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       Hartington, Derbyshire, April 29th, 2018

A few notes of possible interest ..... 

Hartington, situated in the Peak District National Park, was once an important centre where regular markets were held in the village square.  Little remains from those early days although the village pump and the 'mere' pond still exist as reminders of the past.  Water supplies were always a problem in these limestone regions as the rain tends to be absorbed by the rock. Ponds or 'meres' were often built to hold rainwater for the farm animals and the local railway lines were also once used to bring water to isolated settlements in times of drought.

Hartington is still famous for its stilton cheese and although the cheese factory no longer exists, the old cheese shop is still open, selling locally made cheese. Two famous names also linked with the village are Charles Cotton who was born at the nearby Beresford Hall and his friend Isaac Walton, who together, published  'The Compleat Angler'- a sort of bible for any would-be fly fisherman. They spent many hours fishing in the River Dove which runs through Beresford Dale. 

A' Walk - 12 miles.  Leader - Dennis Neal.  Grade - Moderate+.  Ascent - 2100 feet

After heading eastwards and upwards towards the Youth Hostel - previously the old Hartington Hall - we soon join Reynard's MilldaleMilldaleLane, a good track running south easterly to Dale End just to the west of Biggin village. A steady descent southwards down the dale, which is tricky underfoot in places, takes us to the junction with Wolfscote Dale and the River Dove. We continue to follow the course of the river southwards into the pretty village of Mill Dale with its delightful, ancient packhorse bridge, and where an ice cream from the tiny 'hole in the wall' shop is almost obligatory!

We then begin our ascent to Alstonefield, encouraged by the thoughts of our lunch stop once we get there, and also by the knowledge that 'The George' will almost certainly be open!

After the break it's due west on to Wetton, where another pub awaits should the one in Alstonefield be closed, and then northwards towards Narrowdale.  One writer commented many years ago that for almost a quarter of the year the inhabitants of Narrowdale never saw the sun ... and at other times did not see it before 1.00pm!!  Let's hope we have more luck!!

Eventually we reach the well-loved Beresford Dale and its famous Pike Pool.  Hartington village soon appears in the distance with the distinctive Pennilow Hill to the right of our return route.

A cracking walk in this superb area.  Plenty of interest along this route through varied terrain.  Ups and downs are numerous - the views often spectacular - and the availability of two pubs en route an added bonus!

Quite a bit of ascent, but what a walk!!  Highly recommended.

B' Walk - 8 miles.   Leader - Dana Carter.    Grade - moderate .   Ascent - 1400 feet. 

My second walk as leader begins in the limestone market town of Hartington (a market charter was granted to the village in 1203).  It is a varied walk with lovely views from the off, and never far from the river Dove.  Apart from the rather steep ascent onto Narrowdale Hill and the subsequent steep descent back down into Wolfscote Dale it is an undulating walk with only one difficult stile.

We take the path to the rear of the PC’s in Hartington, heading south, the first mile being gentle rolling countryside with fine open views, before we enter Morson Wood which leads us into the gorgeous George ( oops gorge) aka Beresford Dale. 

When we reach the second bridge we turn right and then left, again heading south. Having had a gentle warm up I’m sure you’ll all be ready for the rather steep climb (sorry guys) onto the flank of Narrowdale Hill where we will be rewarded with lovely views across the valley for our morning coffee break.  We now cross several fields before joining a lane which leads us into the picturesque Staffordshire village of Alstonefield, where some of youGypsy BankGypsy Bank will be relieved to know I’ve arranged for a second PC stop.  Unfortunately it’s a little early to take refreshments at the village pub, so it’s onwards we go heading east out of the village past the dinosaur, taking the second left footpath past the Youth Hostel towards the top of Gypsy Bank.  This is one of my favourite views overlooking the River Dove and Coldeaton Bridge.  Take care and time making the very steep descent into the valley – we will stop for lunch here so no need to hurry.

After lunch we cross the bridge into Wolfscote Dale for an easy pleasant stroll before reaching Peaseland Rocks where we take a right turn into Biggin Dale. I do hope it’s dried out a little, as the path was a stream when I did the recce. Even when dry you need to pick your way through this rocky dale. We branch left for our final climb of the day before joining Reynards Lane for an easy walk back into Hartington. Another superb walk which is also highly recommended.

'C' Walk - 5 or 6 miles.    Leaders - Doreen Marsh/Mavis Holmes. Grade - easy/mod. Ascent -500/800 feet.

I have decided to split the 'C' walk into two separate walks because when Mavis and I did the recce down Biggin Dale, it was flooded and very slippery - not at all safe for a number of the 'C' walkers, so we have decided that Mavis will take the confident walkers down Biggin Dale and do the whole walk which will be about 6 miles and I will take the rest of the 'C' walkers down Beresford Dale and Wolfscote Dale which will be a lot easier, approximately just over 5 miles. Below is the walk we did on the recce so you will have to decide which walk suits you best.

After refreshments at the Charles Cotton Pub, we start the walk with a brief ascent out of the village up to the Youth Hostel where we join Highfield Lane to head south eastwards towards Biggin.  This old track should be fairly dry underfoot unless we Wolfscote DaleWolfscote Dalehave heavy rain before the walk. The advantage of taking this higher path rather than Reynard's Lane just below, is that the views are slightly better - and we don't want the 'A' group to think we are copying their route!!

On reaching Dale End we begin our descent into Biggin Dale, which has one or two tricky sections which can be slippery and uneven, so care is needed and a walking pole recommended.

Biggin Dale joins Wolfscote Dale and the River Dove and the path along the river is relatively flat with a good surface.  The views along the river are also outstanding and we shall have our lunch break somewhere along this part of the walk.

After lunch we continue to follow the course of the River Dove, north westerly, with Beresford Dale, a particularly picturesque area where those famous fly-fishermen, Charles Cotton and Issac Walton spent many hours practising their techniques.  A gradual ascent takes us out of the Dale and into open fields, leading into the familiar outskirts of Hartington and of course, further refreshments at one of the cafes or pubs.

A straightforward walk with limited climbing along good paths, apart from the descent down Biggin Dale which is tricky towards the end.  A lovely area with outstanding scenery.

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Forthcoming Walks

                     2018      

                                    May 13th - Onecote, Staffordshire

                                    May 27th - Tintwistle, Derbyshire

                                    June 10th - Compstall/Etherow Park, Greater Manchester