Walk­ers fired up by ‘dragon’s back’

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS - MIKE BULL

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

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