Ever feel you need a bit of an uplift, I sometimes do, and going out into the countryside never fails to do the job, rain or shine. It was an exceptionally hot weekend up here in the North of England. Being out in the garden or the local park is great but getting into wide open spaces is even better, and living in Derbyshire as I do there’s a lot of open space right on my doorstep. So, I thought I’d share with you a favourite walks I did on the weekend in case you’re craving a bit of open space too.
Now I’m not difficult to please when I go out for a walk:
- I like a few ups and downs in equal measures. Not so fond of flat walks.
- I don’t like to see a soul, except for Mr Husband of course. The odd passing walker is absolutely fine but being in a long line and waiting at stiles is not good in my books. OK, I concede I may be a bit selfish when it comes to walking. I avoid the popular walks especially on the weekend, when it’s just too busy for me.
- I also love a walk long enough to justify a bit of a packed lunch. A couple of homemade sandwiches, yum.
So you see I am easily pleased…….wouldn’t you agree??
This walk I’m going to share ticks all those boxes. I’ve walked it a few times but on the weekend I decided to walk it backwards, you know starting at the end and ending at the start. It’s funny how different a walk is when you walk it in the other direction. I’ll give location and stats details at the end, but for now just enjoy the walk.
The walk begins in the Topley Pike layby overlooking Wye Dale and Chee Dale. Why I love this walk is it has huge variety of terrain and generally…. stuff. Much of the walk is high up on the hillside where you have far reaching views over rolling green fields divided by grey dry-stone walls characteristic of the region. Very inquisitive black and white cows are dotted throughout.
Soon the walk took us across a wildflower meadow, which a couple of weeks ago was full of buttercups but this weekend a variety of flowers, grasses and cow parsley had taken over.
We were next walking through sheep territory, too steep for cows
…….before a sharp decent into Chee Dale. A perfect setting for a sit and a drink while spotting the wildlife. There’s something so soothing about a running stream, don’t you think? As I mentioned this was an exceptionally hot day and the large horned cows put on the hillside to manage the grass had also made their way down to the River Wye to have a paddle.
A butterfly posed for me on the bridge
Ducklings played in the gentle rapids
and a Grey Wagtail sat still enough for me to take this picture.
After a short wildlife spotting rest we crossed the river
….and slowly took the path up the other side of the valley. Luckily this was a shady part of the walk. Eventually we popped out in the little village of Wormhill.
The walk took us to the rear of the farms of Wormhill, across more high-topped open fields. We then took a bit of a loop up from the head of Monk’s Dale up the wide grassy floor of Peter Dale. On reaching Dale Head it was steeply upwards again towards Hargatewell before dropping back down into Wormhill again.
This time we took the path through Old Hall Farm and walked in the direction of the quarry in the distance. It gives a great view of an industrial landscape. This picture was taken from the starting point of this walk.
There was now an overall downwards push back to the Wye Dale with open fields to one side and thankfully tall trees on the other, which meant we were in shade……we were very hot and desperate for a cold drink, I knew we had a steep finish. To be honest my desire to take photos had waned somewhat by this point.
After a steep downwards path we were back at the bottom of the dale and thankfully there was a bike hire hut where they had a few ices for sale. I can’t remember the last time I had an ice lolly but I was ready for this one. The final climb up to the top where the car was parked was not as steep as I remember, I think I was in ‘head down and get up there’ mode. The drive home is less than 10 mins so we were soon relaxing.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my meander and it’s inspired you to get out and explore a remote spot where you live.
The walk starts from Topley Pike layby (Latitude, Longitude: 53.249, -1.833) on the A6 heading from Buxton to Bakewell. Take the footpath to Blackwell, then down to Chee Dale. Ascend up to Wormhill and navigate paths to the meeting of Monk’s Dale and Peter Dale. Head up Peter Dale to Dale Head then navigate paths to Hargatewell before following the road back to Wormhill. Take the footpath through Old Hall Farm and follow it towards, and then adjacent to the quarry and back to Wye Dale. Finally cross the bridge over the Monsel Trail and back up the dale side to the layby. This gives you an idea but you will need to fine tune the details on a map. I used OS Landranger 1:50000 Sheet 119 Buxton, Matlock and Dove Dale.
The Fitbit Stats: 10 miles, 240 active minutes, 117 flights of stairs. Total time of walking, stopping and enjoying 5 hours 15 mins.