Old forgotten railway routes are putting walkers on right tracks
LONG lost rail routes are a useful starting point for walks by East Cheshire Ramblers, offering both quick and easy access to the hills and dales of the Peak District as well as a fascinating reminder of the region’s industrial heritage.
A case in point was a recent nine-mile walk from the canal basin at Whaley Bridge that initially followed the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, which was completed in 1831 for the transport of coal and limestone.
After leaving the course of the line, the group crossed the River Goyt and ascended a steep path past St James’ Church, Taxal, towards Overton Hall Farm before descending into Kettleshulme and heading north to enjoy the fine views across the valley.
Continuing west, the party of 12 walkers arrived at an unusual landmark known as the Dipping Stone.
Opinion is divided as to whether it once formed the base of a medieval cross or was a plague stone used to hold spring water where travellers could wash their money.
The walk returned to Whaley Bridge via Toddbrook reservoir – an SSSI (site of special scientific interest) which was also constructed in 1831 to supply water to the Peak Forest Canal and is now an important wildlife habitat.
One of the county’s largest walking groups, East Cheshire Ramblers operates upwards of 250 walks each year, including weekend and midweek outings, coach trips and weekends away.
There are also occasional social evenings as well as practical courses on subjects such as map reading and dealing with an emergency outdoors.
For further information go to: ramblers eastcheshire.org.uk.
●● East Cheshire Ramblers take a break to admire the view on their walk from Whaley Bridge