Stoney Middleton and Coombsdale
Time taken - 2 hours
Having and allotment at Stoney Middleton, in the Peak District, for some time now, I have tried part of this walk on a number of occasions, with Mable – taking her over to Calver Sough Nurseries for seeds and the like on warm summer days, Since Mable passed away, I have used the car to traverse what really is a very short ride from Stoney to Calver traffic lights. It has only been since the arrival of Humphrey that I have sought safe avenues to walk “Mad Dog Magoo!” as he is now called out of doors.
As previously written, Humphrey, unlike Mable, is a rescue dog from Rain Rescue in Rotherham . I have had him for six weeks and love him deeply, but he is, most definitely, a lifelong work in process, as whilst well behaved in the house in is quite awful when out of doors and needs wide open spaces and long walks to get rid of the pent up energy a six year old boxer dog holds on to.
I decided to walk Coombsdale, in full, on a wintery, watery day with the Stoney Middleton football match in full sway. It wasn’t the best of starts as whilst wet it was also cold and breezy, though the prospect of a decent walk lightened the sky and my mood as wee proceeded up the gravel lane.
The walk up to the eventual steel gates is straight, gravelly and interesting as the “walls” change from green grassy banks, to rocky hills to steep crags as you pass mine entrances and sheep grazing along the way. With Humphrey snuffling in the undergrowth and the odd rabbit or pheasant hopping out on a suicide mission in front of his path, there is something to keep us both interested – I would say that this Peak District promenade did not prove conducive to dog training as there was far too much going on in winter nature to keep his attention on me – and as we continued up to the steel gates I also thought it best to just be out and about in Peak District early winter, without the snows of 2010 to restrict progress.
Once at the gates, we turned to the left thought a small gate and then left again to follow the sheep fields across grassy moorlands, in the general direction of Curbar Edge. With a tight hold on my boy “MMM” we proceeded through the sheep throng and when I was allowed to look up, I realised that I could see to Hathersage and beyond straight across, to Eyam and up to the Barrel at Bretton, off to my left and then over to Curbar Gap straight ahead – truly splendid.
As we walked down from the sheep on a gravel path, we dipped, at one stage, towards Baslow and were even able to catch a glimpse of Chatsworth, with the house covered in its winter coat as it undergoes stone cleaning not many walks will offer you Bretton to Chatsworth within 15 minutes of walking!
With a mixture of deep quarry and grassy sheep land, we turned left to follow a small footpath towards Calver, with cross roads visible in the depths as we dropped through grazing land. If Humphrey had more control of instinctive urges the descent would have been more pleasant, though it was still enjoyable as one could still appreciate the edges across the valley.
The descent brought us out above Calver Sough Nurseries ready for the short road walk back to the car.