, whilst nearby, is the tomb of Robert (d. 1483) and his wife Isabel (d. 1458) Lytton.

Mysterious Ladies from the 14th Century

The transcept also holds the effigies of two unknown ladies, these figures are thought to date back to the early 1300’s.

Stone Effigies in the Lytton Chapel.

Stone Effigies – Tideswell Church

Sir Thurstan DeBower

Perhaps the church’s most notable feature is the ‘Bower Chapel’. This contains an impressive tomb, said to be that of Sir Thurstan De Bower and his wife Margret. the recumbent alabaster figures are extremely worn but remain impressive. Personally, I think it’s a tragedy that people have etched graffiti into the stone tomb, but most of it is very old by the look of it.

There is some debate raised by previous books about Tideswell, as to the true identity of these figures set in Alabaster. Local Historian, Rosemarie Lockie’s website has transcriptions that state contrary evidence. (See Related Links).

De Bower Tomb

Sir Thurstram De Bower and his Wife Margaret?

Carved Inscription regarding Sir Thurstram

Carved Inscription regarding Sir Thurstram – but is it accurate?

Thurstram Debower - Knight of Tideswell, and Benefactor of the church

Thurstram Debower – Knight of Tideswell?, Benefactor of the Church

Thurstram Debower

Is this the Debower tomb or an effigy to some other local Knight?

Wood Carvings

Tideswell Church is well known for the carvings of Advent Hunstone. Hunstone was A Tideswellman, who’s carvings adorn the great building, and many other local churches.
Not all the carvings in Tideswell church are Hunstone’s though.
Some in the chancel choir stalls are attributed to a Mr Tooley of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Wood Carvings

Wood Carvings at Tideswell

There are many other notable Features in Tideswell Church, probably too many to mention. Also, I think you should visit the church to get the real feel for it. Even locals, because when you walk past something every day, it can be, that you don’t really see it. You’ll be surprised at what you will spot for the first time.

Here are a few of my favourite features.

Old Stained Glass, Derbyshire

The Stained Glass at Tideswell is fantastic.

alabaster-mary

This figurine of Mary is hidden away behind the small Organ.

chair-throne

gorgon-head

king-head

monkey-dark

The Monkey, Often hard to spot…can you find him?

tideswell-church-queenshead1

Possible Tunnel & Secret Crypt

There are those in the village who believe that Tideswell Church is connected to a series of other local buildings by a series of narrow tunnels. Some villages dismiss the idea out of hand whilst others swear to have been in them or recount tales of seeing family members in the Tunnels.

Today, those who know keep the secret. Those who want to know, like me have struggled to find out more than what is already known or supposed. You can read my posts about the tunnels under Tideswell Church here or just Google Tunnels under Tideswell. If the tunnels are there, what do they lead to? Some say they were escape routes for priests during the Reformation, others say that they were used to transport prisoners, and goods. Then there are those, who believe that the reason that Tideswell church is so large is that it hides a secret crypt of an important person. Whatever the truth is, I hope we all find out one day. I’m sure it would be a positive thing for the village, in terms of tourism, if the stories turn out to be true.

Share if you like, please

I do hope that you enjoyed my post about Tideswell Church. If you did, please leave a comment or at least like or Share on Facebook/Twitter/ Google Plus, Pinterest or whatever Social Network you favour.

Related Links – Tideswell Church.

Thurstan Debower
Wishful thibking – DeBower

Debower or Who?
Tideswell Church South Transept

Sampson Meveril, Marauding Monks and ‘The Kings Larder’
Tideswell History

Tombs
Tideswell Tombs

Bishop Pursglove
Bishop Pursglove

Holt Road Walk-Darley Dale

A really nice, and simple walk in the Darley Dale, Matlock Area is the one over the Holt Rd. It’s a reasonably simple walk in terms of distance but it does have some steep ascents and descents.

We simply start by driving up Greenaway Lane.

Greenaway Lane -Darley Dale

Turn off the A6 up Greenaway Lane

Follow the road around until you see a small Methodist Chapel on the right. You can park in this area, but please be considerate and don’t block the road or pavement.  The photo below Shows you where to park and how to walk up past the Christmas Tree Nursery onto the Hold Rd.  * You can also get onto the Holt rd by approaching Hackney on Hackney Rd from the Matlock end. (down Smedley Street, then up Farley Hill, Turn immediate Left past the Laburnum inn)

Holt Rd Walk. Park near the Methodist Chapel.

Holt Rd Walk. Park near the Methodist Chapel.

Once on the Holt Rd, you have a short walk to the end of the road. Here the road becomes a track unsuitable for motors. follow the track through the woods.  There are some great old trees to see, and you should be able to hear the sound of running water below you.

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Got mad roots

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Beech Tree with fantastic exposed roots.

The woods are full of freshwater springs and they all flow into Sydnope Brook which runs down into Two Dales.  Eventually you come to a fork in the path. Here in the Winter or after heavy rain a spring flows over the top of a drystone wall, and often down the path.

