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Monday, 28 May 2012

Deep Dale South & The Black Marble Mine

Deep Dale South
We looked at the map last week and discovered there are not one but two dales both called Deep Dale. The first Deep Dale we went to last week i will refer to as Deep Dale North. This week its Deep Dale South.
We had a late start this week because one of our gang slept in, he claims to have gotten up early but then fell asleep on the settee!!!!
We parked on the A6 just past the turn off for Sheldon and just crossed the road to the footpath. There was a herd of buffalo in the field and we took the bridge over the river Wye. There are the remains of an old water mill on the right just over the bridge.
This mill was formerly a bone crushing mill and apparently bones from as far away as London were crushed here to make fertiliser. It was then a saw mill before closing. I found some interesting facts about bone crushing on the web:-
Animal bones have been used for land improvement for hundreds of years and demand grew alongside the agricultural revolution. Bones, and the bony cores of ox-horns, were crushed at water-powered grinding mills between iron wheels or rollers. Sometimes the bones were first boiled in cauldrons to extract the grease, otherwise bone manure attracted vermin, birds and insects. Farey refers to bones also being pounded under forge hammers. 
Tanyards were a good source of bones and horns. More unusually, Sheffield knife-handle makers sold their horn trimmings direct to local farmers, as did horn and bone button manufacturers. Strutts of Belper asked their workpeople and their children to save bones for which they were paid 1s.6d. (7.5p) per hundredweight, taking wheelbarrows full at a time. Strutts had the bones broken up at Makeney forge for spreading on their own pasture land. Farey noted that 'several Ship Loads of the Bones, collected in London (some from the churchyards as I have heard) find their way to the interior of Derbyshire annually and are there ground by mills.
Buffalo in Derbyshire
Shacklow Wood Bone Mill
The tranquil River Wye
Footpath to Little Shacklow Woods
Ike & Rob on the trail.
We had a nice steady walk alongside the river then we went up into Little Shacklow Woods. From here it was a steady climb right up into the village of Sheldon.
On the way up through the woods we found an old mine entrance which apparently was The Nettler Dale Black Marble Mine.
Ike at the entrance to the Marble mine

After a look around the mine it was back on the trail and further up the wood we found a strange memorial
in front of what looks like another mine entrance.
Wild Garlic Plant 
Fantastic smell of garlic

Memorial to whom or what?
Breaking out of the woods 
Ahhh int it cute.
Sheldon is a sleepy little village with a few cottages and several farms. There's also an ancient looking stone set into the village green.
The Cock & Pullet Pub
Young house martin waiting for its breakfast
Lassie waiting for his master
Sheldon Village Green
After we left the village of Sheldon it was across fields towards Deep Dale (South). The grass was long and full of wild flowers. skylarks were singing and it was just an English meadow at its best.

Rob & Ike trekking through the meadow

What at Moooving pic.
This is the track leading into Deep Dale (South)
Down this green lane into Deep Dale (South), it was lush green with lots of wild flowers including the Purple Orchid and Cowslip with others i cant name. We found another mine but this one looked capped and it still had some metalwork on top. We stopped here for our breakfast and we were rewarded with some fine views of swallows and a redstart.
Swallows having a rest.
Purple Orchid
A grand clump of Orchids in Deep Dale (South).
This is Bugle

Rob getting Ike to move out of the pic.
Lovely water trickling sound coming from this little stream 
Back to the car.
This was an outstanding walk, along the riverbank, through the woods, into a village, across open meadows and down the dale. It was only about 5.5 miles and offered such great diversity. Who needs to go abroad.
See you next week.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Deepdale and King Sterndale.

Only 3 of us this week on our trip to Deepdale. We parked in the Wye Dale car park at 6:55am and after a discussion decided to pay £2.50 car park fees. The wording on the board was a little obscure and we weren't sure exactly what it meant until we put the money in. Although it was just 7:00 am the time on the ticket didn't start until 10:00am.
The entrance to Deepdale was just across the road next to Topley Pike Quarry.
The first section was a narrow path alongside the quarry fence with lots of odd signs.
The sign just says Quicksand with Ike being very careful not to spill his tea.

Ike muttering something about "there's always a bloody hill"
We turned right and up the hill towards Deepdale. The path levelled out after a while and then went down again, and this is where you realise where the name comes from. Deepdale is a very steep sided limestone dale with a trickle of water in the bottom.
Deepdale has the status of being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and you can easily see why along the way there were lots of Cowslip flowers and quite a few Purple Orchids. 
Purple Orchid

Ike adopting his unique photo stance.
Spectacular steep sided dale. 
Quite a rock
The footpath was very uneven with protruding rocks hidden under the grass.

We carried on to Thirst House Cave which is the largest cave in the dale and many interesting and archaeologically-valuable Romano-British pottery discoveries have been made here in the past. A skull of a brown bear has even been found in here. It has been suggested the name comes from some sort of Hob Goblin where someone drinking from the water from the cave will be cured from ailments.

This is Thirst House Cave
Rob inside the entrance to Thirst House Cave.
Inside looking out of Thirst House Cave.
You can just make out one of the other caves on the other side of the Dale.
The path down from Thirst House Cave.
Very rough going 

This style leads out of Deepdale and into Back Dale and Horseshoe Dale

Me on the track above Deepdale with Backdale on the left and Horseshoe Dale on the right.
We climbed out of Deepdale and there were some spectacular views from above.

A view down Deepdale with Thirst House Cave in the distance.

The War Memorial at Christ Church in King Sterndale

Christ Church in King Sterndale was erected in 1847
 There's not a lot to see in King Sterndale, a couple of cottages with the phone box and post box. A couple of farms and the remains of an ancient cross on the village green.
The remains of the grade 11 listed cross are thought to be medieval and a type of monument called a Buttercross. This was restored  by the parishioners for the commemoration of the coronation of King George VI in 1937. A buttercross, or butter cross, is a type of market cross associated with English market towns and dating from medieval times. Its name originates from the fact that they were located at the market place, where people from neighbouring villages would gather to buy locally produced butter, milk and eggs. The fresh produce was laid out and displayed on the stepped bases of the cross.
Post box & Phone Box in King Sterndale.
Breakfast stop at King Sterndale
The ancient Buttercross in Sterndale 
Its worth noting that "The Hall" in King Sterndale was the home of the Pickford Family. Pickford's being the furniture removal company that we all know, although they didn't start out like that.
Their covered waggons were like something we only see in Westerns.  They ran south towards London stopping to change horses at King Sterndale. The Pickford family home, now called the Hall still has 8 bedrooms and 120 acres but in the mid 1800's was a much larger property. The Pickford brothers, Thomas and Mathew also owned a large quarry near to the Cat and Fiddle pass over to Macclesfield. This had a scouring mill wheel, reputedly high enough to rival Laxey Wheel in the Isle of Man. From this quarry, the cobblestone's were mined and scoured and shipped in Pickford waggons to pave Regent Street in London. In those days the journey from Manchester to London took 4 and a half days.

From King Sterndale the track out of the village takes you out to the top of the Wyedale valley. It was a steep climb down to the A6 below, but first we had to cross the railway track to get onto the road and then just half a mile to the car park.

The track out of King Sterndale
Ike looking down into the Wyedale

Carefully across the railway track

Beyond this bridge is another little dale with the odd name of Woodale.
Back into the car park
Remember the car park discussion at the start, well when we got back to the car park it was just 10;00am and we actually didn't need a ticket. well i think this will have long lasting effects on Ike for life.
Although it was dull and cloudy all morning there were definite signs of warmer weather coming at last. So next week it could be t shirts.