Tideswell – 28th July 2019

Strenuous Leader: Rob Rose                                             Distance:  10.00 miles

From the Tideswell village we follow Tideswell Dale to pick up Millers Dale and the Monsal Trail which we follow to Monsal Head. WL then walk to Little Longstone, up the hill and over Longstone Moor to Wardlowe Moors. We then follow paths and lanes to Litton and back to Tideswell.

Moderate Leader: Dave Hatchard                                       Distance: 7.00 miles

This is not a very challenging walk not many climbs at all, only two little ones, and no stiles. We set off towards Tideswell Dale and on to Litton Mill. We then join the Monsal Trail and travel through two disused railway tunnels which have lights in them. We head along and make our way to Cressbrook and back along Millers Dale. We use well trodden footpaths across a few fields and along a disused railway line, now a cycle path.

Leisurely Leader: Steve Balenski                                         Distance: 7.00 miles

We start by heading westward along gentle uphill field paths and then bridleways and lanes over open country to Wormhill where we will stop for lunch. 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.This walk is generally good underfoot, with a few ladder type stiles.

Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon                                             Distance: 5.50 miles

This is a lovely walk but it can be a bit muddy in places.  With a little effort and some gentle climbs. Today we will make our way, from the pretty village of Tideswell, past the church, to follow Church Lane as far as Litton. We continue following a quiet lane, called Bottomhill Road, passing a remote cemetery to bring us to a track which winds down into Millers Dale and the River Wyre. We follow the river through Litton Mill, branching off to return o Tideswell along the picturesque Tideswell Dale.

The first couple of miles of the walk are all on lanes, followed by good tracks. Fairly steeply uphill at the beginning of Church Lane and some more gentle uphill to give us lovely views from Bottomhill Road where the views are spectacular.

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 now 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 cross shaped building is often referred to as The Cathedral of the Peak due to its 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 mills water wheels for the spinning of cotton. The mill became notorious for the harsh treatment of children who worked there.  It was common practice at the time for many urchin children to be imported from London and other large cities as labourers by mill owners. Unlike the mill owners of Quarry Bank Mill at Styal who treated the children well the children at Litton suffered appalling treatment by its owner, Ellis Needham, and many of them died young and were buried in the churchyards of Taddington and Tideswell close by. The history of the mill could not be guessed at these days, having been converted into desirable residences. Cressbrook Mill, built by Sir Richard Arkwright, and now converted into posh apartments too, 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.