Walkers fired up by ‘dragon’s back’
SITUATED on the Manifold River, and above the River Dove valley, the village of Longnor provides a good starting point for walks exploring the upper reaches of both rivers.
Ten East Cheshire Ramblers gathered in Longnor’s cobbled market square on a chilly morning for a recent 10-mile walk south along the Dove Valley to Pilsbury Castle.
The chill lessened as they gained their stride, walking down into the Dove Valley.
The morning coffee stop was taken at Pilsbury Castle, where earthworks and an earth mound on a limestone outcrop are all that remain visible of the Norman motte and bailey construction with a wooden perimeter wall, built in the 11th century to control the upper Dove Valley.
From here, through a haze of thin white mist, could be seen the distinctive grey outlines of Parkhouse and Chrome hills – for their shape, also known aptly as ‘dragon’s back’.
Their route crossed sheep pasture limestone uplands to reach the High Peak Trail, which follows the course of the old High Peak railway, constructed in the 19th century to link the Cromford Canal on the eastern side of the Peak District with the High Peak canal on its western edges, and with Manchester, then a rapidly developing cotton manufacturing centre.
Good views of the hills were enjoyed as they made their way along the flat track bed, stopping for lunch at picnic tables at Sparklow, which had been one of the railway halts.
The trail took them back towards Earl Sterndale, where a wooden bridge crosses the Dove.
This was followed by a short, steep ascent out of the valley back to Longnor.
Some of the group lingered over well-earned hot drinks and cakes in the market square café – another attraction in starting the walk from Longnor – before their return home, contented with the tranquillity and
beauty of the ramble.
For more information about East Cheshire Ramblers’ current walking programme, visit www.ramblers eastcheshire.co.uk.
●● The ramblers enjoy lunch at Sparklow