Seven walkers gathered outside Church on a warm, sunny, April day, a stark difference to a month earlier when the March walk was postponed due to incessant rain. Steve and Julie led the walk once we had made our way through heavy traffic to our starting point in Carsington.
Walking out of Carsington village we saw signs of lead mining around us, but much more picturesque was Carsington Water over on our left. The reservoir, owned and operated by Severn Trent Water was opened by the Queen in 1992. Water is pumped into the reservoir from the River Derwent at times of high rainfall and then returned to the river when levels are too low to allow extraction further downstream; no water is extracted from the reservoir itself.
Over to our right there were seven huge wind turbines, only one turning in the gentle breeze. As we crossed styles and fields we were nearly joined by an old dog, its owners almost had to drag it away from us! After passing more mine workings we soon started to descend towards the village of Brassington, another old centre of the lead mining industry.
Skirting the village we walked up a couple of roads before turning up a farm track towards Roundlow Farm, pausing to look at some lambs in a field. After crossing more styles and fields we walked down to join the High Peak Trail. Originally the Cromford and High Peak Railway, the trail was opened in 1971 following full closure of the line in 1967 and runs for 17 ½ miles from High Peak Junction near Cromford to Dowlow near Buxton.
We continued on the trail for a mile or so passing Harboro Rocks on our left. The rocks consist of dolomitic limestone and have a number of good quality but short rock climbs which a number of people seemed to be trying out. There were also the ruins of an old lead mine. On our right we walked past a mineral processing factory.
Leaving the trail we crossed Carsington Pasture passing some of the wind turbines seen earlier and the ruins of an older windmill on our left. After passing a rock formation called the ‘Kings Chair’ we had a splendid view over Carsington Water.
Rather than take the steep route down into Carsington village we crossed further fields before reaching a road, then followed the road downhill with a wooded valley on our right. On reaching a road junction we turned right, through the hamlet of Hopton.
On our left we passed the ‘Crinkle Crankle wall’ which hides the 18th Century Hopton Hall built by the Gell family. The hall is famous for its show of snowdrops and its gardens are open to visitors during February. We soon entered Carsington village and our cars. We all agreed that the weather and views had made this a most enjoyable walk.
The 5 mile walk on Sunday 7th May will be led by Eric and Helen from Hathersage. If anyone wishes to join us, we meet at the church gates at 12 noon with a packed lunch and walking boots. Transport is arranged before we set off. New members are most welcome.