3 hours -
Mable journeys from Grindleford via Froggatt.
This walk starts at Grindleford Bridge, on the north side of the Peak District National Park, though Mable and I have also been very daring on occasions, and started at Froggatt, which is equally as accessible!
Walking passed the traffic lights, over Grindleford Bridge as if heading to the railway station, you will find a small wooden gate on the right hand side which, surprisingly starts the walk in a sheep meadow.This field quite often contains sheep tups, which I think of as “bull sheep” as they are so butch and brave when compared to their female counterparts - they barely notice walkers who walk diagonally across their field, away from the river.
Walk across the field and head towards a small gated bridge which allows you to cross a boggy stretch of ground, leading into woodland off to the right. The first part of this stretch, takes you through managed woodland, is over cobbled stones with steps down onto a narrow undulating path following the river, far off to the right.
With heavy smells of damp foliage and earth and sticks aplenty, Mable is in her element here, especially as this walk leads to a shallow pond created by streams feeding down to the river. She has been known to leave me and dash off in search of this soggy haven, much to my consternation.
With its rocky boulders alongside, it has been made a stopping off point for me, when I am forced to wait for Mable to wade, and dredge for sticks. As we are at the beginning of the walk I am generally eager to get on, but Mable’s pleasure is so tangible at this spot, that I do often allow her 20 minutes to play in the water, that soon muddies with underlying silt and fallen leaves after Her Highness has galloped through it a few times!
Dragging her off, eventually we would continue along the path and meander through the undulating woods across boggy streams until the view opens out across the valley to Goatscliffe and the woods that lead up to Eyam, probably the most infamous village in the Peak District. The path leads to fields across a stone stile allowing for frolic aplenty, if there are no cows and sheep about!
Continuing across the fields dipping off down and to the right until you reach another stile and gate you get to a cobbled water lane leading into Froggatt bring you out at the Village Hall.
If you continue ahead on the road, you get to Froggatt Bridge, at which point Mable needs to be on the lead if I am not intending to walk along the river. Walking over the bridge I am generally yanked off to the left as she expects to have some “wet and Mable goes wild” fun, so a strong arm is required to lead her straight on, following the road uphill to the main road.
Crossing the main road from Grindleford to Calver cross roads, head to the field directly opposite which is accessed at the bus stop, via a high stile. This field has always been known to me as “Raging Bull” field after a good friend and her dog were “chased”, so she said, when running up it, by a snorting bull. I have never seen a bull in this field and to be honest it serves her right for being able to run up that hill as I struggle to even walk it in one go – I normally have to stop and “admire the view” – which is impressive – half way up. Running down I could accept, but running up is so wrong! ( Fell running has never been an aspiration of mine)
On getting to the top of this hill, and once I have sorted out my oxygen depletion, there are choices for the walker, depending on how much time and energy is available. There is the option to go down to Stoney Middleton if you have plenty of steam, via the cinder path to the left. For this you could go from Stoney to Calver and them back all along the river to Grindleford – it would add about 2 hours to the walk. Or you could take the easier choice which is to turn right down hill to Grindleford by road, or you could continue across, up through fields to drop down through the back woods, into Grindleford.
My option, as time is generally pressing, is to take the “pawdicure” route downhill back to Grindleford, with an off road option towards the end. The road is a gentle downhill though you need to watch out for the occasional car and bicycle. It does give you the most fabulous views across the Hope Valley, however, making it a very pleasurable stroll. Near the bottom, before you reach the main road, take the left along Goatscliffe Lane, and down into the small valley at the end, which rises out into fields on the other side, through sheep and pony fields. You get to an old metal kissing gate at the fields end that then leads out onto a down sloping lane and the bottom of Sir William Hill.
From here, cross down the side of Sir William Pub, if you choose not to take advantage of its Peak District hospitality, and take the flagged walkway back to Grindleford Bridge.
Again life has come full circle and Mable is to be popped in the car before she thinks of taking herself off and doing a lap of honour or just find a way of charging off into the water again.