The Bogtrotter

Tag: Peak District

Monk’s Dale circular walk from Tideswell

by on Oct.05, 2014, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

A 6.5 mile walk through one of the less visited dales in the heart of the White Peak.

Monk's Dale

Monk’s Dale

Starting from Tideswell, take the footpath between houses on Sherwood Road that climbs up into rolling filed full of sheep and dry stone walls. The path crosses several fields until you reach a track marked for the Limestone Way. Turn right and follow the track for 400 yards until you reach the road.

Turn left and follow the road steeply downhill until you reach the valley bottom. You are now at the top of Monk’s Dale. Take the footpath on the left that follows the valley floor, and head towards the woods.

Trees in Monk's Dale

Trees in Monk’s Dale

The woods of Monk’s Dale are a mystical place, completely covered with verdant green mosses and lichens. The damp micro-climate almost makes you feel like you are in a rainforest. It’s other-worldly atmosphere is enhanced by the lack of other walkers, as most seem to head to more famous dales nearby. The path is fairly tough going and progress is slow, with lots of slippery stones and rocks making it ankle-sapping.

After a mile or so you emerge from the woods into a classic U-shaped White Peak dale, with steep sides and the fast moving stream at it’s base. The path now becomes much easier, but the valley is equally picturesque. Continue along the path until you cross the stream on a narrow footbridge, then it climbs up the other side for you to leave Monk’s Dale. You appear almost on top of the church. Descend the narrow steps to reach the road, then turn right and follow the road under the impressive Miller’s Dale viaduct.

When you reach the road junction signed for Wormhill turn right and climb up the steps to reach the old Miller’s Dale railway station. This huge old station is now a car park and visitor centre, and if you are lucky the Ice Cream van will also be there.

Follow the old railway line Eastbound for around a mile until you see a signed footpath crossing it. Turn left and descend the muddy steps to a footbridge across the river. Follow the quiet backroad East, past the Ravenstor Youth Hostel, until you reach a small car park. Turn left here and take the footpath up Tideswell Dale. The path gradually ascends through a park with some curious wood sculptures and then through a field until you get to the outskirts of Tideswell. Here you join the main road to come back into Tideswell, where you can try out one of several tea shops and visit the “Cathedral of the Peaks”.

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Castleton circular walk over Mam Tor

by on Sep.27, 2014, under British Walks, Walks

Probably one of the most iconic walks in England, this seven and a half mile circular walk provides excellent views across the White and Dark Peak divide.

Cave Dale with Peveril Castle

Cave Dale with Peveril Castle

Starting from Castleton itself, go past the church and take the narrow path into Cave Dale. This spectacular deep dale (which is also the start of the Limestone Way) climbs sharply up, the path a rugged mix of stone and mud. The steep sides of the dale give it an overbearing atmosphere, which is enhanced by the sight of Peveril Castle sitting at the top of the cliffs to the right. After nearly a mile the path flattens out and you enter a more typical White Peak scene of sheep in fields surrounded by continuous stone walls.

Having passed over a stone stile, follow the tarmac track past a farmhouse as you head directly towards the imposing figure of Mam Tor. You cross a couple of roads before starting your ascent of the steep pathway to the top of the “Mother hill”. The stone steps lead through the old Iron Age ditches all the way up to the Trig point that marks the summit.

View along the Ridge

View along the Ridge

From here you follow the ridge, the stone paving that lines the route a necessary reinforcement of one of the most walked paths in the country. The path traverses Hollins Cross and Back Tor until eventually reaching the conical top of Lose Hill.  At the summit the path turns 90 degrees to the right and starts to descend back towards Castleton.

Drop down the slope towards Losehill Farm, using styles to cross a couple of stone walls.  After the farm the path follows a metalled track to Spring House Farm.  From here take the track that contours along the valley side to Losehill Hall.  Don’t follow the track when it turns left but continue straight ahead along a soggy footpath.  This emerges into another track that reaches a outdoor pursuits centre before curving left and returning to Castleton along Hollowford Road.

This is a perfect Peak District day walk, suitable for almost any season or weather.  Having done this route in thick fog, snow showers and glorious sunshine, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it every time.

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