Last Saturday was a really special day when we led a walk for The Peacock Hotel in Rowsley through the two ancient estates of Chatsworth and Haddon.
In addition to enjoying stunning scenery throughout the guided walk, customers learned about the fascinating history of these two estates.
What made the walk really special was that Lord Edward Manners had very kindly granted us permission to walk through the private part of the Haddon Estate that isn’t normally open to the public. He had also arranged for us to have a private guided tour of Haddon Hall after a delicious lunch at the Haddon Restaurant. The staff of the Haddon Estate looked after us really well on the day!
The private part of the Haddon Estate includes the old orchard, and the medieval deer park. This is a beautiful, very natural looking area of parkland that has largely been left undisturbed for centuries. Through here, we saw lots of beautiful mature trees, many of which had been planted by different generations of the Manners family. We saw fascinating lumps in the ground that were massive ant hills (a sign that the land has been left undisturbed for a long period of time), and we were able to look into the abandoned tunnel that the old London to Manchester railway line once passed through. The estate is managed for conservation and we saw evidence of many initiatives to encourage wildlife, birds and a diverse range of plants and trees.
The photo gallery below shows some of the highlights of the day.
Walking through the private part of the Haddon Estate
View over amazing countryside from the medieval deer park in the private part of the Haddon Estate
Exploring the entrance to the Haddon Tunnel in the private part of the Haddon Estate. The London to Manchester railway line once passed through here.
Beautiful trees in the Haddon Estate
The gardens at Haddon Hall
Walking along the track-bed of the old railway line in the private part of the Haddon Estate.
Looking down an air shaft into the old railway tunnel in the private part of the Haddon Estate.
All around the top edge of Kinder Scout there are fascinating gritstone rock formations.
On our walk today along the northern edge of the mountain, we passed these. They are known as ‘The Boxing Gloves’. If you use your imagination a little, you can see a face with gloved, raised hands up in front of it.
Whether you think they look like a man with boxing gloves on or not, it’s a really beautiful place!
Chunal Moor is a beautiful area of high, heather covered moorland in the Dark Peak with paths leading onto it from two points on the A624 between Hayfield and Glossop, and from Mill Hill. Upon studying the Ordnance Survey map, you will see the highest point on the moor is named Harry Hut.
So who was Harry and where is his hut? Well, it appears that no-one knows! There is certainly no hut there now, but there are a few loose rocks around the trig point, so maybe Harry did build some kind of shelter there many years ago. What do you think?
It’s certainly a beautiful place and the paths tend to be quieter than those on nearby Kinder Scout and the Pennine Way.
Our walk yesterday took us over five small hills in the area of the upper Dove valley, one of which was Chrome Hill. From my photo, it’s easy to see why is it known locally as ‘The Sleeping Dragon’.
The classic walk over Chrome Hill is to ‘walk the dragon’s back’ which is exactly what we did. Stunning views can be enjoyed from the ridge back up the valley towards the moorlands of the Dark Peak to the north, and looking south down the Dove Valley over White Peak countryside towards Parkhouse Hill, Hitter Hill, and High Wheeldon.
View towards Parkhouse Hill from Chrome Hill
You can enjoy a guided walk with us over Chrome and Parkhouse hills on our occasional open group guided walks, or by hiring your own personal walking guide.
Going back in history as far as Roman times, lead mining was the most important mineral industry in the White Peak area of the Peak District. During the 18th century, at least 10,000 miners worked in over 30,000 workings, some of which were opencast and some deeper mines.
Magpie Mine is the best preserved lead mine in the Peak District. It is thought to be over 300 years old and is rumored to be haunted by an old miner who is guarding a particularly valuable seam of lead ore.
The disused mine can be easily accessed via a public footpath from the village of Sheldon. We sometimes incorporate a visit to the mine on a full day scenic guided walk from Ashford in the Water, also visiting Monsal Head and Monsal Dale.
There are two pump house chimneys at Magpie Mine. The square one is of local Derbyshire design and the round one is of Cornish tin mine design. They stand above 200 metre deep shafts which were worked more or less continuously for over 200 years. The last attempts to mine the valuable lead ore is marked by black winding gear and a rusting, corrugated iron shed dating from the 1950’s. It is now protected as an ancient monument and used as a field study centre by the Peak District Mines Historical Society. There is an interesting information plaque on a building near the main shaft.
Before leaving the mine, it’s worth visiting the re-constructed horse gin about 150 metres to the east of the main mine buildings. The horse would have been walked in circles to winch up containers of lead ore from the mine below.
Yesterday, on our semi-wild camping expedition in the White Peak area of the Peak District we walked up to the trig point at the top of Harborough Rocks. It’s only a short distance off the High Peak Trail near to Brassington. A fascinating feature is this limestone rock chair.
Although many of the rocks in this area have eroded naturally into unusual shapes, it’s likely that this particular feature has at some point in history been carved by man. No-one seems to know when, but graffiti on the back of the chair dates as far back as 1757.
The chair is actually quite comfortable and certainly offers excellent views across the Derbyshire countryside.
To find out more about our guided walks and occasional camping expeditions, please see www.peakwalking.com
Late August or early September is usually the best time to see heather in flower on the moorlands of the Peak District, and this year is no exception. Out of the three types of wild heather in the area, Ling Heather is by far the most common, giving the moorlands the appearance of being carpeted in purple when in full bloom.
This year on our guided walks, we have been lucky enough on three separate occasions to see Ling Heather in its rare white form as shown in this photograph.