RSF NP&SP Dove Holes Sunday 6th October 2019
Click on the image above for more of Roger's photos:
There must be a term for a phrase which gives the opposite impression to what it in reality represents. Dove Holes – a delightful rural idyll? In reality a limestone quarry village, over 1000ft above sea level, little more than a row of cottages lining the busy A6 just short of Buxton, and a notorious speed trap as it is best passed through quickly. However it lies on the edge of some very attractive countryside, but on a very wet and dismal day the village was even more than usually depressing. Consequently I was surprised to find as many as four other RSFers ready to kit up for the day.
In heavy bouts of rain we set off to explore the sole feature that the village boasts. Hidden away behind a garage there is a substantial henge well worthy of a visit, though few are aware of its existence. Unfortunately no photos could be taken due to the conditions.
We continued in mist and bouts of rain of varying intensity through Upper End where we dropped to arrive via a series of lanes at Buxton Bridge and the quarry railway that continues through Great Rocks Dale. Immediately after crossing the railway we took a bridleway on the right that skirts the massive limestone quarries and climbs towards Tunstead. This was quite wide and in dry conditions would offer no problems, but for some of us the steeper sections meant some loss of traction and a walk. On reaching a lane we turned south before taking a bridleway on the left that led eventually to Old Hall Farm. This deteriorated from a wide walled track to a barely existent one through a grassy field just at the point where the route starts to climb quite steeply. Again some of us were reduced to walking until more rideable conditions prevailed. We crossed a minor road at Wormhill and followed a walled track to Monk’s Dale. Despite the width between the walls, it was little more than singletrack in parts hemmed in by bushes. It climbed and then descended eventually opening out into a steep grassy descent. The the braver souls were able to take a more direct but steeper drop to the road. At last the rain had eased and the road rose quite steeply out of Monks Dale. At the top we decided that we had had enough of slippery and rocky tracks and so decided to follow the tarmac directly to a final descent which took us directly to the excellent Peak District Parlour at Tideswell for lunch.
We divested ourselves of our wet gear and sat comfortably refreshing, chatting and reflecting upon the morning’s journey that had taken us two and a quarter hours to cover seven and a half miles! After an hour and twenty minutes it was time to don our still soaking jackets and rejoin the road. We left the village by the steep climb that leads to Wheston only to find that though the rain had ceased we were now directly heading into a strong and very cool headwind. Consequently at the top we eschewed the thoughts of any more off-road and cut the day short to head directly back to Dove Holes via the undulating lanes through Wheston. Dale Head and Smalldale. On arriving back, since the rain and skies but not the wind had cleared Roger went to try and take some photos of the henge, but found that the camera battery was flat!
Thanks to Eddy, Eric, Alan and Roger for your company. No sign of an Indian Summer, which is a pity since this is an astonishingly scenic area with many good tracks and trails. However I have been out on worse days, and hopefully this will not be the last!