Friday 26 June 2015

Cressbrook Dale and the Monsal Trail

The Dark Peak is justly famous for its heather and peat-blanketed uplands and the dark gritstone edges, scoured by centuries of wind and rain, that gaze menacingly down on its vast reservoirs - this is many people's first image when someone says they're going walking in the Peak District and it's probably usually mine too. It's not the whole story though, as picturesque towns like Bakewell and Matlock bear witness, and the fertile farmland in which they lie contains some real hidden gems for the hiker.

Fast flowing river with foliage and trees on the banks.
We ventured back into this territory late last year, when we had a friend staying with us who was temporarily using a wheelchair. A search for accessible outdoor locations led us to Tideswell Dale and we made a note to return and explore the area further.

That short outing brought us, albeit much later than we planned, to Cressbrook Dale last month. We left the car at a free roadside parking spot by the River Wye on the lane between Monsal Head and Cressbrook village. 

Monday 15 June 2015

Catlow Hill

Like our excursion to Knott End-on-Sea recently, Catlow Hill was another short walk that was planned at the last minute. The choice of location actually came from that afternoon out, inspired by the views we had seen inland, as we wandered round the lanes and salt marshes of coastal Lancashire. It was the first time either of us had been to the Forest of Bowland AONB and I really was blown away by the scenery, with huge expanses of moorland (just my type of walking country) rising up all around us.

A country road with moorland on either side and high fells on the horizon.
The Forest of Bowland

Rich and our dog standing by a shallow stream.
Lotte and Rich by the River Hoddder
It was far more breathtaking than the photo above suggests and I could have stood by the roadside for ages, gazing at the fells. Once I'd got back into the car, we drove on, passing through the attractive village of Slaidburn, until we reached the Cross of Greet Bridge car park, by the River Hodder.

Friday 5 June 2015

Knott End-on-Sea

This was an impromptu short walk we did a couple of weekends ago when the weather one Sunday afternoon defied the forecasters and brightened up. Although I have a store of walks saved with OS Maps, none of them were short enough for the time we had left in the day nor did I have time to sit and work a new one out. So I turned to the AA for this route.

We parked up in a large car park by the golf club, which provided views across the mouth of the River Wyre towards Fleetwood, where old and new were juxtaposed.

Small lighthouse and radar installation next to parked cars.
The Beach Lighthouse and the radar station at Fleetwood.
Mind you, our carpark had an air of history about it that afternoon too.