Walk Diary Sunday 15 April 2018 Weather 10°C. Light Haze, rain later.
Eyam Depart 10 a.m. 10 ½ miles Leader: Phil W.
No on walk 10
The parish car park in Eyam was almost full to bursting, probably due to the warmer weather, many cyclists and ramblers there, preparing for their day out. The walk was originally to have been done by Joan, but had to pull out, postponing her walk for another time. Phil, thankfully, volunteered a walk from the same location, although one of his own creation. Due to the recent weather and terrain, we did experience several very muddy patches, most avoidable, but it was on the more clay soils that we experienced some difficulty in keeping our feet, any little ridge or slope seemingly wanting to unbalance us.
We left the car park, turning right and immediately up hill, making our way to Sir William Hill via Highcliffe, Lady Wash Mine and further north to Ring Cairn, a rise of nearly five hundred feet in the first one and a half miles, some would say gruelling, others, with a happy face on, would declare as exhilarating.
We stopped for our first break on the path below Bole Hill, overlooking Abney Low and Abney Clough, normally good views from here, but the light haze obscured some of the finer points towards the horizon. With the break over we made our way down to Stoke Ford, whilst above the Skylarks sang, together with the unmistakable warble of a Curlew flying over, none of which we saw. We didn’t cross the water at the ford, but rather followed Highlow Brook eastwards, a difficult slippery stretch that needed every bit of concentration to stay upright, I found myself on the ground twice, even with a pole it was difficult too find good ground.
After breaking free from Highlow Wood and onto the good grazing pastures of Tor Farm, where sheep and lambs were contentedly feeding on the now lush grass, we made the road at Hazelford Hall. This, one of many fine 17c. houses built by the Eyre’s family, North Lees, Offerton and High low amongst them. After crossing the mighty Derwent at Lead Mill Bridge, we joined the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, east and after about a half a mile we stopped along the river bank for lunch, during which the first light shower of rain arrived. We sat opposite a rock in the fast flowing river, hoping to see the Dipper, we had seen earlier return, unfortunately it did not.
We continued along the ‘way’ and as we approached Grindleford the light rain became more persistent, so a slight pause here whilst we added another waterproof layer. We walked the ‘way’ as far as the bridge at Froggatt, passing over the Derwent to walk the bank on the other side for a while. We made a stiff climb on the path up to Knouchley Farm and after passing through the yard to take the lower path down to Stoney Middleton, this path between Gorse and Bramble was just mud, trodden to a paste by many walkers, had the consistency akin to anything found at Denby!
In Stoney Middleton we paused to look at the ‘Roman’ Baths, although, reading the information board, in Roman times it may have just been a spring, where they made offerings, throwing coins into the waters. After passing the remarkable looking St. Martin’s church we stopped by a stream running through the village and even under some of the houses, to wash our boots, before making the climb up The Cliff to Eyam.
The Cliff, a steep grassy bank, leading up to the famous Boundary Stone, is used by many especially visitors to the area. As we made our way we up we came across a man who had just slipped on the greasy grass surface, injuring his leg. We stayed with him, offering support where we could. Phone calls were made to the Mountain Rescue team as it was thought he had broken his leg, he certainly couldn’t weight bear and we were glad to hear that they were on their way. Phil and Ella elected to stay with him, until help arrived, the rest of us making our way up the hill and to the car park in Eyam. Later we learned that he had been transferred by the rescue team to an ambulance and the prognosis was that he had a muscle injury. We wish him well. A good indication of how mobile phones and contact numbers should always be carried by those out on there own or indeed in the company of a group.