Walk Diary Sunday 22 April 2018, Weather 15C. Fair.
Youlgreave (Moor Lane) Depart 10 a.m. 8 ½ miles Leader. Rod B.
No. on walk 17
What a great day out, fair weather, great scenery, plenty to see along the way, whether it be flora or fauna and great interactions between all those taking part. Days like this, surely is what great rambling is all about, I really enjoyed it. We all found and near filled the small out of the way car park, surprisingly, though it didn’t seem like it when we arrived, but it is on a ridge at one thousand feet above sea level, most of us didn’t realise this until we climbed the last mile with an ascent of four hundred feet back to the car park. Phew.
We began and ended by walking along part of the Limestone Way, firstly heading across arable and grass land to drop down into Cales Dale, many steps down here so a careful descent was needed. They are Limestone steps, so we were glad that they were dry. We left the ‘way’ here and made for and crossed the footbridge into Lathkill Dale, where we walked the northern riverside path all the way to Conksbury Bridge. Just after crossing the bridge we stopped, on the river bank below Mill Farm for our first break, rising high behind us was an almost sheer Limestone rock face and beside us a scree of loose Limestone rocks, that had overtime trickled down towards the river.
We moved on, eyes alert to be the first to spot a special plant in flower or an illusive Dipper, always good to see and watch. It was a keen eyed Janet who got the first sighting and for once I got a reasonable picture, see below. Plenty of weirs and small waterfalls along this stretch too, man made for the most part, either for fish stocks or as in one place a water mill. Two old mill stones lay beside the remains of the footings of the mill as the water tumbled through the channels that would have housed the wheel. Small trout were seen in the river and on some of the edges were the unmistakable bright yellow blooms of King Cups or Marsh Marigolds as they should be called. Near to Conksbury Bridge, where the river is wider, we witnessed a swan ushering away a couple of ducks, whilst it mate sat aloof on a really splendid round nest.
Before the bridge came into view, we left the river and headed very steeply north eastwards up the lane, taking the first footpath on the right, where we stopped for our lunch break, beside a quite large Dew Pond. Concrete posts and steel railings protected the site which made very good backrests for us to use. During this period of the day we experienced a few light showers, just enough to dampen but not enough to wet.
With the break over we continued across these fields, the grass now rich and lush and like our lawns at home, seemingly making up for lost time. Before passing the old Raper Mine, we watched new born lambs being encouraged, with a deft prod of mothers foot, to stand and take their first feed from their mum and to our delight they did. By this time those ahead of us had moved on along Dark Lane and we found them waiting in Alport, at the confluence of the Rivers Lathkill and Bradford. We took the high route above Bradford Dale and then passed beneath Youlgreave as we rejoined the Limestone Way for the rest of our journey.
Still plenty to see though, James has captured some great reflections in the fish ponds along the Bradford. We could clearly see Trout lazily pushing against the flow of the water as we walked by. Many wild flowers occupied our time, Fritillaries, Bluebells, Campion, both white and red, Cowslips and many more which made our day complete.