Time taken – 2- 2.5 hours
Mable ventures forth to Eyam and Stoney Middleton
This is a great walk as not only is it circular, but you have the options of two friendly tea rooms and a pub, The Miners Arms, to choose from when considering a touch of sustenance at the end. It also takes you past some of the historic features that Eyam and its surrounds are justly famous for.
Your starting point is the centre of Eyam, near Peak Pantry and the Eyam Tea rooms, to enable you to walk up The Lydgate, past Rose and Fossil Cottage and the tragic Lydgate Graves, where two plaque victims lie.
You have two options when you get up to Mill Lane, as the way splits, one down a, quite often soggy lane, the other across fields towards the famous Boundary Stone.
Both routes end at the same spot and I would say that Mable does prefer the Mill Lane, left route, which I has plenty of extra “dogilicious” smells in the descent. I find this way quite uneven under foot and a bit too boggy, on most days so tend to go via the fields, where the views are better and underfoot is kinder.
It also, doesn’t allow for a view of the aforementioned Boundary Stone, which is a must see, when in Eyam, as it was the demarcation point between the parishes of Eyam and Stoney Middleton and played a vital part in the survival of Eyam in the years of 1665 and 1666. The information point at this point does give more information about the stone and its sixpenny holes.
In taking the route to the right, past the farm house and bungalow, Mable still manages to find plenty of interest and enjoys wandering through the cow fields at the end of the short lane that takes you on into the Boundary Stone field – plenty of a farm yard smells, I think, that satisfy her discerning palate!
The views that start to emerge as you walk through the fields and lane around here are quite stunning and your eyes lead off to the left towards the Eyam New Road and up towards Riley Graves. The banks of trees, in contrast to the greens of the fields you are walking through, are stunning throughout spring and summer. They are equally colourful throughout autumn and when the trees are stripped of their foliage in the winter months, the views and detail extends further and allows sites over the superb Hope Valley. In a snowy winter these views are truly breath taking.
From the Boundary Stone field, the views extend further outwards so that the Hope Valley, down towards Chatsworth House, opens before you. The walk is mapped for you as you find yourself walking towards the fabulous view. At this stage Mable normally calls me back to reality as I generally have to go back and extract a huge log/half tree from her mouth – she always finds one just before the downhill part, which can keep her occupied for hours, but which I always worry will take my legs from under me (not what you want when you are planning to be home in one piece!)
On reaching the Boundary Stone, the view expands to show Stoney Middleton and Calver, as well as being able to see Froggatt and Calver Edge and off towards Chatsworth. When you start to descend towards Stoney do watch out for the rocky outcrops in the grass as when wet they can be quite slippery, as I can attest to, having had a bruised derriere on a few occasions – this is the type of hill that is great for extreme tobogganing and I would like to think that in our youth we would have enjoyed roaring down it – maybe to my own bodily detriment though, as it is quite steep! It has also been the place of many a “stick throw” for Mable and chums to hurtle down and chase after – fabulous own space, when sheep free.
At the bottom of this hill there is a small gate that brings you back into people-dom, and into the outward extremity of Stoney Middleton, with quaint picturesque lanes, through The Nook, via the petite, rotund church of Saint Martin’s and passed the Roman Baths, up to the churchyard.
At the churchyard it is probably worth taking a breather as the next section is uphill – I always find this to be the down side of a downhill section. I believe that this lane was actually a proper thorough fare for travellers in their commute between Grindleford / Eyam to Stoney Middleton and Calver, but I may be wrong! It is quite steep but if you take it steady, it is worth it for the view at the top.
At the top of the lane you have a dilemma. Do you turn left and walk along Eyam New Road - not a bad choice if Mable needs a “pawdicure” as the road tends not to be very busy with traffic. Or if you cross the road, to the gate opposite you can continue uphill, through fields and woods and go passed Riley Graves where another family of plaque victims lies buried. I would recommend the latter, if given the choice for the views and to see the horses in Riley Graves’s field
At this stage you are on the home stretch, only one short downhill lane before you re-enter Eyam and head back to the centre where the Pub and Tea Rooms are waiting for you. A cup of tea all round with a shortbread biscuit for my little white hairy friend. What great way to spend an afternoon – ENJOY!