Magical history tour at Wardlow Mires
COLIN PARK, WALK LEADER
ASHFORD in the Water was the starting point for a recent 12-mile walk, when 16 East Cheshire Ramblers set out across fields and headed north via Churchdale Hall to reach the attractive village of Great Longstone.
A steep ascent followed to reach Longstone Moor, with a coffee stop on the way.
With views stretching away in all directions, the group continued across pastures to reach Wardlow Mires.
The peaceful surroundings we saw there hide a sinister past. The area around Wardlow Mires was once notorious for highwaymen.
The most famous was Black Harry, who operated in the area early in the 18th century, and was Derbyshire’s equivalent of Dick Turpin.
Nearly a century later, on New Year’s Day 1815, Hannah Oliver, the toll-keeper in the hamlet, was murdered by Anthony Lingard, a Tideswell man who stole from her a pair of red shoes and some money.
Found guilty, he was hung at Derby jail.
As a deterrent to others, his body was then hung from the gibbet at a nearby limestone tower, known as Peter’s Stone.
His skeleton remained there for 11 years and became a gruesome curio to passing visitors.
Heading down Cressbrook Dale, we soon came to Peter’s Stone.
A scramble to the summit was a side attraction for a few of the more adventurous ramblers.
We found a sheltered spot out of the cool breeze for lunch in Cressbrook Dale.
Then the afternoon leg of our walk started with an ascent to Wardlow Hey Cop, a local high point, before descent through tranquil Hay Dale.
We followed a short section of the Monsal Trail including through the Headstone Tunnel on the return to Ashford in the Water, where we finished with afternoon tea in a local cafe.
For more details of East Cheshire Ramblers’ weekend and midweek walks go to ramblers eastcheshire.org.uk.
●» Some of the more adventurous of the group scrambled up to the summit of Peter’s Stone to admire the view from this lofty perch