Bright blue sky and autumn colours made this a lovely walk. I chose the route because it mainly avoided slippery mud and long wet grass. However, I had forgotten that it was school half term, so the trail was extremely busy with walkers and dogs, joggers and cyclists, keeping Nellie on her toes and on high alert.
I parked in Tissington car park and we headed off under the bridge and along the trail. Before long there was a seat on the right offering amazing views over the Vale of Parwich. Giant turbines on far distant hills were at a standstill as there was no wind, but any local solar panels were bathed in sunshine, harnessing lots of free energy to charge up the grid.
Bradbourne church was barely visible because of trees. It’s Norman tower has a fabulously decorated doorway arch said to be one of the best in the country, confirming the importance of this hilltop house of worship which at one time was the mother church to Tissington, Brassington, Atlow and Ballidon.
It was a lovely pleasant walk for the next mile or so with fabulous views of an undulating landscape bisected by the rollercoaster A515. Along the way I saw examples of ridge and furrow field patterns which are the remains of medieval strip cultivation that was repeatedly ploughed. Many hilltops in this part of the Peak District are dotted with clumps of trees and small copses. These are prehistoric burial sites or lows where early man buried their dead as close to the heavens and stars as possible. Minninglow, thought to be some 4,000 years old, is the most noticeable landmark with its circular beech hedge surrounding a scattering of spindly old trees.
Just before Newton House Hotel we exited the trail down steps on our right then went under a bridge and headed up a footpath to the main road which we carefully crossed to go up Gag Lane. This quiet road , devoid of people, was a glorious walk, providing far reaching views over limestone hills and beyond to the flat plain of South Derbyshire.
At one point the summit of Thorpe Cloud emerged away to our right where some ant like figures could be seen on its summit.
After passing through a gated section, the road descended to a junction in the village of Thorpe close to a garage which also doubles up as a venue for Pipes In The Peaks. Several performances of live music are held here each year when a colourful Compton cinema organ rises up from the mechanics pit.
After a lunch treat at the Old Dog pub, Nellie and I headed along Narlows Lane to the former Thorpe Station and a return to the trail. Connecting Buxton and Ashbourne, this stretch of the London & North Western railway line opened to passengers on 4th August 1899 but then closed in 1963.
Arriving back at Tissington we had a little walk around this divine little time warp containing characterful cottages, a quaint and historic church, tearoom, duck pond, craft shops and country manor house.
Tissington Hall was built in 1609 with a large wing added in the early 1900’s. In 1989 Sir Richard FitzHerbert, the present incumbent, inherited the Hall and Estate from his Uncle as well as a title. Tissington has been in the FitzHerbert family for more than 500 years and Sir Richard is the 9th Baronet. In fields opposite are earthworks believed to be of a Norman fortification showing that a settlement has existed on this site for almost 1,000 years.
St Mary’s church has a Norman tower and decorative tympanum of two small standing figures over the door. Within is an unusual double decker pulpit and monuments to Francis and John FitzHerbert of 1619 and 1643 together with their wives in costume. In the graveyard is a grave to James Allsop who ‘drownded’ on the Titanic.
FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: Me and mum have been out for a pub lunch. The Old Dog is extremely dog friendly with a specials menu designed just for canine diners. Whilst Mum chose salad and chips, I had the posh venison option described as being grain and gluten free with no preservatives. Evidently it is also hypoallergenic for sensitive tummies and omega rich for a shiny coat and healthy joints. To be honest it was just a hard chewy stick that I didn’t find very tasty. I’d much rather have munched on a dollop deposited by a sheep in a field! I didn’t eat it so mum took it home in a doggy bag for later as it wasn’t cheap. Don’t tell Mum but I’ve now hidden it down the side of the sofa. I might give it another chew when its gone smelly and mouldy. I’m such a connoisseur of good taste don’t you know. Nellie x