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My girls enjoying the walk #derbyshire

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Fancy Dam

You can either carry on over the top of Fancy Dam and all the way up towards Darwin Lake or you can take the stream worn path down the hill. We chose the latter. Follow the path down the bank and you will be above the brook and the last of the three dams, where if you’re lucky a Heron can often be seen.

Just below this is a pretty Waterfall, worth a photo or two.  From here you can walk down the  path to the right which leads past a mill and down toward the road in Two Dales. Or you can swing left up a rather steep path. which will bring you right back where you started off on the Holt Rd.

Holt Rd Walk Darley Dale/Two Dales

The Holt Rd Walk – approx 2 miles

There are several variations to this simple walk, and I should stress that this is the least adventurous of many versions we have done.  Sometimes you just need a leg stretching walk that gets you out for a bit of fresh air.

If you have a walk in the local area and you’d like to share it with me, please leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch.

A stroll up Carl Wark & Higger Tor

A couple of weeks ago I took my daughter and met up with some friends, we had decided to walk up Carl Wark with the possibility of continuing on up Higger Tor.

I wasn’t sure whether the kids were up to the walk but it pretty soon transpired that they were more than equal to the trek.

Carl Wark

Carl Wark is a rocky outcrop on Hathersage Moor in the Peak District National Park, just outside the boundary of Sheffield. Carl Wark is basically a flat topped hill known as a promontory. It has rocky faces all round which are great for bouldering and scrambling. Apparently one side, is protected by a prehistoric embankment, but you wouldn’t really know that unless you knew what you were looking for.

Wikipedia says :

“The cliffs and embankment form an enclosure that has been interpreted as an Iron Age hill fort, though the date of construction and purpose of the fortifications remains unknown.”

I first spotted Carl Wark as a boy, but had no idea what it was. Years later up on my return to the Peaks, it was one of the first places I sought out.

One of the best routes to Carl Wark is to park at the side of the road by the Fox House inn. There is a style to a footpath that leads right over the fields and down towards the escarpments.

The Walk to Carl Wark

Walking from Fox House Inn to Carl Wark is about 0.91 miles

As you head across the fields watch out because it can be a bit boggy in wet weather. Hopefully you’ll have some decent walking boots, Trainers (sneakers) will do, but will most likely get wet.

After the bogs, you come to another stile, go over it and you come to a low rocky outcrop, great for kids and adults alike to climb and feel the bracing wind in your face.

Boulders on Hathersage Moor

Boulders on Hathersage Moor

Looking toward Carl Wark and Higger Tor

Looking toward Carl Wark and Higger Tor

Walking towards Carl Wark

Walking towards Carl Wark, past the boulders.

After the boulders, start to pick your way down the hillside, you’ll see a path below you. Once you get to the path you should be able to hear Burbage Brook. This is the fun part..cross the brook. It’s more than passable even after plenty of rain. Keep your wit’s about you though, because it’s possible to slip and fall in. At it’s deepest, the crossing point is about knee height, but slip over and you’ll get a wet bum for sure.

How to Cross Burbage Brook

Burbage Brook Crossing Point

After that, you are home free. Pick your way up to Carl Wark, watch out for the marshy ground again though. It looks a bit further away than it really is, you’ll be up there in minutes.

Carl Wark Walk

Looking towards Cark Wark

Child friendly walk up carl wark.

Carl Wark is a suitable walk for children. My daughter about to  conquer some more boulders.

Once up on Cark Wark you’ll be windswept.  I think this is a great place to sit down catch your breath, enjoy the view and maybe break out the Sandwiches. (Don’t forget to take your litter home with you though).

After you’ve caught your breath, take a look around you, there are some terrific views.
This will be when you set your sights on Higger Tor.

Higger Tor

Burbage Edge in the Eastern Moors.

Looking toward South Burbage Edge.

Cark Wark - Instagram Photo

view on Cark Wark – by @Tideswellman Instagram.

If you’re feeling tired, don’t worry Higger Tor will wait till the next time. If however, you feel like pushing on, It took us (3 x 39 yr olds and 2 kids under 13) about 10 minutes to get from the top of Cark Wark to the top of Higger Tor, so it’s more than manageable.

Carl Wark to Higger Tor

Carl Wark to Higger Tor took 10 minutes

Once you get to the summit, you are greeted by more dramatic views. Huge tumbledown rockfalls, and weathered stacks make this walk one of the most engaging family walks around the area.

Dramatic Peakland views

Dramatic Peak District views

climbing on Higger Tor

Sensational to look at, fun to climb.

Higger Tor has some imposing views

Higger Tor has some imposing views

Related Links

Moors for the future
Carl Wark Hill Fort
Hathersage Moor & Padley Gorge Walk
Higger Tor Photos

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Robin Hoods Stride – Or Mock Beggars Hall

One of my new favourite walks is pretty close to home now. Robin Hoods Stride – Or Mock Beggars Hall is only a few miles from Darley Dale.

