Ramble around Monsal Head
An impressive 30 walkers met for Neil’s first walk as leader and everyone enjoyed their day out in the White Peak.
After a briefing and a personal insight into Neil’s choice of walk, we set off down and across the sparkling River Wye before progressing up the longest climb of the day onto the hillside opposite Monsall Head, passing Brushfield and crossing High Dale where we stopped for coffee.
Our next stretch took us through Taddington and across Deep Dale and we arrived at our lunch stop at The Cock and Pullet having already completed seven miles.
After lunch, we visited the atmospheric ruins of Magpie Mine where we heard of ancient curses and deadly goings-on.
Our afternoon walk of five miles took us all the way down to Ashford-in-the-Water before beginning our final, steady ascent up Pennyunk Lane and back to Monsall Head where some gave in to the temptations on offer at an ice cream van.
This was a great walk with lovely views throughout. It was very well planned and led by Neil with his wife Jane as efficient backmarker – and supplier of sublime homemade cake at morning coffee.
Places of interest
The Monsal Trail is a traffic free route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users through some of the Peak District’s most spectacular limestone dales. The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell. Most of the route was opened to the public in 1981 but four former railway tunnels had to remain closed due to safety reasons, with public footpaths taking people around them.
From May 25, 2011 the four railway tunnels - Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel, Chee Tor Tunnel – were also open for trail users. Each tunnel is about 400 metres long and will be lit during normal daylight hours. Two shorter tunnels - Chee Tor No.2 and Rusher Cutting – already formed part of the Monsal Trail. The public can now experience the full length of the former railway route at their own pace and see breathtaking views at places like Water-cum-Jolly Dale that have remained hidden since the railway closed in 1968.
Magpie Mine, Sheldon The atmospheric remains of Magpie Mine are one of the best places to visit in the Peak District and one of the top industrial heritage sites in Derbyshire. It was the last working lead mine in the Derbyshire ore field and is probably the best surviving example anywhere in the UK of a 19th century lead mine. The mine has a fascinating history spanning more than 200 years of bonanzas and failures, of bitter disputes and fights resulting a Widows’ Curse that is said to remain to this day.
For more information about the Doncaster Ramblers and their future activity please download a copy of their walk programme at www.doncasterramblers.org.uk.