Monday, 17 August 2020

Exploring :: Youlgreave & Bradford Dale

Hi there everyone 😀

A week or so ago we were more than ready for another excursion. We spent ages trying to find a garden or a park that we thought would fit the bill but couldn't find anywhere that either of us really fancied. We wanted to be outside, somewhere pretty, where we could have a bit of a walk without encountering lots of people ... ooh and a spot for a picnic was an absolute necessity too.

We ended up agreeing on a trip to The Peak District, our closest national park, which was something a bit different for us for just a day trip ... though back in the day, before we met, was something that used to be a regular occurrence for us both.

Growing up in Doncaster Martin was more of a Dark Peak explorer ... whereas I fell in love with the more southerly White Peak when completing my Duke of Edinburgh expeditions many moons ago. For me this was followed by a fair few family caravan trips ... as it was just over an hour away from home and ideal for a weekend break with plenty of walking in the open countryside.

With our less than perfect physiques, creaking joints and aching bones there were a fair few requirements that needed to be met for a walk to fit the bill for us. Not least the availability of toilet facilities. Ideally we wanted something about 2 miles long and reasonably flat and we didn’t really want to drive for more than an hour and a half. We also needed somewhere with proper parking ... there would be no blocking of narrow country lanes for us.

We ended up managing to meet all of our requirements and found a nice walk in Youlgreave, taking in Bradford Dale. The weather forecast looked spot on ... not too hot but no rain and we both thought a walk by the river sounded perfect.

We parked up in the car park just past the allotments and before we hit the village, made use of the facilities, which had just been cleaned and headed out ...

We had opted to extend our original route and headed back along the road a short way to take the footpath opposite the allotments which would take us down to the river at Bradford Bridge ...
It was lovely to be back out on a ‘proper’ walk. The path was narrow but well trodden with plenty of undergrowth either side. I was certainly glad that we'd opted for long trousers ...
It was a bit rocky and uneven underfoot but we soon got our first glimpse of the river ...
Though it seemed a little odd the footpath took us up and away from the river for a little while ... we had to dodge out of the way of a huge dragonfly heading our way ...
... before we made our way through the kissing gate ...
Then it was up a few steps ...
...and through the distinctive Peak District squeeze stone ...
... which took us out onto the track which lead us down to the Bradford bridge ...
It really is a beautiful spot. So green, so tranquil and so quiet. All we could here was the gurgling of the river and the singing of the birds.

Whilst this was Martin's first visit to Bradford Dale, I'd been before and it was every bit as lovely as I'd remembered it. It was about 25 years ago and this picture is of my mum, sister and eldest nephew on what looks like a bright but somewhat cooler day ...
We stayed a while just taking in the tranquility and watching my very first dipper chilling in the sunshine ...
We couldn't resist a selfie to prove we'd been there ...
... and the regulation rucksack and walking pole shot to make it look like we are proper walkers ...
Ready to carry on we headed left on the other side of the river ...
There is a really well maintained and easy path along the river back to Youlgreave ...
This part of the River Bradford is really interesting with little stone bridges ...

... and a series of sluice gates ...



There were wild flowers everywhere and the river was teeming with wildlife ...
There was certainly plenty of interest along the way ...
It wasn't long before we crossed the river again ...
... and found the perfect spot for a bit of a pitstop ...
We sat for a while watching children ... of all ages ... paddling in the river ...
... and just generally taking in the view ...

We decided to carry on through the meadow alongside the river ... though it was considerably busier and most definitely a popular picnic and paddling spot ...


It would have been lovely to have had a paddle, I'd even packed a towel in the rucksack just in case, but it just felt that little bit busy for us and we just wandered through ... managing to keep our distance as we did so ...
We got to the point where we needed to decide whether we would carry on along the river to Alport or to head back up the road into Youlgreave village. We opted for the latter and steeled ourselves for the slog back up the hill ...
We took it slow and steady ... taking in the gardens, more allotments ...

... and pretty cottages along the way ...
It was one heck of a slog in the heat though ...
We were both more than glad to reach the church ...
... where we welcomed the shade ...

We found a bench where we had a breather ... hoping in vain that one of the pub outdoor tables would become free ...
A visit to the pub was not to be but we could not walk past the shop without masking up and calling in for ice creams ...
We ate them sat by the old fountain, opposite the Youth Hostel, where I stayed all those years ago ...
... before having one last push back to the car park where we'd started from ...


As time was getting on a bit we opted to have our picnic by the car, rather than try and find another spot and this was our view as we ate ...

We really did have the best of days. In the great scheme of things we didn't actually walk very far ... about two miles in total ... but it was just the perfect distance for us and it had been so nice to be back out in The Peaks. Maybe we will go a little bit further next time ... as I'm sure there will definitely be a next time ... so until then ...

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