top of page


For this walk Nellie and I set off in search of wild flowers and scenic landscapes which we succeeded in finding in abundance. Having parked roadside in Great Hucklow, with consideration for local resident spaces, we headed past the pub to leave the village along the road to Windmill. From the onset we were rewarded with spectacular views stretching away to distant landmark hills topped with high moorland and with a foreground of technicolour wild flower verges. Between them was a patchwork of hay meadows, grassy pasture sprinkled with livestock and fields stripped bare for silage.

An information board advised that below my feet was one of the major lead producing veins in the Derbyshire orefield.

Carefully manoeuvring the combination junction of roads and B6049 we headed past houses along Windmill’s main street and then turned left to follow a footpath through the remains of High Rake Mine that encountered a chequered history of profit and loss over two hundred years before its closure in 1852. Surface remains include a capped shaft along with a deep pit where a massive pumping engine was located. Alongside was a coal yard, boiler house and embanked reservoir.

A nearby information board has a photograph that shows the ruined mine buildings shortly before they were demolished for stone for council houses in the later 1920s.

The footpath crossed over a lane known as Washhouse Bottom and then continued uphill to follow Tideslow Rake, designated as a scheduled ancient monument and SSSI. The spoil heaps stretch way into the distance and appear like a lumpy bumpy lunar landscape or battlefield, covered with a saturation of wild flowers, dominated by an infinite amount of buttercups. On close inspection I could see all manner of other summer flowers and even a few surviving orchids from spring. With patchy blue sky above and a golden glow as far as the eye could see Nellie and I were walking in Peak District paradise.

At the top of the hill, dominated by a huge mast, is Tides Low tumuli, an ancient burial ground. Legend has it that this was the final resting place of a Saxon warlord called Tidi from which Tideswell got its name.

When the rake petered out, so did our footpath and we emerged onto a lane where we turned right, walking up to the junction with Bushy Heath Farm ahead. A right here and we then walked for almost a mile along Forest Lane to Little Hucklow. Fantastic views unveiled before us encompassing a pastoral scene of cattle, horses and sheep grazing on lush green grass. Curlew and lark were singing nearby and a couple of gliders were soaring above, having taken off from the airfield on Camp Green across the valley.

We descended Little Hucklow with its snuggle of cottages and houses and pub that claims to date back to the 12th century, then crossed over the rat run road to Bradwell and the Hope Valley, finishing our walk by ascending the byway opposite. This lovely old track was a quiet meander up past the site of the former Milldam Mine that sadly closed last year. It brought back memories of the time I was fortunate to have an arranged private tour. I was given lots of information on the history of the mine and actually saw real miners at work. Now the underground world of machinery and men has been silenced forever, with only T’Owd Man to haunt its maze of tunnels and shafts.

Our walk ended with an appreciation of annual and perennial flowers in some of Great Hucklow’s gorgeous cottage gardens. We may have to return in August to see the village well dressings on display.

Sally Mosley

FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: Some people say that dogs are like their owners. Well my mum is a bit nosey and so am I if I’m honest. Any excuse for a peep here or a look in there and we are up for it. When Mum saw that Birchover was having its Open Gardens she just couldn’t resist the chance to snoop and took me with her for good company. I was a bit nervous at first as I’m not used to going into strangers gardens but I soon got the hang of it. There were lots of exciting smells everywhere, and it wasn’t just the flowers, as many other curious canines were wandering about the village with their humans. Mum even took me in the Reading Room for tea and cake but she was mean and only allowed me a few crumbs. I wonder where our next visit will be? It certainly makes a change from being dragged over boring fields and stiles. Just call me Snoop Dog Nellie from now on! xxx


bottom of page