Time taken: 1 ½ hours.
Mable travels to Great Hucklow and Foolow
This walk starts at Mable’s village of work, not far from the Queen Anne pub in Great Hucklow. It’s mainly a gentle stroll across farm tracks, but allows you to take in some great views and has the potential for spotting gliders above Abney’s gliding club. It is a local walk for us, well worn, but never boring as there is plenty of wildlife to watch out for and at this time of year, early summer, there is so much bird song that it can be almost deafening, at certain times of the day.Starting in the centre of Great Hucklow, take a right at the Old Chapel, just after The Manse. Walk about 200 yards and after the Unitarian Chapel there is a stile to left, which you can clamber over taking you into sheep fields.
Continue straight on, over a number of other walled steps until you reach the trees in the distance, which lead to a lane to the left, and to Grindlow hamlet.
Turning right at the end of this lane, continue walking through the hamlet veering right with the road, past a barn and signpost on the left and continue down to the “main” road. Across the road is a bungalow, with a walkway off to its left, which should be taken. From here, the lane takes you in the direction of Cressbrook Dale and Wardlow, which can be seen in the distance, if you were to carry on for long enough. Mable and I tend to walk until we find a “junction” with the option of a left turn.
It is a narrow path, with ponies grazing often on the left and sometimes the odd pig in a sty in the near distance, if you are lucky. You rarely meet anyone on the path as it wends its way around, left, down and up, to Foolow village.Having dropped to the left, you are taken off the path via a step over stile and back into sheep fields, with gates and stiles to traverse. Most are easily navigable, though nearer to the village there are a couple of corkers, that prove too much of a challenge for Mable’s rickety back legs and where I am normally required to hurl a muddy hound over the top, into the next field. These fields take you to the back of Foolow and bring you out at their lovely duck pond, with its white ducks generally lolling about.
From here, cross over the road and walk up the road ahead of you, to the right of the little church, away from the village. If you walk far enough up and have the stamina to climb the full hill this leads to the Barrel at Bretton, which you will see on the horizon to your right and which affords you with fabulous views over the Hope Valley, but to the back also provides a fabulous vista towards Abney and beyond.
Walking along the road, after “The Swevic”, a house off to the left, there is a stile that allows you back into sheep fields and allows for a pleasant assent up to a pathway, which we look to as “the blackberry picking path”, (I am sure it has a proper name) named due to its abundance of brambles, which come late summer and autumn are generally heavy with fruit. It is a cinder path and if taken to the left brings you to a road which leads back down to Great Hucklow.Half way up the hill is a lottery funded excavation of an old lead mine, which can be accessed, with care and there are signs there giving detail of the excavation work, should that interest you.
Mable pays it little heed, however. Her limited excavation interest extends to tree roots and occasionally sniffing around rabbit warrens!
Turning left at the top and following the road down, you can meander and deviate slightly, if you want to “off road” as there is a stile on the left taking you back to Grindlow, through fields and barns. Last time we went through the pony fields and to the barns on the right, there were a flock of strange birds nesting and guarding their dwelling. They looked part turkey and maybe guinea fowl – very exotic, but also jolly noisy. You may also be lucky enough to meet two Shetland ponies, who are encamped in a field head, not too much taller than a dog, but very friendly. The walk takes you through their paddock and climbing the last wall steps, almost into a cottage garden, before you resurface onto the Grindlow road.
Turn left at the road and back down the tree lined lane to the left, the way you came, heading for Great Hucklow’s Unitarian Church. Alternatively, just follow the road and turn left at the top, into Great Hucklow and back to The Queen Anne pub for some well earned sustenance.
This is very much a local walk. Not too strenuous or far, but far enough that it knocks Mable out on her return home (in fairness it has been known to knock me out too, if it is blustery, but that’s a different story.) Either way, it is always good excuse to justify a pop into the Queen Anne for a swift half of whatever you fancy!!!