A GROUP of us – totalling 27 – gathered at Hathersage Station, full of anticipation for a walk in the snow after the recent heavy snowfalls in the Peak District.
We commenced by walking along the Derwent Valley Way, following the course of the River Derwent initially, before climbing slightly to the tiny hamlet of Padley, near Grindleford, to take a break at the historic Padley Chapel.
This building dates back at least 700 years, and at one time served as the gatehouse to Padley Manor, the original building dating back to the times of the Norman Conquest.
Sadly, the Manor was demolished many years ago, but the stone floors and remains of a staircase are still very much in evidence.
The Chapel is the scene of the arrest of Robert Ludlum and Nicholas Garlick – the Padley martyrs – two Roman Catholic priests, in 1588.
They were taken to Derby, where they were hung, drawn and quartered for their faith. This event is still celebrated annually at the Chapel. We continued by climbing the railway incline to Bole Hill quarries.
The quarries were used to supply the stone for the building of the upper Derwent dams of Ladybower, Howden and Upper Derwent reservoirs, and the incline was the means used to lower it to the railway below.
We followed old tramways through the extensive quarry site, eventually emerging onto Hathersage Moor, for a climb up Higger Tor, overlooking the Iron Age hill fort site of Carl Wark and the Derwent Valley far below. From here we stayed at high level, walking a couple of miles along Stanage Edge where a few hardy rock climbers were braving the Winter conditions, before our descent through fields and woodland back to Hathersage.