The other mass trespass

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Abbey Brook from Cartledge Bents

The other day I did a spot of checking for one of the walks in my Dark Peak book. It is always a quandary when I have more than one possible route. Which will be of more interest and why. Some routes are better at certain times of year, or have a completely different character. Walk on Bleaklow in summer with the cotton grass, golden plover, common lizards and bilberries and then do the same walk in deep winter, with windswept snow and ice  and only the white mountain hare and a few brave walkers for company and you have two very different experiences.

Abbey Brook is a case in point, not so much for the seasons, although it presents a different face at each turn, but because there are so many walks that can lead to it. That is not by accident either, Abbey Brook was a major route across the area in the past. The area was owned by Welbeck Abbey who used it for sheep and the monastic outpost that was situated in this cleft in the hillside was connected to the Grange at Crookhill a little further down the valley by a path. On the moorland above tracks fed into Abbey Brook from North, East and South, the small valley providing easy access to the west.

One of the most prominent was the Dukes Road, named after the Duke of Norfolk, which led from Bar Dike over on Mortimer Road to Abbey Brook and onwards west or alternatively Bradfield Gate and Derwent Village. One of several ways to head east to west in the age before roads. The route was always public until the Duke decided to close it for his Grouse Shooting.

GHB Ward of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers was none too impressed and was convinced it was a public right of way and carried out research to prove so. It was decided to make a stand, this was several months after the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout and things were still tense between walkers and land owners. On Sunday 18th September 1932 several hundred walkers set off from Malin Bridge in Sheffield and headed towards Broomhead Moor and the Dukes Road. They were intent on walking on to Bradfield Gate and returning back to Malin Bridge. All seemed to go well with only the odd Gamekeeper spotted. That was until the reached Cartledge Bents overlooking Abbey Clough, where the Dukes men attempted to stop their progress. A small fracas ensued before the walkers were allowed to proceed unhindered.

The protest did not make the news nor the impact they probably desired and this was very likely due to the outcry that had followed the Kinder Mass Trespass and the imprisonment of the so called ring leaders. Nonetheless, a further blow had been made for walkers.

It must have been a fantastic site to see hundreds of walkers marching down the Dukes Road. Today you get the odd group of Ramblers, some fell runners and the lone single walker.

I have researched the route the mass trespass took from the Tram sheds at Malin Bridge and will walk the route come spring, who knows it may well make it in to the book. It might be nice to have two trespasses.

 

 

Trigpoint Walks 8

SK 0447 9077 Harry Hut 441m
SK 0447 9077 Harry Hut 441m

I know this may sound wrong, but walking from the Hayfield quarry where the 1932 Mass Trespass set off from, was a new experience for me, I had never been to this spot before, in fact I had never been to Hayfield. That does sound wrong doesn’t it coming from someone who has walked in the Peak District for near on 40 years and is a National Park Ranger to boot. Well confession over.

I had set off from Hayfield centre and walked along the river to reach the quarry.  I didn’t realise that I was on such hallowed ground until I spotted the commemoration plaque on the quarry face.  It is quite a thing when you think about it, all those people, extra ordinary people, who worked in everyday jobs during the week and looked for release on a Sunday, having the temerity to go against the land owners and the establishment.  It must have been quite exciting and ever so slightly frightening at the same time.  What will happen? Will I get into trouble? Will I lose my job? Some lost more than their jobs, some lost their liberty and I need to remember that when I am out on the moors, especially the Kinder plateau.

I retraced their footsteps, up William Clough, a beautiful little ravine complete with tumbling stream and long narrow vistas.  I gradually worked my way along, stopping now and then to look back and take in the views.  It really is wonderful, the feeling of peace, quiet and solitude is incredibly intoxicating.  This is the way to live my life I thought, none of the work day drudgery, but this glorious release into another life.  I could see why it was worth contemplating a fracas with the rozzers at the top of the Clough in 1932.

The cloud was low and as I reached the top visibility was down to 50m, nothing unusual in that for Kinder.  It did make for some good navigation practice, use of compass, following a bearing, pacing, all good solid stuff.  I reached the Triangulation pillar at Harry Hut quite quickly, painted a bright white it is pretty hard to miss.  I like to see the pillars painted, but disappointed to see that the Flush Bracket had also been painted white.  Would it have been too much trouble to leave the bracket in its natural form?

It was windy up there and so I dropped down the shooting track to have some lunch hidden behind a wall.  Today it was soup and corned beef sandwiches, the dogs had some chews which kept them at bay for at least a few seconds, they then turned their attention to me and used telepathic staring techniques to gain more food for them and less for me, very selfish in my view.

SK 0322 9026 Hollingworth Head Surface Block
SK 0322 9026 Hollingworth Head Surface Block

Cutting across the moorland I arrived at the Grouse Inn famous for getting snowed in no end of times in bad weather.  Just across the road is a surface block, hidden in the grass, these are fun to find, mainly because you get lots of odd looks from passing motorists as you prod away at the ground trying to locate the blasted thing.  A walking pole with a pointy tip is a very good location device, sadly I had forgotten to bring mine so I was reduced to tearing bits of grass up with my bare hands until the surface block showed itself.

Down the road I turned off on to an old pack route, now the Pennine Way Bridle Path, a green lane stretching for some miles, passing farms and fields it winds its way up on to Lantern Pike, with panoramic views all round.

SK 0239 8794 Lantern Pike S 2779 359m
SK 0239 8794 Lantern Pike S 2779 359m

Lantern Pike is a forlorn place, windswept and dishevelled  it has an air of subsistence about it.  The triangulation pillar just adds to the gloom of the place, laid on its side as it is, half way down a slope, abandoned and unkempt.  I do not know the history of the pillar, why it has come to such a sorry end or when this happened.  In Mark Richards excellent book High Peak Walks mention is made of the view-point panorama from which there are marvellous views of Kinder, Mill Hill, Hayfield and the surrounding hills and valleys, but no mention of the trig.  Lantern Pike is National Trust land, but like so much of their estate I feel is not sexy enough or would not generate enough revenue to warrant a helping hand, best save those efforts for the tea shops and stately homes.

SK 0237 8796 Lantern Pike Surface Block 351m
SK 0237 8796 Lantern Pike Surface Block 351m

It’s in there somewhere, but where was a mystery, should have brought my prodding pole, there was no way I was going to scrabble around the cow muck, I may well have to return.

I followed the Pennine Bridleway back to Hayfield and the car.  Quite a nice days walking with varied views and not too much ascent.