By Michael Murphy
With improving weather, nine members of East Cheshire Ramblers ventured a little further afield on a bright March morning, for a 12 mile walk from Heatherdene Car Park, in Derbyshire. The forecast was for sunny intervals with moderate winds.
The route firstly ascended through mossy woodland, up onto Bamford Moor, where the group enjoyed splendid views across Ladybower Reservoir and the snow-specked hills beyond.
Having briefly strayed onto the wrong footpath (the distracted leader engrossed in conversation!) some “off-piste” descending was required to regain the correct route above Jarvis Clough, before stopping for our coffee break.
A long gradual climb followed, to access the rocky gritstone ridge known as Stanage Edge. What had been moderate winds in the valleys were now experienced as much stronger gusts, as the party headed South East along the jagged ridge.
Many walkers were encountered in both directions, taking the opportunity to enjoy the early spring weather, whilst using varying techniques cope with the wind.
Leaving the ridge, the group headed South West to the attractive town of Hathersage. Here they visited the churchyard of St. Michael, the reputed location of the grave of Little John, one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men.
The walk then crossed some boggy farmland to arrive at Bamford. The intended route would have used stepping stones at Bamford Mill, over the River Derwent. As these were underwater, it was necessary to extend the route to reach the Thornhill Trail. Now a bridleway, well used by walkers, cycles and horses, it was once the route of a narrow-gauge railway; built to carry materials used in the construction of the dam wall to create the Ladybower Reservoir, opened in 1945.
After walking the two-mile length of the trail, the group crossed the dam to arrive at the car park, before driving to Bamford for refreshments.