Sunday, 4 December 2011

Day 2. Hartington, Biggin Dale, Alstonefield

Twas a lovely sunny morning when I set off on Wednesday. This kind of start to the day is so uplifting. There is happiness in my heart, and a sense of freedom which makes me want to fly, so with map in hand I am looking forward to what the day has in store for me.

I turned left out of the hostel, and set off down Highfield Lane to the right.

Eventually arriving at the start of Biggin Dale.

Eventually the path joins the River Dove, and I followed it down to Coldeaton Bridge.

This is a photo taken looking back, the path is well worn along here as it's a very popular route.

At Coldeaton Bridge I crossed the river and climbed up the steep Gypsy Bank. There's the bridge down there. I didn't want to continue any further down the river because it leads to Mill Dale and Dove Dale, two areas where I have walked before.

The view from the top of the bank. I sat and had a bite to eat at this point, just to take in how wonderful it is here. Right across on the opposite side of the valley I can see tiny figures walking along the top, they are on the Tissington Trail, a disused railway line that has been turned into a long distance path.

It was a short distance to the village of Alstonefield. This is the old Methodist Chapel which now houses a furniture making enterprise which uses traditional methods using real wood. It looks as though someone also lives there, as a ready made up bed is visible through the left hand window. I've always fancied living in a converted church or chapel.

This is St Peters Church, there was signs of activity inside so I didn't venture in as my boots were caked in mud. They were getting ready for a four day event, The Festival of Angels.

Most of the villages I have visited in Derbyshire have had a Reading Room sign on one of the houses. This one dates back to the 1820's.

After a bite to eat I sat on a bench opposite the village pub, I decided to start heading back as it had begun to cloud over a little and the threat of rain loomed.
If my hostel at Hartington is at the top end of the scale as regards luxury accommodation, then this has to be at the bottom end. The YHA also have Camping Barns, which are really only one step up from a tent. They have the most basic of amenities, and are very cheap to stay at. This is four walls and a roof, and will cost you £7.50 a night. Inside there is a communal cooking area with picnic bench type seating, toilet and wash basin, and a seperate sleeping area upstairs for twelve people. Basically you would need to carry everything you need for camping, except the tent.

I lost my way a bit on the next part of the walk. Skirting round the edge of Narrowdale Hill, there should have been a path off to the left, just after passing the derelict buildings of Narrow Dale Farm. I couldn't find it because it wasn't signed, and everywhere I looked was just like any other mud bath at the entrance to a field. Luckily my knight in shining armour was to appear, and show me the way.

Earlier in the day I was aware that a lone male was following me, quite a good way back. Not to worry, as long as he keeps his distance I thought, I kept my eye on him and kept checking his whereabouts. Then I stopped to talk to a group of three men, who reminded me of the three old boys from 'Last of the Summer Wine', and the lone walker passed us. A bit further along he stopped for a drink from his flask, and I passed him. Looks harmless I thought, just a walker like me. As I crossed the bridge and looked back I noticed that he had carried on along the river. Hmmm, I wonder if he might be doing a circle like me, and he would catch me up later.

I was right in my assumptions, there he was, just when I needed to ask someone the way. He told me he was checking out a route for a ramblers walk he was leading the following week, and by luck he had walked that particular route a few years ago, he was refreshing his memory. He looked genuine to me, so we walked together back to Hartington to where he had parked his car.
There was time for a little bimble around the village, maybe an hour of daylight left. This house is opposite the car park and toilets, don't know anything about it but I thought it looks interesting.

This is the Charles Cotton Hotel, which has been providing food and accommodation for the past 275 years.

Across the road is the Devonshire Arms pub.

St Giles Church stands high up overlooking the village.

I took a peek inside and found this colourful display, entitled, 'How the World Was Made.' Looks like a community effort, I bet they had a lot of fun making it.

I still had a little bit of daylight left so I did a short circular walk to fill the time. Luckily it hadn't rained so I returned with dry clothes. Back at the hostel it was stew for dinner again, this self catering is saving me a fortune. A quiet night in front of the fire tonight, with piles of magazines and papers to read. A few other people were staying, but the place is that big we were hardly sitting on top of each other. Plenty of room to spread yourself about. Toodle pip.


  1. Lovely walk, with companionship along the way. I'm glad the weather was a bit better for you.
    Love from Mum

  2. Utterly gorgeous countryside. I love going walking with legs never get tired!
    Jane x

  3. I'm glad the weather held off for you. It is certainly marvellous countryside.

  4. Wonderful pics! The scenery is stunning and the buildings very interesting! I`m glad you had a good, dry walk.

  5. So, reading rooms are common? Exactly what is a reading room, other than the obvious, a room in which to read? Is it a library. A room with books? Seting only? Tables? Someone one in charge?

  6. Seating only....what I meant. I was yawning and typing.

  7. Lovely pics as usual!
    We have a river in our town and if I walk the tow path to get into town, I have my phone with me which has a camera.
    Then if there is anyone who seems fishilly followsome, I can take a snap of the view with them in the scene . Well thats the plan anyway, I've never actually needed to do it.

  8. A lovely post, I love to see places I recognise! I know this area well and recognise the lanes and things in your photos! I love a nice walk around biggin dale :)

  9. I get so angry with myself having encountered an agressive flasher who blocked my access in local woodland and frightened the life out of me a couple of years ago. It was just after I had lost one of my dogs who would have protected me by not allowing the person near me. It has ruined my confidence and as i now only have a small dog I have not dared venture anywhere alone and I used to go everywhere. Oh for a dose of confidence and courage. I really miss my time alone walking

    Anyway so enjoying your blogs

    Midlands Annie


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