Sunday 30 March 2014

The Porter Valley

You know that one of my favourite city walks in Sheffield looks and feels nothing like a city walk at all.  A walk from busy Hunters Bar at the edge of Sheffield City Centre through Endcliffe Park and beyond to the edge of the Peak District through the Porter Valley - birthplace of Sheffield's Industry, has something for everybody.

 The string of linked parks that you walk through contain (gorgeous) cafes, a brilliantly restored Industrial museum, wildlife, parklife etc etc
 The Shepherds Wheel museum is restored to exactly to how it would have been with it's huge Water wheel fixed and all the grindstones working again.
 Here is the latest apprentice grinder, I don't think she'll last long!!

 The museum is manned by volunteers and there are boards with stories from the past which are worth reading.
 I loved this bank of daffodils....
 ... and it was great to see the allotments by the park bursting into life again.
 A bit of Moss on a dry stone wall for Lisa!
 Whilst there are many clues to it's industrial past (if you look closely), it is hard to imagine that this was the birthplace for all that Industry.  It is packed with gorgeous flora and fauna these days.
 The river Porter that runs through the valley is nothing more than a large stream..
 You can see from this information board how many times they dammed it to help power various mills along its path.

 It is a magical walk - especially the higher up the valley you climb,

 At the top there is a vantage point where you can usually see up to around 40 miles away, but it was hazy and whilst it was lovely and warm, we couldn't even see the city where we had started from!
 But look what I found on our way back in Wire Mill Dam - my ultimate sign that Spring is here - Frogspawn (although I am reliably informed that this is a toad).  A very welcome sign.

Friday 28 March 2014

Dale Dike Dam, Bradfield Walk

On Sunday, we joined our walking group in Bradfield for a 5 mile family walk around Dale Dike Dam, One of 5 large dams built by the Victorians to supply water to the rapidly expanding population of Sheffield.

 Dale Dike Dam was the Dam that breached and caused the devastating Sheffield  flood that resulted in the loss of over 200 lives on the 11th March 1864.  Having recently been to listen to a talk about the flood, I found it eerie and unnerving walking through the narrow steep valley where the huge wall of water would have come rushing through.
 We had good weather for the start of our walk.  I've mentioned that they are a lovely and diverse bunch of walkers and I loved the chit chat of catching up as we started along the valley.
 I forgot myself at one point though.  I caught a couple of them giving each other a puzzled look as I photographed moss!  I then had to launch into the "blogging" explanation, but I could tell that they still thought that there was something very strange about me! (Yes I know!  they are not wrong!!)
 We had a baby in a back pack, a 3 year old who walked all the way around, a 6 month pregnant lady, an almost pensioner and lots in between on our walk, and we all had lots to talk about.  A common love of the great outdoors and stunning views helps the conversation along.
 This area of Sheffield is very popular as it is only 5 miles from the centre of the city and has a frequent bus service.  The village of Bradfield can get very crowded on a sunny summers day.  We had never done this particular walk before, so will know how to escape the crowds next time.
 There are some absolutely stunning houses out here too - we passed a fair few along the way.  Whilst we gasp at the prices of these, I commented that in London you would be lucky to get a one bedroom apartment for the same price!  I know where I would rather live!
 Well perhaps the 3 year old didn't walk all way round - I hadn't noticed this!

 Hubby had been on a late night shift the night before, and I had intended to go on my own, but he didn't want to miss out and was pleased he hadn't.  Being in the group makes us make an effort to get up and out when we might other wise not bother.
 And I love the way that someone else is in charge for a change - map reading and pathfinding.

 It's wonderful to walk paths that we don't know, but still in our local area.  The walking group has given us a new walking lease of life!
 The area of the Strines Valley here in Sheffield is stunning.
 It is a walk that we will do again, I'm sure.
The group have a walking festival in a few weeks and are walking every day.  I am going to go on as many as I can as some will be after work.  I am so looking forward to it.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Whitby - a grand day out

One of my longest standing pals came to stay with me last weekend.  She moved away from Yorkshire when she defected to the south for university and she has never returned.  I always feel that I have have to show her what she is missing here in Yorkshire when she visits.

On Sunday, we took a trip out to Whitby.  We had a proper seaside day.  Fish and chips, a pint in the pub, an ice cream at the top of the steps and a cuppa and cake in the cafe at the end of the day.
Whitby is such a lovely place.  Lots to explore, plenty to see and I think the the economic downturn has done the place a favour.  It seems to be doing very well lately with people preferring to stay closer to home or visit for the day.  Every where was looking lovely and freshly painted for the new season.
I met Pauline on the first day at Comprehensive School in 1971.  She was sat at the desk in front of me and turned around to say hello.  We have been friends ever since.  I love being in her company, she reminds me that I used to be a girl!
We explored the old half of the town - my favourite bit.
And we walked on the beach and out towards the end of one of the piers.

The weather was absolutely perfect.

It was our first seaside trip of the year and it was great to breath in the sea air.
We climbed the steps to the top of the hill where the Abbey sits...

... it's very steep and there are a lot of steps!
We also visited the lovely church at the top of the hill.  This is worth a look round if you have made the journey.  It has some great old family pews, is candle lit and has lots of interesting artifacts and stories within it's walls.
The stones in the graveyard tell the sad tales of many a lost Master Mariner.  Most of Whitby's male population at one time would have been seafarers of one description or another.
It truly is a perfect little seaside town.
On our way back to the car, we decided to call into La Rosa Hotel for a cup of tea and cake.  I had heard a lot about this very special place, decorated with car boot finds.
It stands overlooking the old town - across the harbour and has some great views from the balconies of some of it's rooms.  It has also had a very famous visitor in the past.
The tea rooms are fascinating with so many curio's and sumptious decor.  I asked the owner if there was any chance that we could take a look at a couple of rooms, and she kindly showed us the first two on the next floor.  They were totally fabulous and are now well and truly on my "list".  They are unlike any other hotel bedrooms I have ever seen.
We had a really grand day out in Whitby.  We really must make it a weekend next time.