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This is not intended as a walk guide

Fellow dog walkers will probably agree to them having a ‘go to route’ for bad weather. This walk, following mainly quiet roads, tracks and a section of trail, is one of mine and Nellie’s favourites.

I headed off to Minninglow car park, high on the White Peak hills. It was yet another grey day of puddles, potholes and piddling down showers. Exiting the car park on the eastern side we turned immediately left to walk down Mouldridge Lane for about half a mile. We then turned right onto a wide stony track that runs as straight as a die for over a mile to Rockhurst Farm.

The limestone uplands hereabouts were first cleared and farmed in Neolithic times. Being well drained it was easier land to work than the peaty gritstone countryside to the north and east. This path dates back to prehistoric times on a route running roughly north to south along the limestone plateau passing Arbor Low to the north (the third largest henge or stone circle in England), then Minninglow and on past Harboro Rocks. Later this track was modified by the Romans to become one of their familiar straight roads.

Apart from the occasional hop, skip and jump over a puddle, we wandered along in peace and tranquillity until emerging onto a lane where we turned right to walk roadside for another mile or so. Along the way we passed the white painted Tithe Farm down to our left, being a typical 17th century style farmhouse.

Opposite Slipper Low Farm and recycled long ago as a gate post, I revisited one of my beloved guide stoops. Looking very weatherworn and unloved, it is now hard to make out the names on this ancient way marker, although I could just see the date 1709. This Slipperlow stoop was moved here long ago from its original position, thought to have been at a former crossroads just a few hundred yards away to the south-east. It gave directions to Ashbourne, Derby, Chesterfield and Buxton in lettering that was unusually tall compared to its peers.

The rocky eminence of Harboro Rocks came into view ahead with rotating hands of wild wind turbines beside them.

We turned right at a sign for ‘byway open to all traffic’ and followed this to high ground, passing through a little smallholding before reaching huge fields either side. Try as I might, I could see no sign of Carsington Water that lies snuggled deep into these hills not far away. However, there were fabulous far reaching views of South Derbyshire and beyond. Years ago this was a packhorse route which ran beyond Biggin-by-Hartington to Ecton. Prior to 1770, copper ore from Ecton Mine was reputedly carried this way to the smelt works at Denby. After that date the ore was sent to Whiston above the Churnet Valley.

The iconic site of Minninglow now appeared before us like a majestic silhouette against the skyline. Easy to spot with its weathered cluster of beech trees that were planted in the 19th century, and surrounded by a more recent circular beech hedge, this distinctive landmark can be seen from far reaches of the Peak District up to forty or so miles away. Minninglow burial mound is thought to be older than most Bronze Age tumuli known as ‘lows’ which sit atop many Derbyshire hills and it is an interesting thought that when the Roman’s established their nearby road from Little Chester (Derby) to Aquae Arnemetiae (Buxton), this early ‘graveyard’ had probably already been in existence for 2,000 years!

Eventually my track met up with the High Peak Trail at an area worked long ago for silica, the former pits still being visible. Over the wall on our right at the start of the high embankment was a recently restored lime kiln.

We could now amble slowly back along the trail to the car park. This former Cromford and High Peak railway line passes over high buttressed embankments incorporating arches beneath for farmers and livestock to access fields either side. Stone used to build these massive structures was quarried from the hillside only a short distance away.

Sally Mosley

FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: Mum has a new nickname for me. The other day she called me Goldilocks, although I can’t see why because I’m a dark chocolate and caramel colour.

I’d just eaten my breakfast which I like warmed up a little, not too hot and not cold. I then went into the lounge and jumped onto my favourite sofa, the one with the soft cushion and best view of the telly. I couldn’t settle though and took myself upstairs for a proper rest. My favourite place is in the middle of ‘big bed’ on top of the duck-down duvet for added comfort. I was snuggled up and in a deep sleep when rudely interrupted by Mum who said I had to go out for a wee. Well really, is that the way to disturb a slumbering princess, I ask? Big smiles.Nellie x


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