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Walks with Nellie – Sally Mosley

This is not intended as a walk guide.




Hathersage

It’s that time of year when every shade of gold appears to dominate our glorious Peak District landscape, being pleasing to the eye and warming to the soul.

And so it was that one wonderful October day, Nellie and I set off for Hathersage, with an intention to walk a stretch of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way. I parked just outside the village in a lay-by beside the fast road toward traffic light junction. A footpath through fields led us down to the stepping stones crossing of the river. However, one look at those slippery surfaces and deep patches of water and I chickened out!

After looking at my map, our route was changed. Initially we headed back to the A625 to pick up a footpath over the railway line, currently in the process of being replaced by a footbridge. A right when we emerged onto Jaggers Lane and then a left up Coggers Lane and we were ascending to high ground. Lovely houses lined either side of the road in this very select part of the village so I enjoyed a snoop from the pavement and a bit of house envy along the way. On reaching a bend my eyes were then enticed to look beyond, at far reaching and rather magnificent views toward Stanage Edge. In the distance it appeared like a grey pleated pelmet above a panoramic curtain of green fields, interspersed by splodges of woodland coloured with amber hues.

Not far from the turning down to Thorpe Farm I came across a metal plaque put up in 2005 by Hathersage Historical Society about Geer Green School that was situated in the nearby field from 1718-1808. Evidently it was the first school in the area and thought to have been the inspiration for the school in the novel, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Having recently visited the Bronte Museum at Haworth I was in the mood for some more Jane Eyre facts, and this walk would not disappoint!

After Thorpe Farm we turned left to follow a bridlepath across fields to Nether Hurst and then turned right up Hurstclough Lane, an ancient hollowed-away track leading up to Gatehouse. Lining this old byway was a dense hedgerow of hawthorn and holly, adorned with bright red berries like crimson jewels. Various mature trees made a canopy above our heads, some were oak whose acorns had fallen and now scrunched beneath my feet.

We emerged back onto Coggers Lane and turned left on an uphill wander to Outlane, where we walked past houses to follow the drive down to Greens House which nestles into these hills like a sheltered paradise. The views from this elevated path were awesome, encompassing pretty much the whole length of Stanage Edge and far away down the Derwent Valley.

After following the right of way through the yard, Nellie and I crossed a field to enter woodland where there are the tucked away remnants of Green’s Mill. In the late 1600’s lead was smelted here, but it then went on to be a paper mill, making brown paper used to wrap needles and pins made locally, and cutlery from Sheffield. The mill pond is thought to date back to the late 1600’s. It fills from water flowing down Hood Brook, and was harnessed to power a water wheel. Fallen brown leaves decorated the surface of the dark water as did reflections from trees that surround it.

After crossing over some easier stepping stones in the stream, Nellie and I followed the footpath to North Lees, a very attractive castellated building with tower, said to have been visited by Charlotte Bronte during her stay in Hathersage, and upon which she based Mr Rochester’s house that she called Thornfield.

At the bottom of the steep drive, not far from Bronte Cottage, we crossed over to follow a lovely path past Cowclose that led us to Hathersage Church, dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, and dating from the 14th century. This was followed by a walk down into the village for a bit of window shopping at offers in the outdoor shops, followed by a pavement potter back beside the main road to the car.


Sally Mosley


FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: Mum went away for a few days and left me with daddy who’s a real softie. I’ve had lots of treats that mum wouldn’t allow so my waistline has expanded again. Dad takes me to boot sales and buys me a sausage sarni all to myself, whereas mum only lets me have her crusts with a little sliver of meat. Dad lets me sit on the back seat of his car but mum puts me in a cage in the boot. So having been spoilt rotten, when mum returned I was a bit mean and didn’t make a big fuss of her. This made mum very sad! I know which side my breads buttered though and who takes me on the best adventure walks, so it wasn’t long before I was snuggled up and giving her lots of sloppy kisses.


Nellie xx

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