Five walkers turned up, all wearing jackets in various shades of blue. We all managed to squeeze into one car for our journey to Darley Dale. We parked just past the Square & Compass which dates from 1735, although there is evidence that there has been a brewery there for more than 700 years.
We walked over the track of the Peak Rail railway, after making quite sure to look both ways, and climbed the steps beyond to eventually reach the busy A6. We kept to the left of Audley St. Elphin’s Park where a two bedroomed apartment is offered for sale at £310,000, anyone interested?
As this ramble hadn’t been tried out recently, the leader relied on reading the instructions out loud, allowing everyone to join in as necessary with suggestions. Most of which were sensible.
We were instructed to look for a left-hand turn opposite house number 32, which we found, and followed a tarmac track uphill. Above us on our right was a row of bungalows affording splendid views over the Derbyshire countryside.
Soon we plunged down a narrow, rocky path bordered by a moss-covered wall. We had to watch where we placed our feet, so were pleased to reach the bottom and enter Ladygrove.
If you are unfamiliar with this area, there are three dams here – Nancy, Fancy and Potter. The first one is easy to see, the others are positioned far below the track and surrounded by mature woodland. The path, strewn with fallen laurel and oak leaves is crossed here and there by small watercourses and a couple of small waterfalls. However, when we reached the end of Potter Dam, we saw a magnificent waterfall cascading into Sydnope Brook below. This whole area of Ladygrove has a magical feel to it, with the constant sound of running water prevailing.
We crossed a concrete bridge over the brook to struggle up a narrow, winding track through the last of the wooded area and into a field where we disturbed a hen pheasant with her five chicks.
After walking past Sydnope Hall Farm, we turned onto a tarmac lane with some of us tasting the deliciously sweet blackberries growing on the verges. After this we had to reconsider the route as the path mentioned in the notes was overgrown, so we decided to walk down the road and pick up the route later. Finally after following a path alongside the railway line where various shunters and old coaches were lined up, we arrived at the car and headed for home.
Steve and Julie have volunteered to lead the 5 mile walk on Sunday 1st October which will start from High Peak Junction and take us along the Cromford Canal. We meet at the church gates at 12 noon and welcome any new walkers. For more information ring Steve Franks whose phone number appears on the back page of this magazine.