Walk Diary Sunday 17 December 2017 Weather, 1 – 5°C. Wintry
Monsal Head Depart 10 a.m. 8 ½ miles Leader: Phil W.
No. on walk 8
Just the eight of us on this shortened walk, all keen to get around to beating the thaw and we did just that. We arrived back at the start at one fifty, having stopped for a morning break and the normal lunch break, so we didn’t hang around for too long. We were able to get back in a reasonably clean condition, as well, as most of the muddy bits were still just frozen, especially on the hilltops which we visited.
We set off, with the views of Monsal Head viaduct before us, but rather than go down to it we took the upper path that actually crosses over the tunnel albeit several hundred feet below us. We soon joined a walled path, presumably made and used in times past to herd sheep down to the wash in Ashford. This path cum track skirts around the edges of several fields until joining Pennyunk Lane and that’s not a misspelling! During this walk we passed by several Dew Ponds, probably drinking areas along the route to the wash.
We eventually ended up in Ashford in the Water, near to the aforementioned Sheep Wash, which is still used for washing some sheep, but more as a tourist attraction rather than any necessity for the sheep to be washed. We took our morning break there, seated in a nearby shelter, provided generously we are told, by Lord George Cavendish for the people of Ashford, the octagonal shelter covers the spot of the village well, still used today for well dressings.
With the break over we walked east out of the village following the banks of the River Wye, into the outskirts of Bakewell. We left the river at Holme Hall, walking up and past this imposing building, mostly hidden by the high walls surrounding it. The hall, a manor house built in the 17c. Jacobean in style, was built on the site of a previous manor house and is privately owned. From the Hall we now headed due north, continually climbing for the next half hour or so, until reaching the Monsal Trail, just west of Hassop station. It was here that we took our lunch break seated beside the trail, whilst there, even the sun appeared for a short while, seemingly trying to force its way through layers of fast moving cloud.
We moved on to Toll Bar House, by the side of the A6020. The house has a bell and a gate, on a gabled end, pictured, denoting its use for collecting tolls. Another short but steep hill to climbed up a field to Buskey Cottage, then to walk the entire length of Mires Lane, also the main street of Great Longstone. At the end of the street we turned into Moor Lane for another climb, taking the track past Dale Farm and then a path across fields to Chertpit Plantation. Here a sign in the woods, announces that Tom planted these trees and is now a lasting memorial to him.
Once through the woods we turned south to follow a path, parallel to Castlegate Lane, leading us down into Little Longstone, where we gained the road, walking past the Congregational chapel there, which was decorated for the Christmas season.
A good walk, I think enjoyed by all, it was wet at times and less so during the middle part of the journey, although, I got the impression that more heavier stuff was about to fall as we started our drive homeward. At the time the walk was conceived it was still summer and the original ten and a half miles seemed to Phil to be no problem, back then we had lighter nights, so he shortened it to get us home in daylight.