Robin Hood’s Stride is a large and striking tor of gritstone rocks high on a ridge between Harthill Moor and the Alport to Elton road. The Tor takes it’s name from legend that Robin Hood strode between the tower-like stones at either end of the tor. Once you get up there though you’ll know this is an impossible feat for a man, because they are 15 metres apart.

Mock Beggars Hall

The alternative local name for Robin Hood’s Stride is ‘Mock Beggar’s Hall’ The “Peak District information” website says that in low light or mist the shape of the rock formations could easily be mistaken for fortifications.

Robin Hood's Stride Or Mock Beggars Hall

Robin Hood’s Stride Or Mock Beggars Hall

I had seen Robin Hood’s Stride when driving to work but I was unsure of how to get there. After a bit of scouting around, I generally don’t use maps, I prefer to follow my nose and see where it leads me.  I discovered the route.

Darley Dale to Mock Beggars Hall

Getting from Darley Dale to Robin Hood’s Stride.

Travel from Darley Dale down toward Darley Bridge, follow the road round and go up to through Wensley. Next you’ll arrive at Winster, drive right through. After Winster you will come to a Junction, with the B5056. Go straight across, this will bring you into the village of Elton. Again, drive straight through. About 80 meters after the church the road drops down and you’ll come to a fork. Take the right hand turning it’s sign posted “Alport:.

Signposted Alport - to Robin Hoods Stride

Turn right down Cliff Lane ——>

This is a pretty narrow track o be aware you might meet something coming the other way.
About 1/4 of a mile up the hill is seat for walkers next to a stream filled trough.

Continue round the bend for about 1/2 mile past the quarry of the right and you will see Robin Hood’s Stride on the right hand side.

Robin hood's Stride or Mock Beggars Hall

Robin hood’s Stride or Mock Beggars Hall

I usually pull my car under the edge, and walk across the fields through the stiles to the rocks.

Things to discover at Robin Hood’s Stride

Robin Hood’s Stride is easy to climb up, there is a clearly worn path and anyone with reasonable fitness / mobility can get to the top without too much issue. Look for the mini cave like, shelters formed naturally by the rocks.

Natural shelters in Rock formations

Shelters at Robin Hoods Stride

I should stress here that Robin Hood’s Stride walk is not particularly strenuous, I think you can make it last an hour or so if you stop for a bit to eat.

Once up on the top of the rock formation you have some great views in all directions, either looking to the Northwest towards Youlgreave or South East towards Winster. You can also see The mast on Stanton Moor and on a clear day see the edges of Derbyshire’s Eastern Moors.

There are some Iron age forts nearby, “Harthill Moor Farm”, is built on the site of Castle Ring, an Iron Age fort.This is just one of the forts built along the ancient track known as the Portway, which passes just alongside Robin Hood’s Stride.

Nine Stones – Stone Circle

As well as certain ancient barrows you will also I’m sure take some delight in spotting the 9 Stones circle. This circle is about 15 feet across and today only has 4 stones still standing but they are all large impressive stones and the site has a certain atmosphere, that oozes history.

9 Stones  - not the 9 Ladies

9-stones Stone circle, Derbyshire

Once you have visited the nine stones to the top of the stride you should head to
Cratcliff Tor which is about 100 meters behind Robin hood’s Stride.

Look carefully because it’s shrouded in woods, but climbers often use this imposing cliff face to practise their handholds. Don’t overlook Cratcliff Tor though because it contains the Hermit’s cave, amongst some old yew trees. Dated to around the 12th century the cave contains a stone crucifix carved out into the wall of the cave. For more details about this cave see the Derbyshire heritage Site.

Robin Hood’s Stride Slideshow

Derbyshire – Goyt Valley

Goyt Valley Reservoir Photo Panoramas

Last weekend Daws and I went out walking. This time we went to Goyt Valley. Surprisingly enough, I’d never been there before even though it’s so close to Tideswell. I have to say I was surprised by the beauty and it’s seeming remoteness. The mist hung in the valley all day and there was ice on the ground. Here are the panoramas I took. The other Photos will appear on my flickr sometime shortly.

If you Like the Photos please leave a comment

Goyt Valley Treetops

Goyt Valley TreetopsGoyt Valley

Fernilee Reservoir

Fernilee Reservoir

Trees around Fernilee Reservoir

Trees around Fernilee Reservoir

Errwood Reservoir

Errwood Reservoir, Goyt Valley

Fernilee Reservoir

Fernilee Reservoir

Fernilee Reservoir

Fernilee Reservoir

long-wall-bw800

Trees around Fernilee Reservoir

Trees around Fernilee Reservoir

Interesting Burials – All Saints Derby

I was at the Derbyshire County Archives today. I was looking for any records of black servants in Derby between 1700 and 1800. I started looking at the records for “All Saints” (Derby Cathedral). During my search I found one or two interesting burials. Well, I say Interesting, but I guess only if you enjoy history. If you do,  here they are.

