3 July 2014

Westwards

Well dressing in the village of Hope
Shirley is down in Bristol for a few days - it's a national conference related to student health provision. Her health centre has many university students on its list.

So yesterday I had to get up early to take her to nearby Hathersage. Another conference attendee was giving her a lift from there all the way to Bristol, After dropping off my beloved, I drove westwards to walk in virgin territory, pausing briefly in Hope to snap the picture above and arrived in Peak Dale just after ten o'clock.

Compared with Derbyshire's many quaint and picturesque villages, Peak Dale is a sad sort of place. It grew up because of limestone quarrying and most of its houses are squat and unlovely. There's a "For Sale" sign on disused Holy Trinity church and the last remaining shop - the post office - closed its doors forever a couple of years back. I met an old woman in the street. She had lived her entire life in Peakdale and had seen it change. "We've got nothing now. Nothing at all", she sighed just before I stole her handbag... (I made the last bit up).

Around Peak Dale there are the scars of limestone workings. Great clefts in the earth and still the digging and crushing machines keep grinding away. Mostly it's about the manufacture of cement and also limestone chippings for road building. Those ancient oolitic seas of pre-history have given us this unsung treasure - limestone. In the hamlet of Smalldale the air was filled with the smell and sound of the limestone industry which threatens to squeeze this former sleepy little agricultural community out of existence.

By twelve thirty my first ramble was over. Like an American pioneer, I decided to head further west - to Combs, south of Chapel-en-le-Frith on the edge of the Peak District National Park. There, in The Beehive Inn, I enjoyed a pint of orange cordial with soda water (though it was oddly unfizzy) and a packet of plain crisps before heading to the hills.

At some point I lost the path I had planned to take and found myself scrabbling over gates and dry stone walls till I came to a dell choked by Japanese knotweed which -  like posh landowners in deerstalker hats - is becoming a scourge in various parts of the countryside. Once it has got a hold it multiplies and suffocates natural vegetation. Thank heavens there's very little of it in the Sheffield region.

Finally, high on an old packhorse route - The Old Road - I walked by the strangely named Wythen Loche - an isolated moorland farm - and wondered what it might be like to live there in different seasons. And who chose that weird name? Then down past The Hanging Rock and onwards in a circle back down towards Combs. I saw lapwings in a high pasture and where I was going to take a cross country  footpath by another isolated farm, I thought better of it when vicious hounds came to meet me baring their teeth - hungry for delicious Pudding meat.

Back in Sheffield I was - to put it bluntly - knackered. After resting and processing some of my photographs, I drove up the main road to "The Wheatsheaf" which is a Toby Carvery Inn. There I enjoyed a carvery meal and a a Honeycomb Delight Sundae dessert  for a mere £6.50. Delightful and a suitable reward for a long day of rambling. While the cat's away the mouse will play. Here are some more pictures:-
Limestone train near Smalldale
Sitch House near Smalldale - typical High Peak countryside.
"The Beehive Inn" in Combs
Lapwings in a moorland meadow
Wythen Lache

21 comments:

  1. I've never seen a lapwig but I've painted 'em... and I rather like that last gate. But you didn't include a pic of your honeycomb delight sundae! That sounds delish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like Britain's prime minister, the sundae could have done with a little fruit in the bottom.

      Delete
  2. I'm glad that you were able to catch one of the well dressings; they are always spectacular, but because the differing villages stagger when they make them it can be a bit hit and miss as to whether visitors see them. All beautiful pictures and I especially like that gate too.

    I know that I've mentioned this before, but I lived in Calver for a year and was Brown Owl to the Hope Valley brownies, many moons ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My memory is like a sieve Elizabeth. I didn't know you had lived in Calver. Brown Owl in Hope Valley - now that is something to put on your cv! Eat your heart out Hillary Clinton!

      Delete
  3. Yorky, in reading this today I was thinking ~ gee I wish he would put a little map in his blog post to help me see where you wander each time. There is a little piece of software called the snipping tool that you might like ~ to capture a small shot of your map on screen and save it as a .jpeg image that you can then put in your blog post.
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/use-snipping-tool-capture-screen-shots#1TC=windows-8

    I know ~ I am a fussy reader aren't I? Don't answer that :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I have often used that excellent snipping tool but a few weeks ago all Microsoft tools disappeared from our main computer. God knows why. They are all still on the little laptop. I don't know what happened and I don't know how to fix it.

      Delete
    2. Google it YP ~ someone will have had the same problem and give you a fix.

      Delete
    3. YP, It sounds like Malware. Run Microsoft security. It's free and excellent if you do a full scan. I use Snagit for screen grabs.

      Delete
  4. Was the Beehive Inn used in an episode of Sherlock Holmes? It seems familiar. On a Mac, by the way, you don't need a microsoft (doesn't deserve a Capital M) tool, you just use shift-command-4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry Jan - I couldn't tell you if any Sherlock Holmes filming happened in that small village. And I thought a Mac was either a corporate hamburger or a raincoat.

      Delete
  5. Oh, Mr. Pudding, I get such pleasure from going on walks with you via Google Maps. And, you know how I just love, love the Peak District. Who wouldn't? How do you navigate when you are out in the middle of a field or in the scrub brush and loose your way and the path? Do you have any GPS with you when you walk alone? After my walk with you, I took the liberty of visiting Hull House again. Sorry you couldn't make it.

    I see that 20 million tonnes of Limestone a year still come out of that district. And that it has been quarried there since the Roman times. Amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No GPS Mama Thyme - just a trusty map, the position of the sun and my past experience but sometimes you can get a bit lost and that happened to me yesterday. Many English footpaths are well-marked with signposts and small yellow markers with arrows on but the less well-trodden routes can be particularly hard to follow. I am pleased that I have given you several virtual piggy back walks and that you have enjoyed them. Do you mean Hull House in Chicago?

      Delete
  6. Loving the new (well, old) profile picture. How old were you when this was taken?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well spotted Elizabeth. I was four and the picture was taken by my father.

      Delete
  7. A great shot of one of the best Wells I've seen.
    Something to keep thinking of when walking through Peak Dale. It has always been a dump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The village's name - Peak Dale is deceptive. It sounds so quaint - like a village on a biscuit tin. They should change it to Bleakton-on-Ugly-Quarry or maybe Adriansville. That should keep day visitors like me away.

      Delete
    2. I'm not pretty but I am compared to Peak Dale. It is a shit hole full of all the reprobates and malefactors that don't live just up the road in Buxton.

      Delete
  8. Once again, a post full of all the things I enjoy; a good walk, beautiful pictures, and something for me to learn. I had not known about the limestone workings and how that affected the surrounding villages. That poor old lady - how does she (and whoever else still lives in the village) get her groceries and other stuff? I guess in such a place you are truly lost without a car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nearby there's Dove Holes - a larger village - but I didn't see a shop there either. The lovely spa town of Buxton is nearby but you are right Miss Hölscher - you'd be rather trapped without a car in Peak Dale.

      Delete
    2. YP, they sell lawnmowers in Dove Holes. Dove Holes is a hole but Sheffield isn't all sweetness and sunshine.

      Delete
  9. How lovely to find your blog by chance. This post makes me feel very homesick, I have been in exile in Suffolk for many years. Lovely to see a well dressing again, and lunch at the Wheatsheaf? I haven' t been there for many years.

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.