This is not intended as a walk guide
Bank Holiday Sunday started off wet but we didn’t mind because it meant that paths were quiet and the car park in Monyash was empty of cars, although filling up quickly with puddles. It is situated on the site of one of Monyash’s five meres or ponds, only one of which remains. As the village is geologically located in a bowl of clay amongst an otherwise upland limestone area, this meant that watering places could be established long ago for passing people, ponies, horses and livestock. Many old ways were created to pass through Monyash because of this, including drovers routes, packhorse routes, salt ways and even a former King’s Highway from Derby to Manchester.
We exited the car park over a wall stile at the back and followed a short path to Handley Lane before heading over fields and stiles to Cross Lane where we did a right. As we past a farm two brown and white patchwork patterned donkeys with very long ears were gazing at us over the wall.
Arriving at a crossroads of old ways we did a left to walk up Hutmoor Butts, a most glorious grassy track taking us up to the A515. It is said the term Butts dates back to medieval times. Following the second Archery Law of 1363 it was made obligatory for Englishmen to practise their skills with the longbow every Sunday. For safety reasons this generally took place on the outskirts of the village on common land.
When walking this way in the past, I have often observed flocks of migratory birds flying around fields either side. However, today there was just a covey of partridge that took flight and a lone juvenile wheatear bobbing about on top of a wall.
It’s hard to believe that over to the right used to be a racecourse! Flagg Races, the Grand National of Derbyshire, was established back in 1892. However, after being called off three years in a row thanks to either snow or dry weather making the ground too hard, the annual point-to-point races held on Easter Tuesday by the High Peak Hunt were cancelled for the final time in 2013. It is reputed that King Edward VIII when Prince of Wales actually rode at Flagg Races!
It was quiet as we passed the Donkey Sanctuary at Newton Farm with no sounds of braying or clip clop noises coming from the yard. I assume that all the donkeys were happily tucked up indoors out of the heavy rain. Despite this, it was busy at the campsites beyond where many colourful but temporary canvas homes had sprung up, their occupants wishing that the sun would come out.
The centuries old Bull I’ Th’ Thorn former coaching inn has moved with the times after being refurbished in recent years as a café, pizzeria and camping site.
We carefully crossed over the busy main road which is straight as a die because it runs alongside a long stretch of Roman road on route to/from Aquae Arnemetiae (Buxton).
Having diagonally crossed some hay meadows we joined the High Peak Trail which we followed as far as the overhead bridge then crossed a field footpath that brought us to the Duke of York pub at Pomeroy, one of the highest hamlets in Derbyshire.
There now followed a fabulous mile or so of field and stile hiking. Because it was raining, cattle in the first couple of fields were thankfully sheltering under trees away from our path. After lots of happy ambling we eventually arrived at a corner of Flagg where we turned right along Mycock Lane. Our walk back to Monyash followed a section of the Limestone Way through Knotlow Farm that had a kaleidoscope crop and bumper harvest of tents and campers filling some of its fields.
Returning to the crossroads and old barn that we had passed earlier, Nellie and I chose a different way to way back to the village, heading down Blackwell Lane to Dalehouse Farm. Along the way I saw the remains of an old lead mine set in a cleft on the right where dips and hollows defined the rake of old surface workings.
Emerging onto a road we walked back into Monyash up Chapel Street, passing the old pinfold enclosure and Chapel Hill where there are both Methodist and Quaker chapel buildings. Sally Mosley
FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: You humans really are funny things. Us dogs love to live indoors and feel hard done by if we are made to sleep outdoors in a kennel. People on the other hand, that normally live in cosy houses and sleep on comfortable beds often think it’s a holiday and treat to pitch up in a field with a thin mattress on the ground. Thank goodness my mum is a bit of a princess like me. Instead of sleeping under the stars, mum and I prefer to snooze on our lovely bed which is like snuggling on top of a cloud rather than under one!