All Saints Burials

1762

  • Jan 28: Thomas Evat who was killed by a Tup (Male Sheep)
  • Nov.25: Buried in one coffin, William and Ann Drake
  • October 7th: Henry Joyce killed in a quarrel by a Butcher.

1763
Feb16: Stanley Mappleby. An infant. Boy was a bastard, his mothers
name Yeomans, and she owned (sic)on her death bed.

1764
May 4th: A stranger. Name unknown, a woman.

1765
Oct 24: His Grace William Duke of Devonshire

1769
April:  Buried Henry alsop an infant that escaped the fire. Bottom of Abby Bonny.

1770
Buried Hannah Golling in her hundredth year.

Smallpox in Derby

I also noted that Smallpox outbreak killed several infants in this parish this year.  Over the years the parish saw a few priests but I was particularly struck by the beautiful handwriting. The words were exquisitely written and writing a whole sentence must have taken several minutes as each and every letter seemed to have been lovingly crafted.

allsaints

Visit Thor’s Cave

I often like to get out at the weekend. I have to drive about a forty mile round trip to work each day, so inspiration is pretty easy to come by. Before the nights drew in, I often went “pootling” off the main roads to see what village or hamlet lay just off the beaten track.

I recently remembered that Thor’s cave wasn’t that far from my daily route to work of Matlock to Buxton. Taking the A515 route you get to see part of the Peak District not that many of us Tideswellians see often. Taking “The Ashbourne Road” as it’s known, allows you to dip in and out of the country as the road runs close to the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border.

Thor's Cave

Thor’s Cave

Remembering the routes to Thors Cave

About 12 years ago I went with my friend Dylan to Thor’s cave, we drove from Stoke to Ashbourne, then down into Dovedale, Ilam, then up to Wetton and Hartington. We walked down Beresford Dale in the Manifold Valley. The cave itself itself was up a very steep path that, on a hot summers day can be quite an ordeal for the very young, rather old or the pretty unfit.

I needed a different route. This time I had my daughter and my Good buddy Daws along with me. My daughter is eight, and the weather was showery and damp. I was unsure of what she could and couldn’t do, so I’m introducing her to walks gently.

We drove from Wirksworth down to Ashbourne, driving past Carsington Water and then at Ashbourne turning back onto the A515.  Drive through Fenney Bentley, and keep heading towards Buxton.  When you see the sign for Alstonfield and Mill Dale, turn right on to Green Lane.

Turn to Alstonefield

Turn to Alstonefield

Follow the lane down and you drive over the bridge at Milldale. Here you can turn left and drive alongside the River Dove, or you can go up the Hill into Alstonefield (slightly longer).

The Pinch, Milldale

The Pinch, Milldal

If you do go into Alstonefield, just follow the signs for Wetton. Either way you will arrive near a pub called the Watts Russel Arms.  Keep following the signs for Wetton.

Russell Watts Arm

Watts Russell Arms

If you follow the signs you can’t go wrong, The road on the right (above) is called Wall Ditch, follow it, take the 2nd right onto Ashbourne Lane, This brings you into Wetton, turn right onto Carr Lane and you’ll find the small car park.

Where to Park in Wetton

Where to Park in Wetton

From there, it’s just a short walk round the corner and down a lane, which leads you to styles.

Thors Cave

Thors Cave

As you go over the styles, you walk down into a dip, then slightly up the bank, don’t go all the way up unless you want to go above the cave. You will see a well worn path leading down on the left. Go down the bank to the Cave mouth.

The Cave itself looks so impressive from the road and valley below. Once you get inside it though you realise, that this is something pretty special. For facts read the Thors Cave Wiki Page.

A few Photos from our Trip.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


How to get to Thor’s Cave from Tideswell

If you liked my blog post, please leave a comment. Tell me about your trip, where else should I be visiting?

Arbour Low Stone Circle

Arbour Low Stone Circle

Arbour Low Stone Circle

Arbour Low Stone Circle Walk

In early October 2012, I was driving around the Derbyshire Peak District, looking for Interesting places to visit. I was about a Mile or Two North of Newhaven, I came across a sign to Arbour Low. Arbour Low is a large Stone Circle, described by the English Heritage Website as “the most Important prehistoric site of the East Midlands”. I had always wanted to go and find it but had previously not made much effort to find it.

I vowed to return. Two weeks later, my friend and I headed up there. The stone circle is located just behind a modern farm. You can park your car and wander up past the farm house, which i believe is a guest house.  It only takes a few minutes to arrive at the stone circle, and I have to say it’s “bloody impressive”.

Derbyshire’s Stone Henge

The stones are all lying flat now but they are huge, and make the “Nine Ladies” stone circle on Stanton Moor seem miniature. This is a proper henge.  I took a few photos, which can be seen on my flickr account.

If you are staying in Tideswell and fancy seeing an Ancient Stone Circle and Burial mound, I have included this map to help you get there.

