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
If you’re out walking in the area of the Peak District known as The White Peak at this time of year (May/June) look out for the pretty white flowers of Meadow Saxifrage. This plant loves the dry limestone soils of the area and can be seen growing in many of the limestone dales and on the slopes of the surrounding hills.
These photos were taken near Winnats Pass, Castleton.
Anyone who has been to the Buxton area has probably seen Solomon’s Temple high up on the hillside to the south of the town. It is a lovely short walk either from Buxton town centre, or from the Pooles Cavern car park, or even nearer from the Buxton Country Park car park near to Grinlow caravan site. You can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower and be rewarded with fabulous views across the landscapes of both the Dark Peak and the White Peak.
The tower was built in 1896 by public subscription and is thought to take its name from a local man called Soloman Mycock who rented land up there to graze sheep in the early 1800s. In Victorian times when Buxton was a popular spa town, the tower was a favorite walking destination for people after ‘taking the waters’ in the town’s baths.
The tower is actually built on the site of a neolithic burial mound, and going back around 5,000 years, this hilltop is believed to have been used for religious rites.
The White Peak area of the Peak District is fully of beautiful wild flowers at present. Meadow Saxifrage is just one of many different types of plants that love the limestone soils of this area.
It’s Latin name is Saxifraga granulata and that is linked to its use in years gone by as a medicinal plant. Granulata means ‘with grain’, while Saxifraga means ‘rock-breaker’. Going back in history, it was believed that it had the power to break up gall stones and kidney stones.
There are several Victorian post boxes remaining around the Peak District. We found this one in the tiny hamlet of Hollinsclough set into the side of a barn. We don’t know exactly how old it is, but roadside wall boxes first appeared in England in 1857 as a cheaper alternative to pillar boxes, especially in rural districts.
Hollinsclough is a conservation village in the upper Dove valley, about eight miles south of Buxton. The entire hamlet comprises just eleven houses, a Methodist chapel, the village hall, and the school.