Dale stones linked to an­cient legends

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS -


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

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