The Dragons Back (Chrome Hill)

The Dragons Back (Chrome Hill)

The Dragons Back Chrome Hill & Parkhouse Hill

A couple of Weekends ago my friend and I went out for a Drive / Walk. To Chrome Hill

Drive / Walks are good. You just get in the car and drive to the area you want to go walking do a few miles and then you have the comfort of the car to ferry you back home. Everyone’s a winner.

This particular shot is a smaller version of a large panorama I shot from the top of Parkhouse Hill, Glutton Bridge. It was quite late in the day when we arrived and so we didn’t get chance to walk up Chrome Hill. I doubt the view could have been much better. See the Full Size image on my Flickr account.

Tideswell to chrome Hill

If you are from Tidza or just staying in the Tideswell are, and fancy a trip to “The Dragons Back”. I have included a route, below.

Tideswell Tunnels Part 4

Tunnels to Tideswell Church

This summer saw me kindle an interest in Tunnels under Tideswell.

If you have read any of my previous posts you will know how my investigations went. If you haven’t read the articles before here are they.

I decided that I needed to go and see the Vicar. After all, I needed an “official line” on the matter. I called the vicar and arranged a meeting. He was kind enough to meet me at his house, and we had a 30-minute chat. I was somewhat disappointed with the outcome

Discussing Tunnels under the church with Tideswell Vicar

Around 26 June 2012, I went back to Tideswell looking for the hidden tunnels which are rumoured to be underneath the village. I was told to go and see the vicar.   I contacted the vicar by telephone and arrange the meeting at his house.   He arranged to see me early in the early evening I was quite hopeful that he would be able to shed some
light on the many questions I had to ask him regarding tunnels under the church.

We sat down and I began to ask the vicar about the rumoured tunnel from the back of the church to Church St.  Sadly the vicar said that he did not have any information about tunnels.  Like everyone else,  he had heard rumours but did not put any stock in
them, as he had never found any evidence of the tunnel or documents
pertaining to tunnels. Next, I asked him about the small room that sits over the north door that sits over the south door of Tideswell Church.  As you enter Tideswell Church through the South door, (main entrance)  on the right there is a small door on the left.

Tideswell Church South door. (note windows to the small office)

Tideswell Church South door. (note windows to the small office)

It leads to a narrow staircase up to a small office.  I went into this office as a school pupil at Bishop Pursglove School. The room was full of documents and books that, however, was about some 30 years ago.

I don’t know how much things have changed but the vicar told me that the little secret office, that seemed so mysterious in the fog of my memory, had been recently cleared out and there was nothing in there. It was now used as a storeroom he assured me.

“What about the records, though, if they have been moved, where are they now?”  I pressed.

Any ecclesiastical records were now held at the public records office in Matlock, he rebuffed my renewed pressure off easily.   Naturally this was a disappointing conclusion to our meeting, however, he did tell me that if I wanted to go into the cellar behind the church that I should ask the caretaker to let me in.  He passed me the caretakers number, telling me that he would be on his rounds that evening, and with that, we parted. I dialled the caretakers’ number.

Looking for Tunnels Under Tideswell Church

Mr Robbinson agreed to meet me and we went around the back of the
church,  just in front of the Institute by the old grammar school. there is an opening leading to the boiler house cellar.  Mr Robinson produced a large bunch of keys and we went down into the cellar.

Tideswell Church Boiler House Cellar

Tideswell Church Boiler House Cellar

My interest in the cellar was kindled by other residents who told me that have been into the cellar and told me that they had seen a bricked up archway that was surely the tunnel entrance.  As you go down the steps on the right there is a disused coal bunker. On the left, there was evidence of a brick arch this may, at one time have gone under the lady chapel but it’s difficult to tell as it’s been plastered over.

This wall, has an alcove which point into the lady chapel

This wall, has an alcove which point into the lady chapel

The end of the Cellar

The end of the Cellar

The cellar itself contained the new boiler and evidence of an old boiler of which the pipework has not been fully removed.   The cellar itself was long probably about 12
foot in length and seven feet high.   The cellar had an arched ceiling, but I could see no firm evidence that was visible that there was an entrance to any tunnel.

Earlier that day,  I had been looking inside the church itself.  If you walk into the church, then turn down towards the pulpit and then take a left into the Lady Chapel you will see some very old pews.  Behind the first seat on these old pews, one of the backboards is missing. If you look carefully, You can see an opening which could be the top of an old door or archway.  If you put your arm down into the cavity you can feel the top of the opening or an arch. See my photo. It’s impossible to tell how big this cavity is.

Tideswell Church - Secret Tunnel?

Tideswell Church – Secret Tunnel? See the cavity?

I had hoped that by going into the cellar would allow me to get to this cavity and thus
see the entrance to a tunnel.  However, it seems that the boiler and
the boiler cellar are just to the right of the Lady Chapel.  In fact whilst I was in the cellar I noticed a grate that looks up into the lady chapel, but not in the right position to line up with the archway behind the pews.

from the cellar looking into the Lady chapel

from the cellar looking into the Lady chapel. You can see the pipes of the organ.

