Dale stones linked to ancient legends
WALK LEADER KEN HOBBS
RECENTLY, 14 East Cheshire Ramblers enjoyed a walk centred on the picturesque Derbyshire dales of Lathkill and Bradford, with visits to stones linked to ancient legends.
Starting above the village of Youlgreave, we were serenaded by skylarks in a blue sky as we crossed pastures on our descent to tranquil River Lathkill. We paused at medieval Conksbury Bridge, overlooked by early 19th century Raper Lodge, but - disappointingly, no brown trout were to be seen in the fishponds.
At the confluence of the rivers Lathkill and Bradford, we reached the pretty hamlet of Alport, which means ‘old town’ and dates from Saxon times.
Across fields, we joined a lane ascending gradually to the village of Stanton in Peak, dominated by Stanton Hall.
Originally a medieval manor, the buildings seen today date mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries.
We climbed further to Stanton Moor reaching ‘Nine Ladies’ stone circle – legend has it that nine maidens, with their fiddle player (the nearby King Stone), were petrified for dancing on the Sabbath Day.
Continuing across moorland, we paused for lunch by the impressive ‘Cork Stone’ (named for its appearance) before descending to Birchover.
We joined the Limestone Way, soon passing two rocky outcrops that form ‘Robin Hood’s Stride’ (big chap!).
Another stone circle was then encountered, the ‘Grey Ladies’, said to dance at midnight.
Eventually we reached a hillside with magnificent views across the valley to Youlgreave.
Descending to the river Bradford, we paused again and admired a small herd of Long Horn cattle.
Continuing upstream, we passed further fishponds, this time with trout in evidence.
A short, sharp climb out of the valley brought us to the completion of our 12-mile ramble.
For more details of East Cheshire Ramblers’ programme of weekend and midweek walks go to ramblerseastcheshire.org. uk.
●● Ramblers enjoying the sun at Conksbury Bridge
●● The Cork Stone