Mable takes on the world of Wyedale and Cheedale with friends
Time taken: 4 Hours
This is one of the few walks that Mable and I have taken that was meticulously planned. I do have to say I had no part in the planning other than confirming where to meet, what lunch to bring and what I would wear.
It was planned by a friend and colleague at Peak District Online and was aimed to get a group of us, and our dogs, together one Saturday in late Autumn 2010 for a romp through the beautiful Dales of the Peak District. It turned out to be the most fabulous day, with both weather and company being excellent and was memorable to me if only for the fact that Mable was able to spend a whole day yomping in and out of water with six other doggy friends - she loved it!
The walk started quite early as we all met in a car park heading into Buxton, which marks the start of Wye Dale. After all the hounds had instroduced themselves - two lovely collies, two beautiful mastiffs, Mable's special labrador girlfriends- Dilly and Bumble - and Mable of course, we set forth on our days adventure.
The first part of the walk took us by the river, where the mastiffs were on the constant search for "pesky ducks", and passed Blackwell cottages. Crossing a footbridge over the river we turned right and again followed the riverside path, forking off to the right. Apparently, this whole section is prone to flooding and can be impassable on occasions. On the day we took it was quite soggy underfoot, which made it difficult in some parts, as we needed to use the famous stepping stones etc (more of that later)
On reaching the next footbridge we took an immediate left so that we could continue to walk downstream keeping the river to your right. The views were truly stunning as you walk through the valley but we had to keep an eye on our feet as the mud was pretty hazardous. With high climbing walls and crags across the water you get to the first of the famous stepping stones which run along the wall and luckily were not too flooded - Mable quickly "fell off" into the shallowish water and had to be dragged back up to continue across. At another footbridge, which allowed us to cross the river, there were some steps to take us up and then back down off to the left. We then arrived at more stepping stones bringing more Mable, labrador and mastiff chaos. Once the path opened out we could see Chee Tor above, and I would say it is so worth taking the time to look around as you will marvel at the sheer majesty of beauty around you.
Rising up into the hill using natural steps the path leads over a small tributary stream and then forks right beside it. Crossing another footbridge climb another short flight of steps taking care not to slip, we headed towards a flatter opening.
The path continued rambling until we saw signs for Millers Dale with a nature reserve off to the left. After over a mile going under an old railway bridge we kept right and needed to encourage the dogs to get in single file - no easy feat when it is seven to three, against!! On entering Millers Dale we forked right to Litton Mill and I would hope, when you take this walk, that you are as lucky as we were to hit low sunshine bouncing off the bare branches and steely river surface. The superb lighting created a blinding silvery glow which was absolutely stunning and magical. On our day, I have never felt happier being in this marvellous part of the Peak District and was truly humbled by its mellow, autumnal beauty. I do not often wax lyrical, but on this walk, with Mable in her element, I found myself trying to be poetic - and failing miserably.
Anyway, back to the walk, after the Meal Mill we forked right on the path then headed left uphill across another footbridge to get onto the Monsal Trail which took us to Millers Dale and then we climbed uphill to the left on a quite steep section leading up to the Quarry Nature Reserve. We followed the fence to the left until we reached the top and a wall where we then passed into fields and descended down into Taddington, aiming for Lydgate Farm.
Making another right turn following the lane for about 20 minutes until we got to a crossroads, we headed straight over to pass onto the Limestone Way. At this stage, unlike us who packed our lunch, you might want to make use of The Waterloo pub. I suspected that the pub were unlikely to want the canine ravaging hoards visiting and equally knew if I stopped for "pie and pint", I would find it hard to move on, so was glad of the sweaty sandwiches and squashed crisps! in resuming, with a satisfied appetite, and using the track to the left of the pub, we found, after nearly a mile, that we reached a point with three gateways and a crossing path. We turned right onto the footpath and headed off to Fivewells Farm keeping on the right hand side of the next few fields for about a mile.
On arriving at a tarmac lane you will find that you are close to Chelmorton, which apparently posseses in St John the Baptist Church one of the highest churches in the Peak District. Follow signposts for Midshires Way and bear left along it for about one and a half miles as the lane turns to the right. Take a sharp left as the lane curves off and cross stiles and fields until you get to the top of Deep Dale, where yo will need to descend into.
Deep Dale proved quite hard and uneven underfoot although the dogs stormed through it. The combination of mud and puddles made it humanly hazordous and in need of concentration though we avoided the quicksand and made it through safely. From here, all with tired legs it was about 2 miles back to the Wyedale car park on a pretty straight and easy path.
I have to say that I was glad to get back as I, along with Mable, was tired, but I felt a real feeling of satisfaction and deep pleasure at having ventured forth. it is such a fabulous Peak District walk that if you do get the chance, do try it - you will not be disappointed as I felt it ticks every box - wildlife to view; breathtaking scenery; adventure and thrills. If you take it in good company as I did you will not regret it and if you do take your dogs, they will have the time of their lives due to the great freedom most of this walk offers them. ENJOY!