Walk Diary Wednesday 8 March 2017 Weather, 10°C. Fair.
Alport Height Depart 10 a.m. 6 ½ miles Leader: Gerry White
No. on walk 27
Six and a half miles may seem like a shorter walk for us folk for a Wednesday, but I can assure you that what we lacked in length we certainly made up for in height. The car park at Alport Height is over one thousand feet above sea level and it felt, as we descended to the very bottom of the Ecclesbourne valley to cross over rail and river, that, we had descended well below sea level, but of course being this far inland we still had over three hundred feet to go to achieve that.
For a change it was very pleasant in the car park as we chatted and waited for the off. It was quite a sight to see our long column setting off down through the old quarry to the road and then to walk the new concessionary footpath across National Trust land. This path installed with help from our volunteer members, cuts out some road walking and some rather narrow dangerous bends. We continued westwards passing New Buildings Farm and Folly Well, doing a hairpin at Holehouse to cross more fields to pick up the road at Ashleyhay. Then a long climb, by road, to Brownhouse Farm, stopping on a grassy bank beside the farm for our first break, sheep and lambs in the field below us enjoying, as we were, the quite pleasant spring weather with a little glimpse of the sun from time to time.
We moved on heading downhill towards the railway line, here we were due to turn left to take one of the paths under Norman Hill Farm, but we were thwarted by a temporary footpath closure 'unsafe bridge'. This brought about a change of plans leaving us to walk over the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway and the river to the busy Wirksworth Road. After negotiating this main road and the traffic we then walked Jebb's Lane as far as Manifold Farm, taking the path all the way up to Hilltop, a splendid setting for our lunchtime repast. From this grassy hill we had excellent views over the valley and beyond to the opposite side and the village of Kirk Ireton.
Leaving Hilltop, we walked north eastwards until reaching a newly installed Northern Footpaths sign (pictured) at a junction of five footpaths. The EW on the sign refers to the Ecclesbourne Way project( www.ecclesbourneway.org.uk )which is due to be officially launched in July. We followed a tricky path, uphill again, to Palerow and Bowmerlane Farm, the path runs beside a dropped field edge, a steep embankment made difficult to follow by the passage of cattle. We could see the eight communication masts on the heights above us and soon we were able to gain Bowmer Lane, walking the road past Spout and back up to the car park, arriving there by about one thirty. An excellent day made all the better by being dry for a change.