Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Hiking back home from Buxton

19th June 2024

After a frustrating wait during June 2020, the essential usage restriction was removed from public transport. Though social distancing was still very much in force, I decided that local bus services could not get that busy due to their rural or interurban nature. On catching the bus to Buxton, I was proved right. There were only three or four passengers on board at any time, and the use of face coverings was a requirement. All this cut down on any sense of trepidation that anyone might have had.

Once in Buxton, I paid a brief visit to the Pavilion Gardens before setting off for Buxton Country Park under heavy grey skies. What remains in my memory from the latter is the clash between managing a dog and social distancing. That led to some imperfections in my eyes, yet it was quickly left behind me with no last ill effects. After lingering near Grinlow Tower for a while and overhearing a conversation about meeting outdoors at a campsite (some were adjusting to camping getaways at a time when hotel and guesthouse stays were heavily restricted; the summer holiday season was on the way too…), I started along the Dane Valley Way.

Before I reached Grin Low Road, I needed to brace myself for closer encounters than my contemporary sensibility would have desired. Open moorland lay ahead of me, so I gained space for my mind to relinquish any lingering qualms. After passing Ladmanlow, I headed uphill past The Terret on the way to the A54. While this is access land and I might have avoided it, I contented myself with some road walking until the trail led me away from there again.

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

A tramp over Axe Edge Moor was my lot while I surveyed all of what lay around me. Sunshine was in short supply, though there were breaks here and there at times until clouds parted to allow longer sunny spells. The way towards and past Dane Head could have gone over soggy and sodden ground, yet that is not what I recall. All of this might have something to do with having a drier spring and early summer than often is the case.

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

Once on a sounder track, any boggy ground was left behind me. It is not for nothing that the source of the River Dane is considered to around there, and I think I might have spotted it too. What filled my senses by then was the way by Orchard Common. The route was turning my mind to another hike walked on a frosty January day years before. That went from the Cat and Fiddle Inn to Buxton and proved to be shorter than I might have expected. That was just as well given the hours of daylight and was to show that it to be but a section of my then ongoing rambling.

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

The earlier dalliance with the A54 was to be followed up with another approach. This time around, I was to be among defunct quarry workings, the Reeve-Edge and Danebower quarries. Even with a busy road nearby, these do have a scenic situation. The sun was well out by then and some photographic action ensued.

The Dane Valley does pass Three Shire Heads, an attractive spot with a pleasing packhorse bridge across the river. However, it is something of a honeypot, so I foresaw its being busy. After all, the proximity of a road allowed families to park cars and follow nearby trails. Confirming my suspicions, various groups were making their way to the aforementioned scenic and this is a narrow trail, which is no help to social distancing. Some were asking me the way, too, something that shows how many were exploring their local area for the first time.

Hiking back home from Buxton

My route took me to the A54 near Holt, where I crossed to pick up the track descending to Clough House. Near Cumberland Brook, this looks like a pleasing track, yet the reality is that it was deeply rutted for much of the way. While it is designated as a byway, it would challenge any attempts of using it using wheeled means of transport for much of its length. Once my route changed direction to head straight for Clough House, I began to retrace my steps from the preceding Saturday.

Clough House was again busy, and I was happy to be past it. However, I stayed on the lane shadowing Clough Brook, then flowing peacefully in the sunshine. Be warned, though, for it is not also so placid, as the name of the nearby village of Wildboarclough testifies. Extensive damage was done in 1989 when ferocity became the nature of the flowing water.

Hiking back home from Buxton

The sunshine also caused me to call to that village, hence my deciding against the public footpath that I used previously. There was a photographic call to St. Saviour’s Church before I returned to what was gaining the name of Nabs Road. That took me past another pub that momentarily had become a shop before rejoining another footpath that I had trodden the previous week.

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

Hiking back home from Buxton

As if to continue the theme of locals discovering places where they had never gone before, I shared this with a group of dark-skinned people. My increasing weariness meant that I did not push myself to pass them until I had my chance near Lower Nabs Farm. Thereafter, I was following the route from the Shining Tor that I had completed the Saturday before. There was more sunshine this time around as I passed Greenway Bridge, Oakenclough and Higher Sutton. The consequent gain in heat began to catch me and I began to flag a bit. My having patience with slowing legs paid off on the way home, for I was there in good time at the end of a satisfying day that looked unpromising at the start.

Travel Arrangements

Bus service 58 from Macclesfield to Buxton.

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