Ruins of Errwood Hall

The ruins of Errwood Hall

A walk in the hills and woodland around beautiful Errwood Reservoir in the Peak District wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the ruins of Errwood Hall.

Once a very grand building, the hall dates back to the 1830’s and was built for Samuel Grimshawe, a wealth Manchester businessman.  It was surrounded by a thriving estate and occupied by Samuel’s family for almost a hundred years.  Following the death of the last members of the family line, the building was used as a hostel for ramblers for a short while but then in the 1930’s when work began on constructing Errwood Reservoir the hall was dismantled and much of the stone was used construct the new water treatment works.

It now occupies a tranquil location near to the bottom of Shooter’s Clough just a little way up the wooded hillside from the side of the reservoir.

We visit the ruins of Errwood Hall occasionally on our Peak District guided walks.

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Beautiful Bilberries

This year has been a good year for bilberries on the moors. The tiny pink flowers appear in spring and are replaced with tasty purple berries as August approaches. They are delicious to eat right up there on the moors, or to pick and take home to be transformed into bilberry and apple pie or bilberry jam.

My mum’s old recipe for bilberry jam is 2 1/2 lb of bilberrys, 1/4 pint of water, 3 tbsps lemon juice, 3 lbs sugar and pectin (quantity as recommended by the manufacturer on the bottle or packet). Simmer the cleaned fruit, water and lemon juice for about 10 – 15 minutes, then add the sugar, stirring until dissolved, boil for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add the pectin and put into jam jars.  Delicious!

 
Bilberries

Ladybower Reservoir from Bamford Moor

Ladybower Reservoir – Setting the record straight . . .

I am by no means wishing to detract from the fabulous sporting achievements of the cyclists who took part in the second day of the Tour de France, or from the brilliant organisation of the race itself.  I would however like to set the record straight with regards to the ITV commentator’s inaccurate comments about some of the spectacular landscapes that the race passed though in the beautiful Peak District.

It was nice that the commentator made an effort to give viewers a little bit of information about the area.  Unfortunately he got it wrong.  The reservoir at the bottom of the Holme Moss descent is actually Woodhead Reservoir – not Ladybower Reservoir.   Ladybower is a beautiful reservoir that is about 10 miles to the south east as the crow flies and the race didn’t go anywhere near it.  He also gave quite a lengthy account of how the Dambusters practiced their bouncing bomb technique during the war on Ladybower Reservoir.  That again was incorrect.  It wasn’t Ladybower Reservoir or Woodhead Reservoir.  It was Derwent Reservoir in the Upper Derwsent Valley where they practiced their low level flying.

Having said all that, both Woodhead Reservoir and Ladybower Reservoir are well worth a visit.  Set among the stunning hills and moorland of the Peak District they offer fabulous opportunities for cycling and walking.  Running along the south side of Woodhead Reservoir is the Longdendale Trail which forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail – a popular route for cyclists and horse riders.  For walkers, to the south is Bleaklow – second highest hill in the Peak District and to the north is Black Hill – third highest hill.  The Pennine Way footpath crosses over both and offer the hiker some magnificent moorland views.  During August and September 2014 Peak Walking Adventures are offering guided walks on both Black Hill and Bleaklow.

Ladybower Reservoir can be found near to the village of Bamford on the A57  between Glossop and Sheffield.  In my opinion the views of Ladybower Reservoir from the surrounding hills such as Win Hill, Derwent Edge and Bamford Edge are the finest in the Peak District.  If you are into cycling, there is a good cycle track around Ladybower, Derwent and Howden Reservoirs with a cycle hire centre at the northern  end of Ladybower.  If hill walking is more your thing, then go and explore the hills around Ladybower Reservoir, or join us on one of our ‘Hills around Ladybower‘ guided walks

A few photos of Ladybower Reservoir:

 

 

Solomon’s Temple, Buxton

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 Wild Rose – England’s National Flower

June and July are a great time for seeing wild roses whilst out walking.  These climbing plants can grow up to 5 metres in height and are a common site growing in hedgerows and alongside country lanes and paths.  The wild rose is England’s national flower.  They are usually pale pink but can also be white.  The most common variety is the Dog Rose, but you may also see Field Roses or Sweet Briar all of which have a similar appearance.

The petals have a delicate scent can be scattered on salads, used to make wine, or added to jams and other dishes to add flavour.  The rose hips that appear later in the year are high in vitamin C and can be used to make syrup, tea and jam.

I took this photo yesterday up the hillside out of Dovedale in the Peak District.

Wild Roses

Wild Roses

 

Holme Moss transmitter from Tooleyshaw Moss

Holme Moss

Holme Moss is an area of moorland on the side of Black Hill in the Peak District.  The moor is crossed by the A6024 road between Holmfirth and Longendale, whose highest point is near the prominent Holme Moss transmitter that can be seen from miles around.

To British cycling enthusiasts, the A6024 ascent of Holme Moss from the village of Home has become one of England’s best known bicycle ascents, and has acquired a reputation as among the country’s more difficult climbs.  On 6 July 2014 a certain world famous cycle race will climb this hill.  It is anticipated that around 60,000 people could make their way to Holme Moss to see this section of the race and millions world-wide will probably be watching on TV.

The hills and moorland surrounding Holme Moss are also fabulous walking country.  Black Hill is the third highest hill in the Peak District and nearby Bleaklow is the second highest hill.  Both offer the hiker the opportunity to experience a wonderful wild and remote moorland environment.  However, navigation can be tricky especially if the cloud unexpectedly descends, reducing viability.

At Peak Walking Adventures we are for the first time offering guided walks during August 2014 in the Holme Moss area:

Saturday 23 August 2014 – Bleaklow guided walk

Sunday 24 August 2014 – Black Hill guided walk

 

 

Meadow Saxifrage in The White Peak

Meadow Saxifrage

Meadow Saxifrage

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.