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Amber Valley Ramblers, Derbyshire

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Home Diary Walks Elton Longdale 17 May 2017

Elton Longdale 17 May 2017

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Walk Diary Wednesday 17 May 2017, Weather, 12°C. Wet.
Elton Village Depart 10.04 a.m. 7 miles Leader: Gerry White
No. on walk 7

The magnificent seven or the foolhardy seven some would say, the wise ones perhaps, were those who took notice of the extremely accurate weather forecast and stayed at home. It rained throughout, heavy at times and a little less at other times, we were dry in the main but waterproofs became cumbersome after a while. We did manage the seven miles and I got a few pictures before the lens of the camera became water splashed.

We waited a while to see if anyone else would arrive and then made our way out of the village northwards to cross Elton Common, which was planted with very tall growing Barley, a walkers path went through the tall crop, that would have soaked anyone foolish enough not to have waterproofs on. We exited this large field onto the A5012 and after a few yards made our way down to the junction of Gratton Dale and Long Dale stopping here for our morning break. Quite a few Cowslips here, but now on the verge of going over, Bluebells, Orchids and Campion made a colourful scene as we sat, where we could, watching a Brown Hare bouncing around on the hillside before us, it wasn't long before it became aware of us and bounded away over the hilltop.

We decided not to go down Gratton Dale, instead we carried on along Long Dale, a fairly flat stretch with wild flowers on both sides. About two thirds of the way along the dale we turned up, to gain the southern edge. A long path led us down to Weaddow Lane and from here we entered into Rusden Woods for an early lunch stop, which we took sheltered from the rain, by sitting under an overhang of Limestone rock. I had always presumed that this small gorge was formed by ancient quarrying, but thanks to Howard who enlightened me as to how it was formed. This elongated gorge was once a Limestone chamber or tunnel that would have had a stream running through it. The constant flow of water over probably millions of years enlarged it so much that the roof eventually collapsed leaving this lovely gorge. We had sheltered under the overhanging rocks which the water had worn away, with this knowledge to hand and studying the rock face we could see the smooth curvature made by the once forceful stream.

After leaving the woods we turned to head back to Elton, passing by Lowfields Farm. At the next farm, Gratton Grange, some of which looks to be in the process of conversion to holiday accommodation, we stopped to admire the well 1853 built cart shed, it even had a horse drawn cart in it, picture attached. After Rock Farm we made our way through a very pretty Bluebell wood and on to round Antony Hill, exiting onto the road near to the spring water troughs. At one time this was the only water supply for the whole village. The villagers could either bring a bucket and carry the water for about half a mile back or buy it from a local farmer, who had a horse and water cart, for one penny a bucket. We then walked that last half mile back to the village trying to envisage the struggle it would have been to carry the water up the steep hill to their homes. It is quite a cruel hill to finish a walk with, alright if you don't look up. It was a good walk but I think we were all glad to get back into the dry of our vehicles.

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