All in all the trip approved pretty fruitless.  In fact, a thorough, if an enlightening disappointment.

Possible Priest Hole Beneath The Star Inn, Tideswell

The next night evening, the proprietors of ‘The Star Inn the allow me into their cellar beneath the pub.  I had heard a rumour that one of the small cellars was at one
time a priest hole.

Landlord, Jerry showed me into the cellar and we looked all around.  There is very little evidence of the room being used for anything other than storage.

The star inn, small cellar

The star inn, small cellar

In truth though I’m not sure what I expected to find, in the cellar of a working pub. Once again dear friends.  The trail has gone cold.

To leave you with a drop of optimism in your hearts, I have heard from Miranda Pennock.  Miranda used to live at Devonshire House. (See Part 3) where I have already unsuccessfully looked for a tunnel.  She assures me there was a room which was a priest hole and that there was a tunnel and her father helped to block it up. I am hoping that we can meet and she might be able to show me exactly where the tunnel was.

blog comment

blog comment-light at the end of the tunnel?

I have it on good authority from two very trustworthy gentlemen, who have asked me not to mention their names.  That there was a tunnel of some sort unearthed when they dug the footings for what was the ex-Servicemen’s Club. One of these gents has been in the tunnel and even found a coin dating from 17xx.

So, there’s still some faint hope that we might discover something yet.  I know Sheffield University came out to do some surveys, I may well get in touch with them, and see if they fancy looking again. Watch this space.  Please leave me a comment below, tell me where to look and who I should speak to next.

Tunnels Under Tideswell Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Tideswell Pubs

I have been writing the Tideswellman blog since 2004, yet, For some reason I have thus far failed to write a post about Tideswell Pubs. Odd really, given that I spent an inordinate amount of time in them when I was a young man.

My Dad had always told me about the many pubs that there used to be in Tideswell when he was a boy. Since those days in the 1930’s/40’s a lot of pubs had closed. Names like,Three Tuns Inn, The Peacock, The White Hart; The Old Hart Hotel; The King’s Head; The Marquis of Granby; two Miners Arms; The Dog Inn; The Gate Inn; First Drop Inn or The Bellevue; Cliff Inn;The Angel Inn; The Bull’s Head and the Black Horse are just some of the pubs that have gone.

When I was a boy growing up, there were five pubs in Tideswell and four just outside. The Horse and Jockey, The Star Inn, The First Drop Inn, The George Hotel (Inn), and The Ex Servicemans Club. The Anchor Inn is just outside the Village, The Anglers Rest is in nearby Millers Dale. Within Walking Distance is The Red Lion at Litton, and The Three Staggs at nearby Wardlow Mires.

It’s very easy to overlook the role that the village pub plays in our lives, they are so central to the life of a village it is easy o see how they can be taken for granted. Neither of my parents drank in pubs in my formative years, but the pub was still somewhere I found myself regularly, even before the days of partaking in a few jars.

I was aged around eight years old when I went into my first Tideswell Pub. The pub was most probably the George Hotel. This was the result of a childish fad which involved following the crowd I’m afraid. I enrolled in the Dance class that used to be held in the back room. I wasn’t any good at dancing (Another stereotype smashed, right here). I spent most of my time hiding under the tables with Marcus Roberts and Dave Ponsonby. Oddly enough though I still remember all the moves to the cha-cha-cha.

The Horse and Jockey

The next pub, I frequented was the Horse and Jockey. My mum had a job as a cleaner there. She was working for the landlady Mrs Dunn. I can see Mrs Dunn now, in my minds’ eye though I rarely ever saw her to speak to. I used to tagg along with mum when she used to her job. I used to do a bit of bottling up, I can’t say I really remember much about it, in truth I think I was a bit young to be doing that job. Mrs Dunn used to hold many a raffle to which Gerald (Geddy) Hodgson would often provide the prize. He could usually be found enjoying a drink and a cigar, with his large German Sheppard “Shane” lying at his feet.

Mrs Dunns Ghost stories stick in my mind to this day. I remember mum telling me about how Mrs Dunn had been working in another pub before running the Horse and Jockey. This pub was apparently haunted. She told how she had seen a nun walking down the corridor, and then turn into a room that wasn’t there. There was also a more chilling story about a young boy who could be heard crying in one of the bedrooms. Yet, whenever you entered the room, there was no one to be found. Despite these stories taking place in another pub, I never liked to be in the Jockey on my own after hearing those stories.

It would be years before I’d go in the Horse and Jockey again. The next time was a celebration. I was about 15 and Tideswell United under 16’s had just won either the Cup or the League. We were all there celebrating drinking champagne out of the trophy,thanks to a few proud dads. We were all doing the conga round the pub, all smashed and high on life. Happy days, I never did get my medals though.

