Apologies for any typos in this entry – our swifts have just fledged and are carrying out very noisy practice flights right outside the study window. Not that I’m complaining, they are wonderful birds.
A select group of five assembled by the duck pond in Foolow at 10.15, as planned, but where was the organiser of this walk? Where could we go, what could we do, with no leader?
However, after much cursing about huge traffic jams on the M6, our talisman leader arrived from distant Bonsall with some passengers, and by 10.30 the day's team of eight was complete, and ready for the off. The Foolow ducks were left to laze the day away in the shade of a blossom laden tree.
We headed past Roods Farm towards Great Hucklow, gliders from Abney soaring above us as we sloshed through fields of buttercups. It had been raining earlier, so the grass was pretty wet.
Great Hucklow came and went and during a pause for navigational indecision I noticed some well travelled Russian Comfrey, prominent in the hedgerows.
After a period of uncertainty about the route around new buildings at Quarters Farm, we settled down for elevenses, at noon, by a disused tip near slurry, the fumes from which wafted across this otherwise pleasant spot. At least the shortbread tasted normal.
Bradwell was soon reached. Our leader confirmed that there are four excellent pubs here, apparently. Unfortunately due to more route indecision she failed to find any of them.
Soon we were ascending Bradwell Edge, with views back to the Dark Peak, from Mam Tor to Lose Hill, with Kinder behind, all beyond Bradwell.
Up near Robin Hood’s Cross, this dew pond seemed full of life.
Lunch was taken on the nice benches at SK 183 801.
Sue photographed some skyscapes from her bench.
Many fields were laden with buttercups, here looking towards the Edges around Hathersage.
A lot of effort had been put into placing numerous signs about the closure of a vital path, for which no alternative route is available, due to a 'defective footbridge'. Lots of paths meet at the busy junction where Abney Clough meets Bretton Clough - numbers 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 14 are all involved, though how many people would recognise these paths by their numbers? The notices were pinned to a path number 99 sign, but there was no reference to path number 99 in the notices.
Here's the 'defective bridge'. Scary!
If the effort needed to produce and place all the signs had been directed towards the actual bridge, it would have been replaced with no fuss.
Anyway, we made it safely to the Bretton Clough path, where a sharp left turn took us past the some sheep, following which Eyam, which from this direction seems to be almost surrounded by quarries, soon came into view.
At the site of Highcliffe Lead Mine, which dates from 1715, Sue went in search of ‘plant communities of international conservation importance’, including 'Derbyshire Leadwort', and found this - Spring Sandwort, perhaps?
Down in Eyam, we passed by Marshall Howe's house – he survived a dose of the plague, but sadly his wife and son both died from that in 1666.
The walk then concluded with a pleasant stroll through buttercup meadows to Foolow.
Q. Will the village hall be open for tea and cakes? A. Yes, and very good the cakes were as well.
Here’s our route – 18km with 500 metres ascent, taking five and a half hours. An excellent route – thanks go to Sue W for discovering it as we went along.
A fine little bimble, advertised as 9 miles, but turning out to be just over 11 miles, and there’s a slightly more extensive slideshow here.