Contemplating explorations of southern Derbyshire Dales3rd October 2010
A reduction in outdoors outings seems to have coincided with a change of job a few months ago so I am wondering about changing that state of affairs. Whether it is the busy working weeks or something else such as unappealing weather that has broken my stride, it now feels as if usual haunts such as Cumbria or North Wales have got that little further away. The result is that I am wondering about destinations not so far away from home such as Shropshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.
The mention of Derbyshire brings me to a short run out last weekend. The possibility of some sun was enough to get me wondering about a photographic outing to Buxton. However, the afternoon became very grey and there was a biting cold wind too. The result was that I ended up in Ashbourne for a little while. While there, I did a little exploration and found the Tissington Trail on an improving afternoon. There was only enough time for a short stretch along the well used former railway but it was enough to etch thoughts about further explorations into my mind, especially with the rare experience of walking through an old railway tunnel included. After all, I had passed through the pretty estate village of Tissington while en route to Ashbourne and that deserves a proper visit and not just a glimpse through a bus window.
The result of my brief taste of this area was that I have been perusing Mark Richards' White Peak Walks: The Southern Dales, published by Cicerone, in the name of learning more. Though largely pastoral now, the landscape has had an industrial past that gives us the railway alignments that nowadays find recreational use as the Tissington and High Peak trails, among others. All in all, there seems to be plenty to explore and it all seems to be the sort of walking that would ease someone into the outdoors again after a layoff. That isn't to say that there isn't something for the cyclist too as I discovered a cycle hire service near the start of the Tissington Trail.
In a way, it's a surprise that I hadn't been around these parts before now. As to why that has been the case is unclear to me but perceived greater ease of access using public transport might have had something to do with it. Even so, there are a good number of bus services doing duty in these parts and there are YHA hostels (Hartington and Youlgreave) too if I fancy staying overnight somewhere and can find a space available. Now, what needs doing is to firmly pencil in some time for plying paths and trails so as to avert any fatigue-inspired foot-dragging.
Bus services 58 from Macclesfield to Buxton, 42 from Buxton to Ashbourne and 108 from Ashbourne to Macclesfield via Leek.