This is not intended as a walk guide
I awoke to find there had been a crisp frost overnight and decided to get outdoors with Nellie as quickly as possible to make the most of the morning sunshine and blue skies after a week or more of storms. A hasty breakfast was scoffed by both of us before heading off for a relatively short Sunday stroll beginning at Alsop-en-le-dale car park.
We were so early in fact that the Tissington Trail was deserted and we had it all to ourselves. From the mile long curve of elevated track bed heading north, the views were spectacular and panoramic, especially to the west where the Dove meandered out of sight. Its route is defined by a successive string of mini-mountain shaped, reef knoll hills. Traffic was building up in an ebb and flow along the rollercoaster A515 over to our right.
We exited the trail, carefully crossed over the main road and then walked up Crosslow Lane until just past the line-up of semis at Alsop Moor. No doubt these houses were constructed for employees at the nearby, now disused quarry where there used to be a brick and limestone works.
After the last house Nellie and I began a field and stile walk passing over Cross Low, the location of a Bronze Age bowl barrow. When the site was excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1843 several remains were found including a crouched skeleton with stone axe.
It was a steep descent to Alsop-en-le-dale, one of the most characterful villages in the Peak District, comprising of only a handful of properties, each one being old and interesting.
The sign for Manor Farm stated that they have a herd of pedigree South Devon cattle, although grunts and squeals from the sheds we walked past indicated that they also rear pigs too.
Church Farm is well known for its herd of rare pedigree Gloucester cattle. These gentle placid animals are an ancient breed that has been around since the 13th century. They were originally valued for their milk and beef as well as being used as draught oxen. However, the introduction of other breeds in the last couple of centuries made them less popular and by 1972 their numbers had dwindled to only one herd and about 70 cattle in total. The establishment of the Gloucester Cattle Society has seen their numbers increase considerably, although they are still ‘At Risk’.
The tiny St Michael and All Angels Church is an absolute gem. The church was founded in the 12th century and retains its Norman nave and doorway with a double chevron moulding, although the ancient looking tower is actually Victorian, having been built in 1882. To celebrate the millennium year 2000, a stained glass window was commissioned by the artist, Henry Haig which adds colour and light to the interior. In the churchyard is a line-up of Wild family graves, many of them named Thomas.
Over the hedge opposite I could just make out the enchanting Alsop Hall with its tall narrow gables. The Alsop family were lords of the manor for some 500 years, spanning 17 generations until 1688 when the Hall was sold by Anthony Alsop to Sir Philip Gell of Hopton. Since then there have been various owners.
Nellie and I left the village by walking down it’s one and only road, being a quiet lane that would soon link up with the A515 and rat race to the outside world. However, on a corner of the lane we went over a stile on the left and ascended a grassy bank footpath to return to the car park. As we climbed I looked back several times to the rural idyll of this sheltered time-warp haven.
FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: Mum has bought a posh new bed. She said it cost her an arm and a leg. That’s funny though because I can’t see any limbs missing.
I watched in horror as the old MFI ‘backache-maker’ budget bed was dragged off on a one-way journey to the tip and was really worried because I thought I would be sleeping on the floor from then on. Imagine the hardship of that!
Later in the day I woofed when two strange men came to deliver the new bed, as I’m not accustomed to strangers in the house. It didn’t take long though to put the bed together then mum covered it with one of my favourite blankets to make it smell like home.
You might think that it’s sacrilege to let a dog sleep on a new bed, but I’m no ordinary dog, I’m mummy’s hot water bottle and cuddle bundle! Suddenly I seem to be getting tired rather a lot and keep sneaking upstairs for a comfy snooze.
Yawn, yawn, from your spoilt little pooch, Nellie x