Archive for February 22nd, 2009

February 22, 2009

Hartington to Thorpe above the dales

by backpackingbongos

I have wanted to do a walk along the edge of Dovedale using the CROW access rights for a while now.  So yesterday I jumped in the van and drove to Thorpe in the Peak District, less than an hour away from Nottingham.  I then caught a bus to Hartington with a rough plan of walking south back to Thorpe, sticking to the eastern edges of Biggin and Dove Dale.

I left Hartington by the path that starts by the public loos and cut across to Reynards lane which soon turned into a track descending into Biggin Dale.  There were a few groups of walkers out so it was with relief that I headed straight up the steep pathless hillside on the other side of the dale.  The plan was to stick roughly to the edge of open country just below the line of the field boundaries.  I headed south without any paths to follow with great views to my right down into Biggin Dale.

There was nothing barring my way until I came to a barbed wire fence near Dove Top farm.  There was no gate or stile to be seen, and as I was still within access land I gingerly climbed over without tearing any skin or clothing.  Some scrabbling through undergrowth and almost vertical hillside brought me to the top of the tor near the farm.  Wow what a view down onto the river dove to where it splits at Wolfscote and Biggin Dales.


The next section was lovely as I picked a sheep trod along the edge of the dale past stands of Scotts Pines until I entered a beech wood full of badger sets.  I turned east above Coldeaton bridge and followed the unnamed dale edge until it became less steep and I could clamber to the bottom.  I ascended a path on the other side which quickly brought me to the Tissington trail for a quick stomp before I took another path leading to Shining Tor.

For a while I had a clear path to follow as I contoured the hillside.  This soon descended to Milldale so I struck across open country to ascend Bailey hill, the highest point of the day.


A strong wind kept me moving south through a landscape of strange hummocks then a very steep descent to the footpath near Hanson Grange.  This was immediately left to ascend the dale edge on the other side of this tributary valley where I had a long lie down in the grass with stunning views below me.


I soon picked up a well defined if little used concessionary path that lead me along the final stretch of Dove dale where Thorpe Cloud put in an appearance, dominating the view ahead.  I passed Moor barn before a steep descend and re assent brought me to Thorpe pasture.  It was then a simple walk back to the van.

A great day out with stunning views down into the dales below me.  When walking along the dale edges I did not pass a soul but could see the crowds walking along the dale bottom.  Next time I will try the western edges!