Walk Diary Wednesday 15 March 2017. Weather, 15°C. Summery.
Stone Centre Nr. Middleton Depart 10 a.m. 7 miles Leader: Gerry White
No. on walk 33
Almost as good as a summer's day with an excellent number of people all intent on enjoying this wonderful weather. The Stone Centre car park was full to overflowing and we all contributed our many coins in the honesty boxes, although we did find one that was full!
On the stroke of ten we set off along the High Peak Trail in the direction of Black Rocks, passing by the Steeple Grange Railway base, who look to be getting set for another busy season. At the visitor block on Black Rock car park we took the path left to Dimons Dale, walking the top meadows below the High Peak Trail to Moorside. We continued along the same contour to eventually pass under 'The Trail' to pick up the Midshires Way, but instead of following its line, we followed the hedge line, through woodland, directly ahead to Birchwood Farm taking our first break there.
We rejoined the Midshires Way, crossing Longway Bank and up the hill to Watfield Farm. Here we left the way, turning right for a while to Mill Wood and then crossing the stepping stones over Mere Brook, which fortunately wasn't very deep. We followed the path through Park Wood and then continued ahead across the parkland with good views of Wigwell Grange to our right. We were on a steady incline and it wasn't until looking back that we realised how steep it really was, so it was good that on the boundary of the Park and Wirksworth Moor, we found a convenient wall to sit against to take our lunch break. We had fantastic sunny views towards Crich Stand ahead of us and couldn't help noticing that the major trees planted in the parkland setting many decades, even centuries, ago were now beginning to show the slight hint of green as the first buds of the season begin to burst forth.
With a generous lunch break over we continued along our way and walk along Oakerthorpe Road, turning to go downhill into Little Bolehill. At Bolehill Institute Hall, built in 1889, we walked down to cross the Cemetery Bridge over the Ecclesbourne Railway, looking down on the newly built engineering shed extension, the yard bristling with diesel locomotives readied for this week-ends Mixed Traction event.
From the Cromford Road we walked across to the Middleton Road, taking the familiar route back to the Stone Centre, passing by the site of the once renowned, Lime Kilns, which we read, were in operation continuously for one hundred and fifty years, prior to and up to the beginning of the last war, when the fires were extinguished for fear of bringing bombs falling from the skies delivered by the Luftwaffe. The kilns were never to be used again.
We passed by the Stone Centre, not open for the season yet, as workmen prepare the new cafe 'Gastro Pod', that one day we may try. As it was many of us at the end of the walk ended up down in Whatstandwell at one of our more usual watering holes, The Family Tree, choosing to sit in the garden area for our end of walk cuppa.