This is not intended as a walk guide
For this walk I decided a nice long hike over Abney Moor would be a real treat for myself and Nellie before restrictions on limited access for dogs kick in to protect ground nesting birds. Skylarks are already singing, signalling the onset of spring, and it won’t be long before the dawn chorus orchestrates our early mornings.
From the traffic lights in the centre of Bradwell, Nellie and I set off up Soft Water Lane, walking beside Bradwell Brook which actually flows right underneath two properties here. We then followed a field and stile footpath to Brough, crossing over Grey Ditch and then passing through maternity meadows containing pregnant sheep. Grey Ditch is an ancient linear earthwork or dyke that runs across the valley from the Dark Peak to the White Peak. Historians think it could have been constructed as a boundary between land belonging to the Pecsaetna people and the Kingdom of Mercia.
Arriving at Brough we turned right up Brough Lane which may possibly be Roman in origin as it leads directly from the nearby Roman fort site of Navio (Latin for ‘on the river’). After bearing right at a corner, it was a long and slow huff and puff ascent to high ground, with me stopping regularly to take a breather whilst admiring wondrous panoramic views that revealed themselves the further up I went. At one point we came across a fascinating piece of artwork fashioned into the dry stone wall that looked vaguely like a person.
This fabulous old track led us behind Bradwell Edge and Robins Hoods Cross. We then crossed a stile to follow a footpath over Abney Moor, eventually emerging onto a road not far from the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club at Camphill Farm. The wind sock was blowing and planes were being catapulted into the sky with a whoosh to then float high above our heads.
Views from this elevated and quiet road had a different perspective. Now I could look down into the wilds of Bretton Clough or over toward a string of Edges.
We descended steeply following a hollowed-away track that brought us to Great Hucklow’s little school, tucked away under the woods on the edge of the village. We then walked down to the main street, turned right to go past the pub and along the road to pick up a track heading down past Milldam Mine, owned by British Fluorspar, a subsidiary of Fluorsid. This is the last working mine in the whole of the Peak District. Its entrance is hidden from view but leads down into a magical underworld of lengthy passageways and workings.
The rough old track continued to the B6049 which we crossed with care before heading up into the hamlet of Little Hucklow, which now boasts a gastro pub named the Blind Bull. Behind this is the Manor House which dates from 1661. Listed Grade II* it has fabulous windows on the gable end, some with original leaded glass. One set is described as being a 3-light deeply recessed and ovolo moulded mullion window.
A walled footpath beyond and to the right guided us to Coplow Dale where we crossed over the road to follow another field and stile footpath, this time taking us to the bottom of Intake Dale and top of Green Dale. We emerged onto a narrow back lane that runs parallel with the busier road deep in the valley below. Views over this were to a rocky crag pitted with old mine workings and caves. Our walk ended with a steep descent back down into Bradwell. On the way I couldn’t help but admire pretty cottage gardens where bulbs were bursting forth, soon to put on a colourful display.
FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: Because I have grown up in a village where hens roam free, I was taught at an early age not to chase them. I’m good with ducks as well and can walk past a gaggle without making them waggle off in disgust. The other day I came up close to a very big bird that was ever so colourful and it had very long tail feathers. Mum told me it was a pheasant that was strutting its stuff right in front of my nose.
I like to watch birds in the sky as well, especially flocks that flit about, and murmurations simply mesmerise me.
You could say I’m an ornithological loving canine and a bit of a twitcher if truth be told. However, don’t be fooled as there’s nothing I like better than a bit of cooked chicken in my bowl come tea time! Yum yum xx