The George Hotel (now Inn)

Dale Norris

Dale Norris

In my early teens I was desperate for money, the prospect of a job at the George Hotel was too good an opportunity to pass up. The landlord was Dale Norris, I knew his daughter, who was in the year below me at school. Dale had built a decent reputation for serving good pub grub. He had several local people working for him. I was one of them and most probably the worst.

The George, had a bloody great Pool table, and it was the centre of the village in early evenings.
The pool table was moved by a recent landlord, much to the chagrin of many locals.

People would go to the George, play pool and then later head over to the club.  I never really got to know Dale Norris at the that time, he was a successful businessman, and I was just some oik of a kid. However in recent years we have struck up a bit of an Facebook friendship. We share a love for Tideswell and for the documenting of local history. I asked Dale to summarise his time as landlord of the George Hotel. Here’s what he told me.

“I arrived at The George Tideswell, 17 October, 1980. It was a terrible rainy day, that seemed to go on for a week, as we moved in everything got soaked. I had never served a pint of beer in my life, I had been in business, with Fruit Shops and Wholesale of the same. I Can remember it was a complete change in anything I had ever done or known. It was a terrible struggle for me, in those early days, and it took a long time for me to come to terms with it all. If I had been asked, if I thought I would do that job, for the next 21 years, I would have thought the person asking, was crazy. But I grew into it, all the terrible lows, and the heady highs, and was lucky enough to survive, healthwise, to be there on the final evenings, to shake the hands of countless Tidza folk, young and old. Tideswell, and its people, will always have a massive place in my heart, but then, I think you all know that. ”
Dale.

Dale has been building up a great collection, of photos over the years, and recently he has shared them on Facebook. He created, a group called “Friends of the George“. He has also created video slideshows on YouTube of the same photos. A great resource for Tideswell, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Star Inn

‘The star Inn’ is on High Street, it was always a pub of some mystery. It was where the builders went to drink, it was where deals were done. During my teenage years, it was run by Alec and Mary Fairey. Alec was a builder and Mary was a landlady not to be trifled with. We (Myself, Emma Furness, Philippa Hunstone, Antonia Hunstone, Robert Lingard et al), used to go in there as teenagers, taking advantage of some rule that teens could go in pubs and not drink alcohol. One or two of us would chance the fake id’s (Me and Mark Duffy) but who were we kidding in a village where everyone knew each other? In the 1980’s pubs had to close at 11.30. It was however, rumoured that if you were in before 11pm you could have your breakfast in the Star. Of course that was just a malicious rumour.

The First Drop Inn

A bit further up the road was ‘The First Drop in’. It had previously been known as ‘The Last Drop Inn’. My experiences in ‘The First Drop’ were truly character forming. During the tenure of the Tickners ‘The First Drop’ was one of the Places to go. Thursday night was ‘Drop disco night’. Holy hell, those nights were jumping.

There wasn’t a Thursday night when we weren’t blind drunk. Tideswell people get to meet people from all over the Peak District and beyond. Buxton people would come, Hope Valley People would turn up, Matlock folk, Ashbourne and Hartington People, Even Chesterfield and Sheffield folk. And after the Pub closed for the night, Tideswell’s only chippy at the time, did a roaring trade. There were quite a few love afairs and punchups started on those Thursdays.

Ex Servicemans Club

Next, I’d like to take a bit of time to talk about Tideswell Club. Tideswell Ex-Servicemans Club was a special place. Most Tideswellians have spent a few happy hours in there, literally. I first went in there as a boy. My Friend Nicky Orr’s dad, Lionel used to run it. We would often go in to play snooker. Once I’d turned 16 I became a member, it was a private members club that accepted members at sixteen. A loophole allowed all members to enjoy a beer, so it was especially popular with every sixteen year old in the district. I used to ride my motorbike up to the club and park up. Go in for a game of pool. I used to play “Substitute”, by The Who” on the jukebox.

Some people didn’t like us playing the old Rock and Roll tunes, Lee Skidmore and I would play the same track over and over, just to wind people up. We always sat in the same seat, by the Juke box and close to the pool Table. There was an old Chap named Bill Lawrence who used to come in for a glass of port. We were all in awe of him as he seemed so old but, he always used to turn up for his drink. We’d practically fight to take him the drinks.

Christmas, Wakes and every other notable occasion was always marked in the club. The disco’s there were a source of community cohesion that you just don’t find nowadays. The cut price beer and large open spaces made it a real winner with the clientele.

Tideswell Club

Tideswell Club

After many years the club closed for a while, it reopened for a few years as ‘The Cross Daggers Inn’, which was the name of a pub that had stood on its site before the Ex-Servicemans was built. Sadly the Cross Daggers didn’t last. Earlier in 2012 the place was demolished. I’m so sad that Tideswell club has now been demolished. But the old has to make way for the new, it’s the way of the world, always has been.

The Anchor Inn

I’m most likely to do a terrible disservice. Because The Anchor is out of the village I rarely venture up there. Sadly the only time I find myself in that pub, is for a wake. Being close to Tideswell Cemetery it’s the ideal stop off point for winter funerals. However, many Tideswellians have stories to weave about this pub. Perhaps they will share them in the comments section.

