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Walks With Nellie ~ Crich ~ by Sally Mosley

This is not intended as a walk guide.

It really was flaming June with the temperature rising, requiring an early start for our walk and some woodland cover if Nellie and I were to stay anything like cool. How perfect it was therefore to have a summer saunter around Crich.

I parked in the lay-by on the A6 and started our walk with a bacon butty breakfast from the burger van before crossing over the road to access the canal path.

There was dappled shade for almost a mile toward Ambergate. Duck weed had covered the surface of the canal turning it into a green roadway beneath the trees where ducks dabbled and a pair of swans had chosen to nest, their three grey cygnets snuggled up in the reeds like bright eyed cuddly toys.

Just beyond an old house we went over a bridge then left to follow a footpath that would ascend gently to the top of Crich Chase, an area of ancient woodland and wild flower meadows covering almost two hundred acres on the side of the Derwent Valley. We followed a well-worn path littered with trip hazard lumps of gritstone and exposed tree roots.

After heading up the side of two fields and then right along a short stretch of Chadwick Nick Lane, we were back on a footpath through stiles and gates along The Tors. An information board on the edge of the village explained how George Stephenson, the famous railway engineer, designed a ‘plateway’ link to Church Quarry and then Cliff Quarry so that Crich limestone could be transported to kilns at bullbridge where it would be burnt into lime.

The next section of our walk would be hard to detail as Nellie and I explored the centre of Crich by popping down pathways and nipping along gennels, all the while admiring architectural features and magnificent gardens. At one point we found ourselves in the former Market Place with its string of water filled troughs. The chip shop nearby still goes by the name of Cardale Fish Bar, hankering back to the days of Peak Practice.

We eventually found our way to the top of Bowns Hill and junction of roads with traffic hazard cross which dates from 1871. Evidently it was erected to replace a much earlier cross of wooden construction. We then headed along to the church dedicated to St Mary which stands proudly above the village, its tall spire being a landmark for miles around.

A left at the top of Cromford Road took us past the entrance to Crich Tramway Village. Behind it, Crich Stand stood out proudly against a perfect blue sky.

Turning left just before Carr Lane led us along a path through fields where I found an old bridge from the quarry railway mentioned earlier. From here we headed through a succession of pasture fields to Benthill. Recently cut and baled for hay, Nellie had several rolls on the ground, taking advantage of the stubble for a good back scratch.

A narrow path followed that descended steeply down sets of steps, emerging onto a quiet lane lined with superior residences. All the houses appeared to enjoy stupendous views. Definitely a case of Location, Location, Location!

More downhill followed on a track past Thurlowbooth Farm and yet more shady woodland walking. We got back to the A6 just as the midday sun was reaching its height and then headed for home and a well-earned siesta.

Sally Mosley

FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: I’ve been on holiday to the seaside recently. Me and Mum were down on the beach every morning before breakfast. Everything there smelt really funny, a bit like the sardines that Dad puts on my breakfast. I wasn’t very fond of all that water, one mouthful and I was almost sick.

The beach seemed to go for miles and I loved being free to run around and dig in the sand. One morning I saw a dog in the distance like a faraway black dot. As it came nearer I decided to go up and say hello. However just a few yards from it I changed my mind as I realised it was a Tibetan Mastiff and the size of a huge fluffy bear! In slow motion I turned heel or should that be paw, and went to hide behind mum for safety.

There were strange scents of other humans and dogs in the holiday house where we stayed but it was good fun to explore. My best pal Nev the Schnauzer was on holiday with us and we had some great games together of chase and slide on the shiny parquet floors.

One day we all went around a massive castle where there were lots of people to say hello to. It was a warm day but Me and mum shared a yummy ice cream that cooled us down a treat.

Did you get my postcard? I gave the stamp a good slurp!

Nellie xxx


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