Biggin to Parsley Hay on the Tissington Trail – September 2022

This is the latest in a group of posts exploring the Tissington Trail. The last one ended at Biggin.

This was another early start, parking outside St. Thomas’ Church in Biggin, just before sunrise. It’s a short walk to the Tissington Trail outside the village.

The early pictures quite ‘dull’ because of the lack of sunlight, particularly in the cuttings, but they d show the different environments: some dark, damp and autumnal and some more exposed that cling on to summer. Almost.

I was quite disappointed to see someone else immediately I got onto the trail. Like a geriatric version of ‘The Terminator’ he followed me for about a mile. A lovely bloke but it was hard to get any pictures or videos without him and his dog being there.

Never mind, he’s got as much right as me (if not more) to enjoy the surroundings with his dog!

As you might already know, the Tissington Trail was a train line from Ashbourne to Buxton (the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) and it closed in 1969. There isn’t much railway paraphernalia left, apart from the bridges and an occasional tribute to the railways of yesteryear…

The walk continued, sometimes looking ahead to the trail and sometimes looking back as the sun began to rise:

I was delighted to get a shot of an aeroplane crossing the moon. It’s not a great picture but I was so pleased to be able to get it.

Then onwards, but still looking back at the sun coming up:

Some of the cuttings don’t get much sun, particularly first thing in the morning, so they smell very autumnal: of rot and damp. Most plants here have long gone to seed and they plants await winter and a new start next Spring…

Then you’re suddenly into rocky landscape, blasted by the men who built the railway line.

Hartington Station: somewhere to sit and have a break, or avail yourselves of the toilets. Sadly the teashop (part of the signal house) looks empty and is presumably closed down. I was gagging for a mug of tea, too…

My first genuine picture of wildlife, if you can actually see it: a deer grazing. I managed a couple of pictures but it heard the ‘click’ when I changed my camera lens and it was soon gone:

Then it’s off north, continuing on to Parsley Hay: the landscape continuous to be a mixture of of open, pastoral countryside and bleak, rocky cuttings hacked away by manual labour and explosives. Some people may be unaffected, but I found my mood changing between the bright, open and sunny sections and the darker, rocky parts of the trail.

This is an impressive cutting right through the rock leading to open countryside and the former Parsley Hay station. There isn’t much left of it but you can get a tea and something to eat, or hire a bike. Bear in mind these facilities will be closed in the winter.

It’s also where the Tissington Trail meets the High Peak Trail.

I walked back via the High Peak Trail but that’s another post and another website as I’ve run out of storage space again here!

I’ve set up Up Hill and Down Dale Walks Three but it might be a while before I get to add to it….

There’s also a future walk north of Parsley Hay to be done!

You’ll notice the Croatian roundhouse, which was gifted to European Union members by Croatia when they joined the EU in 2013. Sadly, the UK should have been celebrating 50 years of membership a few days ago on the 1st of January 1st 2023, but that’s British politics and a dose of stupidity for you. 😣

And lastly, the videos…

Castleton to Mam Tor and back to Castleton – Derbyshire – April 2022

Castleton is a village in Derbyshire and is part of the High Peak. It’s very busy tourist trap in the Spring and Summer and parking can be difficult. That’s why I set off very early from home and arrived at 6.30am for the walk.

I headed north from the village and uphill to The Great Ridge. It’s very steep and as you’ll see, can be a challenge to navigate in parts: rocky, muddy and sometimes with running water. Stout walking boots with good ankle support are recommended.

The ascent took me around 90 minutes including breaks and time to enjoy the scenery as I got higher. Don’t be afraid to plonk yourself down on a handy boulder for a breather – you’ll enjoy yourself much more.

There are a lot of sheep with lambs this time of year…

Plus a supremely disinterested cat:

Then it’s onwards and a lot of upwards:

A breather…

And some more upwards…

The view from the Great Ridge is worth the ascent, though.

Then it’s off west to Mam Tor with some more upwards but this time with more gentle inclines.

The day began to brighten!

Then you’re at Mam Tor, the ‘mother hill’. The monument is at the site of a bronze age fort. It allows another great view of Castleton on one side and Edale on the other.

Then it’s all downhill:

Personally I found the entrance to the Blue John Cavern rather uninteresting and at £15 to get in, unlikely. I did enjoy a cup of tea while admiring Mam Tor. Shame about the camper van?

Downwards over the brow of the hill. The walk is a little rough with fine limestone and it’s easy to slip while enjoying the view.

A better view of Mam Tor. You can see where the hillside has repeatedly fallen away.

More sheep and lambs:

And a look at Winnat’s Pass while heading back to heading back to Castleton. It’s spectacular to drive though and the picture and video hardly does it justice. Some hang-gliders too!