Please leave a comment below (not on facebook), tell me all about your memories of Tideswell’s pubs, and the happy times you had within them.

Rediscovering the Peak District

I wrote in my last post about how I am rediscovering the Peak District since moving back to the area in June 2012.  Living in Matlock Bath, I’m ideally placed to visit many towns and villages that were previously just a little far out of my reach.

Most days,  I drive from Matlock Bath up through Cromford and over the Via Gellia rd to Newhaven.  From there I turn right and head into Buxton.  In the first few weeks of my journey I noticed a number of signposts to villages I’d never visited or even heard of.

As I outlined before, in the post entitled, “A local stranger”, my curiosity got the better of me and of late I have been paying brief visits to these towns and villages, with the purpose of returning for tea, cakes and a few well scouted photographs.

This week I decided to investigate the villages closer to Ashbourne.  Villages I have noticed in recent weeks include Parwich, Alsop-en-le-Dale, Alstonefield, Wetton, Biggin and Hartington.  Now I’ve visited Hartington a few times before but the rest were all new to me.

My latest travels around Peak District Villages

My latest travels around Peak District Villages (click to enlarge)

Staffordhire Peak District & Thors Cave

The great thing about visiting this part of the Peak District is that it straddles the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border.  You can cross several times between the counties as you drive from one small village to the other.  The scenery is a little different from the Northern Peak. Rich Farmland sits alongside Moorland and wooded hills with the River Dove and the River Manifold flowing in the valleys. Another great thing is you can make a mental map of where the pubs are.


This particular trip was inspired from a conversation I had regarding Thors Cave.  Many years ago, when I was at University,some friends and I walked up through the Manifold Valley and up into Thors Cave and beyond.  I had decided to try to find Thors Cave again, not to walk to it but just plot the route.   I wasn’t disappointed. After a lovely drive around the villages I finally came to Wetton.  I asked a local which way to go and, as luck would have it, I was on the very lane that led right past the cave.

Thors Cave

Thors Cave, Wetton

Of course, I was keeping my eyes firmly on the road, but I did manage to pull over for a moment to look at the cave.  It was much bigger than I had remembered and I’m really looking forward to the next fine weather day, so that I can pay it a visit.  With every day that passes by, I’m loving being back home in the Peak District, more and more.

Please leave me a comment if you have visited any of the villages I have mentioned. Maybe you can make me a recommendation?  Tell me about something I must see of a place I need to visit.  I promise to go and take plenty of photos.

A Local Stranger Wandering around the Peak District.

Since our move back to the Peak District, I have been poking around the local villages. The great thing about driving across the Peak District every morning is that you get to see some stunning views. As well as stunning views, you also get to discover lot’s of little villages you had never visited before.

Blind to the Peak District

The geographical situation of the Peak District can often mean that when travelling in a car you simply go from A to B. We locals tend to ignore the plethora of sign posts to interesting sounding places. Places such as “Ible”, “Slaley” and “Cow Dale”.

Anyway, now that i’m living in Matlock Bath and travelling to Buxton each day, I get to see such wondrous and rustic places close up. I have been noticing all kinds of little places, neglected barns, breathtaking vistas under imposing skies. I’m no longer blind to the Peak District and all her beauties.

Slaley Sign

Slaley Sign

Peak District Village Snooper

When time allows, I drive into these little villages and have a good snoop around. Usually my trip consists of pulling the car over and photographing a notable feature or building.
All of this village snooping serves a larger purpose though.  Firstly, I’m having a bit of a recce to see where is good to eat and drink. The Peak District in general has a wide range of country pubs serving great food. Finding them can be a bit of a challenge though because not everyone is a social media geek like me.

Secondly, I’m also finding good places to walk and to come back to and photograph.
I love taking photos, I’m no professional photographer, that’s for sure. I do have some great photos under my belt though, more by luck than judgement. Recently though, I have become lazy. The thought of dragging the big camera out, with all it’s limitations of small memory card and annoyingly short lived batteries comes a poor second to slipping the mobile into my pocket and just leaving.

Photography vs iPhoneography in the Peak District

Since getting my hands on an iPhone, with all of it’s awesome photography apps, I have been snapping away like a mad man. The issue with mobile phone photos is that you don’t really get the quality of a really high quality camera that adapts to the light. Not having a decent zoom can also be an issue.

So I settle on a trade off. I take the iphone with me on a daily basis, places of real note will be visited again on a planned expedition.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be blogging about the places that I visit and trying to provide you with  a bit more information about the places I document.  Until then please enjoy these photos that I took on my travels with my iPhone.

Why not join me & Like my Peak District Photos?

If you like taking photos with your mobile phone, then why not join me on instagram?  You can see the photos I have taken, here. Or if you just fancy updates. Follow me on Twitter, just search for @Tideswellman.

Please leave a comment, tell me where you like to go, maybe you have a tip for me.  where should I go next?