Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Tissington Trail and Dovedale

Day one report, the pics will enlarge with a click.
I set off at a about 8am on Monday morning, having got most of my stuff ready the night before. I am trying to get a bit more organised. The plan was to allow two hours driving time, and make the decision when I reached Ashbourne in Derbyshire, whether to go straight to Alton Towers, or have a walking day first and leave the Towers till the following day. It was dependent on the weather. I don't mind walking in the rain, but I don't want to be blasted in the face by droplets of rain which feel like hailstones, when I am hurtling around a coaster track.

I was making good progress untill I hit a 'Road Closed Follow Diversion' sign, which took me miles off route through Wirksworth, arriving at Ashbourne at about 10am. A sign as I entered the town 'Free Parking', now that's the sign I like to see, how sensible to use the cricket club car park for general use on a weekday.

The weather was looking a bit stormy with sunny bits in between, and as I was now running half an hour late, it made sense to do a walk today and ride the coasters tomorrow, when the forecast was much better.

So this is Ashbourne, the gateway to the Peak District. Nearly 40 years ago I had a van driving job and this was part of my patch, delivering spares to garages. It was a lovely job, the driving round bit, not the calling on customers and trying to sell them something, I was hopeless at that, ha ha.

There are a few cobbled streets around the market place, I called in Tourist Information to pick up a free map. Advertising boards everywhere though, makes the place look a tad messy. It's a pity the traders can't all get together and agree on a style and colour in keeping with the historical look about the place.

I had a nosey up an ally way and found this house which was covered in red berries.

A bit early to pop into Ye Olde Vaults.

The os map I am using today is about 40 years old, and still has the markings on there of the walks I did all those years ago. I don't think they have changed that much and the walk I am going to do is still very popular today. So, out of Ashbourne and pick up the Tissington Trail. 'Pay and Display'.....No thanks :o)

The Trail used to be the railway line from Ashbourne to Buxton, which opened in 1899 and closed in 1967. Fortunately the Peak Planning Board purchased large sections of it and created a 13 mile bridleway. I only saw a couple of other walkers, this is mostly used by cyclists.

Tissington is an estate village and has continuously been in the possession of one family, the Fitzherberts, since the 15th century. The family still lives in this early 17th century hall.

Tissington is famous for it's Well Dressing. Every year several wells are decorated with pressed flowers, mosses, ferns, leaves, and bark, they usually depict biblical themes. It is a custom which started in the middle of the 14th century. Tissington has an air of timeless serenity and seems the quintessential English village.

From Tissington I carried on further up the Trail, and turned left past Shining Tor, into Milldale. This is a tiny village, more a hamlet, only a few houses surrounded by farmland. Someone has been working very hard in this pretty cottage garden.

The tiny shop serves it's customers on the roadside. Polly's tea shop was named after the woman who originally opened it. It only opens in the summer, the owner closes it down in the winter and moves out. It didn't get connected to water and electricity untill the 1950's. There were a few walkers about and just about all of them stopped for refreshment. I had my favourite, a Magnum Classic ice cream

Time to start heading back, follow the river though Dove Dale. this is a pleasant valley walk which twists and turns, with steep sides over hung with limestone crags. There are caves.....


And pinnacles.

And at the end you come to the famous Stepping Stones.

At this point I veered off to the right around the bottom of Thorpe Cloud, it's getting late so no time to climb it, cut across to Thorpe village and pick up the Trail back to Ashbourne. I need to get to my bed for the night. It was dark when I arrived at Ilam Hall Youth Hostel so the pics will have to wait till the morning.
Just checked the mileage, 15.29. I didn't think I had walked that far, maybe that's because I have used a 1:50 scale map instead of my usual 1:25. Part two later, I'm a bit tied up with dogs again.


  1. Love love love all these photos, especilly the caves, crags and pinnacles :D
    ...Be a good name for a pop group...

  2. I can't tell you how much I enjoy looking at photos of your walks. You see some really lovely places. I have a question...what does Pay and Display mean?

  3. Beautiful area! I'm lucky enought to be local :)
    The stepping stones were recently restored and raised to their original level (they had worn so love there were often days when you couldn't cross them without getting wet legs or risk falling in, when the river levels were up!). I look forward to part two.

  4. Love the cottage garden. People think that cottage gardens look after themselves but they need a lot of tending, you were right, someone has put a lot of love into this one.
    Great pictures as always.
    Briony x

  5. Hi Lilyredcloud. Pay and display means you buy a parking ticket from the machine and stick it on the inside of your windscreen, so that when the attendant comes round to check he can see that you've paid. The prices are on the board. I think it was £1.20 for one hour, and £6 for a day. I hate paying for parking and will always look for a place on the road with no restrictions.

    Louse, I noticed the Stepping Stones had been repaired, another piece of stone put on top of the original. I thought it looked a bit odd, it would have been better if the whole stone had been replaced with new ones.

  6. Oh Ilona my part of the world♥ My Dad's side of the family were all born in Fenny Bentley just around the corner from Ashbourne. It's no wonder DH are I are at a stage in our life where we would love to move back home. Just gorgeous photos.... I'm feeling very homesick today as I know we are not making our yearly visit this year.....

  7. I'm sorry if I upset you Manchester Lass,I am sure the beautiful Peak District will still be here for many more years. Maybe next year for you, and if you come I would love to meet you.

  8. Ilona please don't think for one minute you upset me♥ I love seeing and reading about your trips, if anything you bring so much happiness into my life... and for that I am so thankful xxxx I would love to be walking with you side by side but I know for sure I wouldn't be able to keep up with you, you are a pocket rocket♥♥

  9. I live near Ashbourne in a small village ...I'm pleased you enjoyed your visit to the white peak district...we have some great valleys and dales near by( Manifold valley is picturesque too) but I prefer the rougher terrain in the dark peak...Sue xx

  10. Hi Sue, I like the dark peak as well, though I haven't done Kinder Scout yet. I don't mind rough terrain, but I am not keen on walking, or should I say paddling, through boggy peat. Bamford, Hathersage, and Castleton are my favourites.