Tideswell, Peak District 2nd June 2013

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: approx. 10.5 miles

From Tideswell we head out north easterly to Lane Head, then turning south along Litton Edge. Heading round into the beautiful Tansley Dale we then join Cressbrook Dale, passing Cressbrook Mill.
Our journey continues onto the old railway line, which is now the Monsal Trail, towards Monsal Head. From here we will return to Tideswell via the equally delightful Millers Dale and Tideswell Dale.
Hopefully, there will be enough time to reflect on the day with a well earned T & T or foaming pint.

Moderate Leader: Andrew Mayor & Norma Carmichael   Distance: about 7 miles,

Not a very challenging walk – about 7 miles 950 feet. The walk starts by going up the road past the cafe/shops until we find a small gap/gate. We then ascend up some rather steep steps leading on to a footpath. We follow the path for a short while til we meet the road which we walk for about 20 minutes towards Litton. Once there, we walk through the village to Cressington, over the stile, and across a field, slightly uphill. Leaving the field we follow a craggy path for a few miles then take the lower path towards the river. Following this path with some road walking we have one more reasonable climb through some woods, then follow the path back to the village.

Leisurely Leader: Steve Balenski   Distance: 7 miles

We start by heading westward along gentle uphill field paths and then bridleways and lanes over open country to Wormhill. We continue southwards through Cheedale nature reserve and follow the River Wye eastwards to Millers Dale. We return to Tideswell via a rising track along Tideswell Dale.

Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton

As Adelaide is unexpectedly unable to lead this walk, would someone please like to volunteer to lead this walk, using Adelaide’s notes?

Tideswell – Litton – Tansley Dale – Cressbrook Dale – Monsal Trail – Tideswell.

This walk takes us through fields and several dales, with a chance to see lots of cowslips and other wild flowers covering the sides of the Dales. Relatively easy walk of about 6 miles. Remember, limestone can be slippy underfoot if wet.

Notes On The Area

Tideswell village is situated half a mile from the busy A623 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Baslow road, located at the top of Tideswell Dale. Its name is thought to originate from a well that ebbed and flowed in the area. The long main street of the village winds down into the dale with many lanes running up the valley side, often ending at old lead mining workings on the plateau above. Tideswell was granted a market charter in 1250 but is neither a village nor a market town. The village today is famous for its annual Well-Dressing which starts on the Saturday nearest 24th June. This is linked to Wakes Week which begins with crowning the Carnival Queen and processions through decorated streets, ending with Morris Dancing and a torch light procession.

St John the Baptist Parish Church was built between 1300 and 1390. This splendid cruciform building is often referred to as “The Cathedral of the Peak” due to is sheer size and beauty. The whole church is 14th century, decorated throughout except for the tower and west window. The church is so interesting that time must be found to visit this fine structure.

To the east of Tideswell is the little village of Litton, a pretty gathering of 18th century cottages beside a green with a set of stocks close to the Red Lion Pub. Tideswell Dale and Cressbrook Dale run south, from west and east of the village, beautiful in their own right and giving access to dramatic Millers Dale.

The Monsal Trail was part of the former Midland Railway Line cutting through the central limestone plateau of the Peak District following the deep valley of the River Wye. The trail runs for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill Junction near Buxton, and Coombs Viaduct, one mile south east of Bakewell. The most famous feature of the trail is Monsal Head Viaduct which takes the former railway line over the Upper Wye Valley.

Litton Mill was founded in 1782 using the water of the River Wye to drive the mill’s water wheels for the spinning of cotton. The mill became notorious for the harsh treatment of children who worked there. Many children were “imported” from London and other large cities as child labourers by its owner Ellis Needham. From their appalling treatment many children died young and were buried in the churchyards of Taddington and Tideswell close by. The mill’s history could not be guessed at these days, having been converted into desirable residences!

Cressbrook Mill, built by Sir Richard Arkwright, and also now converted into posh apartments, also employed child labour but was said to have treated them well. The children worked six days a week and actually had a few hours off on a Sunday! The rooftop bell tower would have pealed to beckon the apprentices who lived next door to the works.