Friday 29 October 2010

Monsal, Cressbrook and Litton Dales

On Wednesday we were supposed to be doing a day trip to York, but a sideways glance at the Bank Balance, combined with brilliant blue skies again, suggested somewhere where the temptation to shop would not be possible. And so it was no great hardship to pack a picnic and head off to one of my favorite places in the whole world - spectacular Monsal Dale.
I love this place and the many interesting and truly beautiful places around here.

When I am cooped up in my office on lovely days, I dream of being able to ramble around this place. Here I am - living the dream.

We started our walk by the old mill at Cressbrook. This was a cotton mill in the 1700's and children from the workhouses as far away as London were brought here to work. The mill has recently been converted into very swish apartments.

We wandered through Water-Cum-Jolly (great name). This is where the river formed a great mill pond to power the mill at Cressbrook.

The mill owners house stands at the top - overlooking (as they all seemed to do) the mill below. Its a stunning Gothic pile and can currently be hired out for weddings.

Lots of the old mechanics of the mill ponds and relics from the mill can be seen along the way making it even more interesting. You know I love a great walk littered with an Industrial past!

We eventually came to the mill at Litton. This was a notorious mill and the owners were very cruel to the children who worked here. Again, this has been turned into apartments, but I don't know how I would feel living in something with such a horrific past.

Its difficult to imagine that this valley was once heavily industrialised. I saw a notice that said that the river Wye is 22 miles long in Derbyshire and there is evidence of 25 mills along it.
In the past, we always have turned around and retraced our steps, as I didn't realise that you could cross the river and return over the (very high, very steep)moor. After a conversation with another walker, we decided to give this route a go.

Whilst I am glad we did this, because the views were stunning, I don't know if I would attempt it again. It was very high with narrow paths and sheer drops in parts. Hubby and the young man were amused by my terror!

What I also find amazing about this area is that it used to actually be the sea bed - you can see fossils in the rocks. Volcanoes erupted and it is now as far away from the sea as it is possible to be in England. It makes me realise that we live on a dangerous planet.

The trees added to the spectacle.

You get a better look at Cressbrook Hall from here too. If you enlarge this you will see how grand it is.

And another view of Cressbrook Mill - from higher up this time. Cotton was spun at the mill until 1930, and synthetic fibres were produced here after that.

The old railway line that used to run through here has been defunct for some time. I was horrified to discover that they are opening up the 4 tunnels along here for cyclists!! If there is one thing I hate more than heights, its tunnels! Especially when you can't see the light at the end of!!!
The boys have plans for a cycle trip - whilst I will look after their bags sat outside the Monsal Head Hotel!!!


Selfsewn said...

Ooh I'm intriegued by the tunnels!!

Hope you get good weekend weather, hopefully we are off on a New Forest ramble tomorrow.


Twiggy said...

Wowzer you've found somewhere else for me to add to our list of places to see :)
Twiggy x

Kathy said...

Oh that's one of my favourite walks too ... we were there quite recently. My post had the same photos of the mill and the machinery. We've never crossed the river though ... must do that next time!
On a sombre note, when my husband was at college he was rock climbing at Water Cum Jolly with friends ... as they arrived they saw a body floating in the water ...they had to find a phone (no mobiles in those days) and call the police. Some poor women had committed suicide.... so sad!

It's still a beautiful place though!
Love Kathy xxx

jennyfreckles said...

Lovely photos - they take me aged 15, just finished 'O'levels and a group of us from school went on a day trip there. I was utterly in love with one of the lads at the time, so I remember it all with very rose-coloured specs! From your pics, it does look as lovely as I recall.

andamento said...

I very much enjoyed today's trip, thank you. Love the photos from up on the steep moor, glad you made it home safely!

Anne said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.

Lalabibaby @ Dreaming of The Simple Life said...

Hi Diane .... thanks for dropping by .... how spooky that we were posting on similar lines! Lovely photos and I'm with you on living in apartments with such a grisly history ... especially this weekend. This is what makes me cross today when polititians talk about poverty ... not having the latest plasma or a mobile phone is not poverty. Poverty is children working in mills like. More places to add to my visiting list ... many thanks x

Gilly said...

You've done it again, Diane! I've just finished reading about the interesting bits of Sheffield, and here we are in Monsal Dale and Litton Mill (one of my favourite places!)

You don't give me time to get my breath back! ;)

Lynne said...

Likewise Diane, I have enjoyed catching up with your posts. They are all very informative. I think this one was especially, maybe because the area is completly new to me. I like the idea of the tunnels being used as cycle tracks. How long are they? I expect that they will be lit?

cottonreel said...

Oh , Diane such beautiful photographs . I don,t know these places but I appreciate so much being able to look at your blog .

Sue said...

What fantastic scenery. I'm not sure I could live in the converted mill either, I'd keep thinking about all those poor children.

Rosie said...

Great photos - one of my favourite walks - don't think I could live in the mill either:)

A garden just outside Venice said...

Stunning place, I love the 1st picture!

Cybèle said...

Trying to catch up on your blog - bit behind but I love reading your posts. Lovely photos, looks like a beautiful area! First photo is definitely my favourite, could come straight out of Country Living.

Louise said...

Hello, I just clicked through to your blog from another blog and have enjoyed what I have read so far!

I quite like to visit Sheffield I will be sure to visit Wyming Brook when I have the opportunity to do so!

Isn't the Peak District wonderful! I live not too far from Monsal, it is a lovely place! Great photos!