Walk Diary Sunday 12 March 2017. Weather, 12°C. Fine
Four Churches Walk Depart 10 a.m. 9 miles Leader: David D.
No. on walk 20
The details of this walk exist in printed form, as a leaflet produced in 2005 by Amber Valley members, from an idea by the then secretary Margaret Siddons. It was produced by Gerry White and the late Ken Lane, generously funded by the Pilgrim family from Crich in memory of a local man who died whilst walking in this part of Derbyshire, which he loved.
Over the years we have followed this route a few times, but today we did it in reverse, following a map rather than the printed word. The four churches we visited were St. James's Brassington twice, once going and on our return, All Saints, Bradbourne, St. Peter's Parwich and All Saints, Ballidon. During the walk we were blessed as the sun shone on us for quite some time and it was really rather pleasant. To this end we had an extended morning break seated outside Bradbourne church, some members taking the opportunity to view the church yard at closer quarters. In a couple of places we stopped to look into roadside water holes where many frogs were doing what frogs do best, even whilst we ate our lunc, many of them could be heard and seen in the small pond by Parwich village green.
From the very useful quarry car park on the outskirts of Brassington, we walked down the road into the village, turning into Maddock Lake, this is a road and not a bit watery, I can only presume that at sometime in the past a misspelling occurred and the name remains as this. It is also recorded that once a Pinfold for stray animals stood here. In all we covered about half a mile along the Bradbourne Road and after passing by the Gate Inn, probably got its name from a Tollgate that was once here, then onward to Nether Lane. We walked about another half mile along this dead end road, leaving it to cross open fields towards Crowtrees Farm, here we entered onto Brackenfield Lane to walk uphill into Bradbourne.
The first thing we noticed on entering the village near to the Old Hall is the village sign, Bradbourne, Doubly Thankful. This refers to the fact that Bradbourne was one of the few villages, whose volunteers and conscripts all returned alive after the two great wars. There are only fifty four such villages in England and Wales. We noted the lovely Daffodils alongside the wall of the Old Hall and on looking through the hedge we could see a mass of Snowdrops covering the grass in front of the hall. Next to the hall is the parish church of All Saints, its squat square tower hardly noticeable amongst the trees. The grave of the actor Alan Bates is to the north of the church, whilst near the gate on the south side is a very prominent Saxon Cross. C. 800.
We left the village to begin a long descent over several meadows to reach the Fenny Bentley road, crossing this and then to climb steeply up the other side, stopping here and there for a breather and to look back on Bradbourne. Once at the top, we turned to the north slipping and sliding down through relatively young woodland, struggling through the stile at the bottom. We rounded the knoll, where from above we were looked down on by some Llamas, heads held aloof, not so much watching us but looking over to Gorsehill Farm in the hope that some food might be on its way. We followed the same arduous line, crossing a footbridge over a brook and making our way up over many grassy strip fields until reaching the hill above Parwich. From here you can see why this is described as a pretty village and it is, the spire of St. Peter's central.
We slipped and slid our way down into the village stopping on the village play area for lunch and then passing through the 17c. churchyard. By the north wall we noted an amazing bed of natural coloured Primroses, fully out in flower, then onward, making our way to climb the steep hill out of the village. Once done, we descended by road to pick up the Limestone Way which we followed eastwards all the way back to Brassington. Firstly we reached Ballidon and the redundant church of All Saints, still a grade one listed building, but sadly in decline.
From the church a long climb begins and once at the top we descended to Pasture Lane which we walked for about a mile. One last small hill and we are now looking down on our last village, entering to the north of the 13c. church, then to walk up to Hillside, suddenly finding ourselves on the road and the welcome entrance to the quarry car park and picnic site. A good day out in pleasant company, thanks to all who came.