Deep Walking

thumb_P1000634_1024Back some years ago I wandered through some woodland, crossed a stream and entered into a clough I had never visited before. It was narrow, with steep sides covered in bracken in summer. No path led through its length nor one shown on a map. But there were signs of footfall, a trod maybe from sheep or some nocturnal thoroughfare for unseen wildlife.

The clough was wide at the bottom, with the remains of stone walls dissecting the flat land near to the stream. As I walked into its length I had to scramble up shale and gritstone, only a few metres, but enough to give a change of viewpoint.

To my right I entered a small amphitheatre, a quarry face and the moorland forming the balcony and circle and a large flat open area below forming the stalls and the stage. It was unexpected and enticing. I sat on a boulder, one clearly from the quarry face and studied the area. After a while I could see the remains of a building, perhaps the office, bracken covered ramps leading in to the stalls area. There were places that were clearly used for working on the stone and parts that were used for loading and transporting.

I moved on from the quarry, upwards into the narrowing clough and came across ramps zig zagging up the hillside, each turn signified by a small stone seat arrangement, obviously man made. Passing on I continued up to the sharp point the clough made and walked out on to a wide moorland giving views across the Dark Peak.

I have never forgotten that first visit. I have been back many times since and discovered more about the place. For some reason it draws me, it isn’t my favourite spot in the Dark Peak, but having never ever seen anyone there it feels like mine.

Author: Paul Besley

Writer I have spent most of my life escaping in to Britains National Parks and wilderness areas. I have grown to love the solitude it can bring and I like to share this with others either through guiding people or through my writing. I now spend half my life either as a ranger, guide or writer, involved with the natural landscape we are all a part of. It is these experiences that I wish to write and share about.

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