Trig Bagging at High Wheeldon

On arriving at Moor Farm CL yesterday we only had time for a short walk.  Today we plan to walk from the site again, but this time we aim to venture a bit further afield. It is not uncommon for us to walk from the site we are staying on, however, the current fuel shortages mean I have become very cautious about how much fuel we use.

We leave the site and turn left down the lane passing the farmhouse and barns to reach a junction where we turn right and follow the road to head towards Flagg Moor Farm.  The weather is overcast and it looks like we might get a drop of rain before we are finished, but we are well prepared and have waterproofs in our rucksacks just in case.

After passing the farm we continue along the lane to reach the A515 which we cross with care and take a footpath through a wall gate on the opposite side.

We now head diagonally across the field to enter another field where sheep are grazing.  The path continues to steadily descend towards the disused railway line which is now the route of the High Peak Trail.

At a junction of paths close to the disused railway line we continue straight on to go under the line and then follow a footpath across a field towards a minor road.

At the road we turn right and continue along this country lane.  This is one of those lanes where you know there won’t be much traffic because grass is growing in the middle of it.

The lane takes us to the small hamlet of Hurdlow Town which appears to consist of Hurdlow Farm, Hurdlow Hall and Hurdlow Grange.  The Hall is a farmhouse dating back to 1689.

We soon pass the route of another dismantled railway.  Apparently this was the original route of the railway line which now forms the High Peak Trail.  It was known as the Hurdlow Incline and operated until 1869 when an alternative route to the north was opened.

Continuing along the lane we see a lot of heavy machinery in the field on our right.  It is not clear what they are doing, but this field borders the massive Dowlow Limestone quarry and I have an awful suspicion that this field is about to become part of the quarry.

As the road starts to descend we get a good view of High Wheeldon, we will soon make a detour to head up the hill but much to Lynnie’s displeasure first we go downhill.

At a junction of roads we turn right and then almost immediately take a footpath on the left which goes across a field and then enters the open access National Trust land of High Wheeldon.

It is a stiff ascent to reach the hilltop.  There is a well-worn route to follow but it is still a good test of the legs and lungs.  Finally we reach the top and are rewarded with some stunning views and a trig point.  This is my 275th trig bagged.

On the trig is a plaque commemorating the property being presented to the National Trust on the 11th November 1946 by F.A Holmes of Buxton in honoured memory of the men of  Derbyshire and Staffordshire who fell in the Second World War.  It also says that the hill stands at 1,384 feet; it is a pretty exposed spot and despite it being a fine day it is decidedly chilly so we are soon heading back down the way we came.

On reaching the road we turn left and stay with it to reach the interestingly named village of Earl Sterndale and continue to The Quiet Woman pub.  Sadly this pub closed last year after the death of the long serving landlord.  It is currently on the market hopefully someone will take it on but running a pub in a rural location like this is not an easy business.

We turn to the right beside a green and take a look at St Michael and All Angels Church.  Apparently It was built in 1828 on the site of an ancient chapel.  It was badly damaged in 1941 when it was mistakenly hit by a German bomb, making it the only church in Derbyshire to be bombed in the war. It was restored in 1952 and still contains a Saxon font but unfortunately we are unable to gain access to look inside.

Leaving the churchyard we turn right and then right again to walk uphill for a short distance to pass the village school. Now we turn right along a lane and then on reaching a junction of lanes turn left.  This track goes steadily uphill between fields.

We stay with the track as it turns to the right and continues uphill to a junction of tracks on the edge of Dowlow Quarry.  Here we turn to the right and follow the fence line and can just see some of the quarry working going on below us.

This quarry first started extracting limestone way back in 1899 and apparently has a license to continue working until 2046.  It is a huge quarry and I hate to think what it will look like in another twenty-five years time.  I guess most of the hill we are now walking on will have disappeared by then!

It is an easy path to follow and we continue along the fence line. As we wander along we discuss the impact quarrying has on the countryside.  Obviously there is a need for it but it has such a harsh impact, leaving a permanent scar on the landscape.

At the end of the fencing we reach a field which looks like it is being prepared for the next bout of quarrying.  The pathway is roped off from the field and either side of us heavy machinery is removing the soil from the field.  Unfortunately I can imagine what this will look like in a year or two.

On the far side of the field we reach a track where we turn left and gradually descend to towards the High Peak Trail.

Reaching the trail we turn right and follow the disused railway line of the Cromford and High Peak Railway.  This was completed in 1831 and was built to carry minerals and goods through the Peak District.  It was one of the first railways constructed and the terrain made it challenging so there are a number of steep inclines and tight bends.  The line originally connected the canals at Whaley Bridge and Cromford, running up the Goyt Valley to Buxton and across the limestone plateau to Middleton by Wirksworth, then down to Black Rocks and down again to the Cromford Canal in the Derwent Valley. 

It was originally powered by horses on the flat sections with stationary steam engines winching wagons up the steep inclines.  In 1841 steam engines, built by Robert Stephenson, were introduced.  The line operated into the 1960’s but declining traffic and the end of some of the local quarries meant that it was closed in 1967.  

We stay on the railway line until we reach a crossing of footpaths at a bridge, here we turn left and cross fields heading towards Street Farm.  We go through a gate and then continue through the farm entrance to reach the A515 where we cross and pass the Duke of York pub.

From the pub we head south for just over a hundred yards on the broad, road verge and then turn left into Stonebench Lane and head the short distance downhill to our site at Moor Farm.

Our walk has covered seven and a half miles and it has been interesting exploring the area local to the site. 

You can view this 7.5 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here

To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Leisure – OL24 – The Peak District, White Peak

28th September 2021

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2021)

All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it.  To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.

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