Monday, 30 July 2012

Cordwell Valley (Circular) – Derbyshire – 28/07/12 – 9 Miles (approx) – Helen (Molly)

A perfect summer’s day found us out and about on an almost local walk (taken from the August 2009 issue of Country Walking), which began for us at Barlow church. Thus the scenery throughout the day showcased for me what I like most about walking, but juxtaposed with this were problems with the route directions and the occasional cattle gauntlet, reminding me what I like least. So having found our way to Barlow Ponds, we walked along on a parallel path in the woods above them, before our first confusing instruction halted us at a lane. However after eventually working that one out we soon arrived at a long series of fields full of young male cattle that the instructions told us to go through, rather than use the bridleway that ran alongside it. This seemed totally silly to me (somewhat influenced by my dislike of all things bovine) so I carried on walking along the bridleway until I had outflanked them, and then joined Helen and Molly in the field. Time was also moving on at this point, so we briefly stopped to have our lunch. Having emerged in Cartledge, and picked up the sign to Unthank we crossed over three stiles and three fields, running the gauntlet of some more cattle (who always hang around stiles) as well as admire some large round straw type things that seem to appear this time of year. Somewhere in all this Helen lost Molly’s lead and so we had to improvise with a few bits of string that were lying about. Picking up a lane that was also signed Unthank I led us into a field (full of this time docile cattle) as I thought the instructions told us to do this on the sharp bend, whereas in fact the words were ‘after the sharp bend’. Everything seemed fine and dandy for a bit, but by the time we ended up by a brook (where Molly had a refreshing drink) we realised we were off course again. However with two great minds on the case, we were able to find an alternative route to Moorhall where our route was scheduled to continue. Once there however I struggled to pick up the instructions again, wasting time wandering about, whilst Helen had already figured it out. Back on track again we followed a walled track to Barlow Grange, before giving way to a tractor and beginning a long bridleway descent to Oxton Rakes. This was the highlight of the day for me, with fantastic views to Sheffield on our left and (more importantly) Chesterfield with its crooked Spire on our right. Once at the bottom however it all turned pear shaped again thanks to the rubbish instructions. Thus having taken three different options to try and make sense of it, with the compass also telling us we were going in the wrong direction, I was ready to throw my toys out of the pram. However Helen took charge with her OS map and eventually found us a path to take to Newgate (including crossing more dodgy cattle), which then took us on our way back to Barlow church. Walks since last blog entry: Kew Bridge – Richmond Park – Syon Park – Grand Union Canal – 13 Miles (approx)


  1. Glad you have decided to continue your blog. Always like to read of the dogs' antics. How old are they?
    Our lab still walks a fair way at 12, but tires quicker and sleeps longer (don't we all).

    Heading to lincolnshire at half term-any experience-new turf for us.

    Jen and Ruby

  2. Hi Jen and Ruby

    Sorry to take so long to reply, but I get so much Spam on this blog sometimes posts get missed.

    Molly the black labrador bitch is doing fine (and she still features on some of the walks on this blog). Luther the brown labrador dog is very very old now, and a brief stumble round the garden is all he can manage these days. Sadly it is very unlikely he will be around come the summer (the downside of owning pets, although they are actually my partners doggies and not mine).

    Glad to see Ruby is still going strong at 12.

    Lincolnshire sounds great although I have never been there myself, but like a lot of places it is on my list.