And lastly, The Devil’s Arse, if you like that kind of thing…

High Peak Trail: High Peak Junction to Middleton Top – Derbyshire – March 2022

This is a trail using the remnants of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway which ran from Cromford Canal, south of Matlock, to Parsley Hey, where it meets the Tissington Trail heading north.

Although it looks bucolic, it’s actually a very industrialised landscape built for the Industrial Revolution and the transport of raw and finished goods. The whole area is pocked-marked by small ancient quarries and their huge modern equivalents.

It is a challenging walk at the beginning because of the inclines, some of them 1 in 8. For an unfit walker, it’s a gasp a minute!

The struggle upwards is worth it for the view…

Then onwards and upwards. I love the archway of the bridge over the trail.

Another lovely view…

And then back again to High Peak Junction…

The rock formations, blasted by explosives and hacked at by hand to create the train line are fascinating.

Stanage Edge, Derbyshire – September 2020

This was a walk along Stanage Edge in Derbyshire, one of those gritstone ridges common to the area. It’s a beautiful and wild place!

I parked my car at Upper Burbage Bridge Car Park and then walked across the moors. Be warned it can be a very popular walk and tricky to find a car space, so start early in the day.

Not many pictures and it was done by my phone camera and the quality isn’t so good but it captures something about the place. The views are fabulous!

Spot the hang-glider…

Earl Sterndale, Derbyshire – April 2021

This was an intended walk from Earl Sterndale to Chrome Hill, also known as The Dragon’s Back. Park outside the church, opposite ‘The Quiet Woman’ pub.

It was one of those days where intention and actuality don’t overlap and I didn’t get far. It’s a walk to definitely go back to but it requires a level of fitness I didn’t have on that particular day…

To be fair, I’d overdone the walking the week before at over nine miles and hadn’t quite recovered!

Enjoy the pictures of clouds and dramatic skies, the lambs at their gambolling and frolicking stage and daffodils.

These pictures and videos are @Aidan Parr 2021, so please ask permission if you want to use them. I’ll probably say ‘yes’!

Ashbourne to Mapleton, Derbyshire – April 2021

This walk started in Ashbourne right at the beginning of the railway tunnel which was once part of the train line joining Ashbourne to Buxton which was closed in 1963. It’s now the splendid Tissington Trail. I’ll cover that in another post.

Park in the Ashbourne Leisure Centre Car Park and you’ll see the tunnel. I cut across country eastwards when I got out of the other end of the tunnel, eventually walking along the River Dove.

The walk ends at the almost Orthodox-looking church at Mapleton. I returned by going up the hill behind the church and joining the Tissington Train back to Ashbourne. There’s lots of beautiful countryside, horses, sheep, donkeys, alpacas and other wildlife on the way.

Apologies if there are too many pictures, it’s sometimes hard to know when to stop when I’ve enjoyed a good day out…

These pictures and videos are @Aidan Parr 2021, so please ask permission if you want to use them. I’ll probably say ‘yes’!

Mapleton to Dovedale, Derbyshire – April 2021

Another cracking walk in Derbyshire starting at Mapleton (sometimes spelt ‘Mappleton’), parking outside the local church, a curious looking building that looks like it should be on a Greek island somewhere but built from sandstone.

Mapleton is less than two miles by car from Ashbourne but there is also a splendid walk from there to Mapleton partly using the start of the Tissington Trail in Ashbourne and the old railway tunnel. I’ll post on that walk at a later date.

I walked from Mapleton to Dovedale but accidentally ended up in Ilam, which was no displeasure. Another walk around there is definitely needed at a later date.

Then it was over the hill to Dovedale which was very busy. It’s worth going early or out of season to appreciate the area without falling over tourists!

Then back to Mapleton going around Thorpe Cloud. It’s quite a challenging walk at this stage (for me) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The tourists melted away at this stage. Go up Thorpe Cloud for a fantastic view.

These pictures and videos are @Aidan Parr 2021, so please ask permission if you want to use them. I’ll probably say ‘yes’!

Errwood Reservoir, Goyt Valley, Derbyshire – May 2021

A fabulous walk around Errwood Reservoir in Derbyshire. It’s only four miles from Buxton, but it is a million miles away in peace and quiet. It can be quite steep so a stout pair of walking boots is recommended. Even if there hasn’t been rain for a while, the peat moorland around the reservoirs hangs on to water and gradually releases it so expect soggy walking at times.

I managed a bit of athletic jumping from dry spot to dry spot.

Also expect some of the paths high up to be quite worn from lots of visitors and take care. On a warm, hazy day in May I encountered half a dozen people at most.

It’s quite curious to be up so high but see sand and taste salt from some prehistoric sea that once covered the area.

There’s plenty of car parks around the trail. Take your pick!

These pictures and videos are @Aidan Parr 2021, so please ask permission if you want to use them. I’ll probably say ‘yes’!