Lower Padley short walk – Peak District

Walked on the 13th May 2019

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as I boarded the train at Sheffield Station to head to Grindleford that day. Our destination was Padley Gorge on the edge of the Peak District. I was particularly looking forward to this trip, mostly because at that point I had never visited the location before. I had however, viewed the beautiful scenery in photographs of the area posted by others. I had made up my mind right there and then that I needed to visit the area quite soon and today was to be the day!

I was not alone on this occasion as I usually am, and was accompanied by my then 1 year old daughter and 15 year old Son, who had also recently developed a thirst for adventure.

The actual train journey from Sheffield to Grindleford is not long at all (2 stops in fact), and we’d barely left the station before we were heading into Dore and then being plunged into pure darkness as we surged along Totley Tunnel. After what seemed like 10 minutes we were back into the bright sunshine and getting off the train at our stop at Grindleford Station.

I had checked the walk route out online before we set off and was pleased that the location is quite close to the station as quite often, I can end up walking a considerable distance before I get to where I need to be.

I had recently hired a baby sling for the Spring and Summer months as my daughter was so young and still hadn’t mastered walking. It is ironic that many of the walks I enjoy are in locations which are not pushchair friendly… Padley Gorge is definitely one of those locations! I had only been out with the sling on a couple of occasions previously, and so I could definitely feel the pull in my back and shoulders as we set off up the path from the station crossing over the railway line and the entrance to Totley Tunnel.

As I approached the top of the path, I noticed what looked very much like an old fashioned station cabin on the opposite side of the road and slightly down to my right. There were people milling around and the building looked interesting with it’s Tudor style appearance. I made up my mind that I would check it out later on my return in the late afternoon. It was now 2.30pm and time was getting on, so on-wards we pressed.

Signpost at Lower Padley

After climbing over a stile in the dry stone walling, we began to follow the path which leads alongside the Burbage Brook and up into the gorge. The terrain here is very hilly with uneven ground and involves a lot of stepping over half hidden tree roots and hidden rocks. Not that I was complaining in the slightest, this was what I had ventured out for! All my best adventures be them long or short, are not complete or even the remotest bit enjoyable to me without at least a little bit of scrambling of some sort. We slowly and carefully made our way along taking in all our surroundings.

It was late Spring so all the trees and surrounding shrub land was in full bloom and I remember clearly the first thought that sprung to mind, what a magical looking place this really was! I had only ever seen this type of stuff in story books and although I had seen the beauty of the great outdoors many times, I had never at that point seen anything like this. It can only be described as ‘the land of fairytales where dreams are made’… I will post some photographs I took that day further on in this blog though in my opinion, they really do not do it the justice it deserves.

We stopped further along the path at the side of the Burbage Brook for a short rest and to soak in all the surroundings. It was a scene of rich greenery and trees of many kinds. A lot were evergreen trees and you could smell the aroma of the pine needles as you walked by. There hadn’t been any rain fortunately for over a week and so the ground underfoot was very dry, allowing us to rest comfortably on the banks of the brook.

What struck me most was the amount of green there was, made all the more obvious by the thick carpet of moss which covered literally everything from the pathway, up the banks of the brook, the tree trunks and all the rocks that were dotted literally everywhere. They ranged from small stones right up to incredibly large boulders. It definitely added to the character of the place in my eyes. Every now and again, the sunlight would break through the branches of the low hanging trees and cast bright rays on certain parts of the water and rocks making it sparkle and glisten, and in the background, was the rushing sound of the Burbage Brook as it tumbled and fell down the gorge over rocks as it headed in the direction where we had just walked from.

The following images are just some of the photographs that I took that day in May 2019.

Rocky path alongside the Burbage Brook.
Mossy stones in Burbage Brook.
Burbage Brook, Padley Gorge
Burbage Brook, Padley Gorge
Light reflecting off rocks and water in Burbage Brook.
Loving the scenery at Burbage Brook.
Wooden bridge over the Burbage Brook.

We decided to press on for a little while longer on the path which follows the Burbage Brook but found that after a short time it almost disappears and then it involves some serious stream scrambling. I have to say that this kind of activity appeals greatly to me, but on the day in question, none of us were wearing the appropriate clothing or footwear for the occasion and I had a 1 year old strapped across my chest, so thought it best to save this route for another time. We then left the waterside and then joined the higher path leading further up the gorge.

A little way ahead, we discovered that the path does eventually rejoin the brook but crossed it via a wooden bridge and continues on steeply up the gorge on the opposite side. On this day there was much activity in Padley Gorge as it was the weekend and there were plenty of people about by this time. Many were families like ourselves out enjoying the fine weather. Children were paddling in the brook and having picnics on the embankment which looked spectacular in the shafts of light which filtered through the dark leaves.

I did see quite a few people in their walking gear and backpacks heading up the steep path leading to the top, perhaps heading to nearby Hathersage Moors or Higger Tor. It definitely proved to be a busy spot and I could truly appreciate why it was so popular.

We decided after much thought, not to venture up the steep pathway on this occasion and just paused for a quick photograph on the wooden bridge instead. We then doubled back on ourselves and remaining on the original side of the river, followed a path which headed right, straight up onto a dirt track. It turned out that the track leads straight out onto the road which heads up past the Longshaw Estate towards Hathersage but instead we chose to follow it back on ourselves towards Grindleford Station.

Ancient stone stairway leading down to the Burbage Brook, Padley Gorge.
The dirt track leading down from the Hathersage road.

My favourite part of the walk that day was just before we reached the wooden bridge. We discovered an ancient stone stairway which was sturdy enough, but looked rickety and very picturesque. Ivy and other trailing plants hung down over the stairway and added to its charm and beauty. It somehow gave me a feeling of not belonging here judging by how ancient it looked and made me wonder just what had lain here all those years ago. I had a photograph taken here with my daughter on the stairway, not actually realising at the time what the photo would become. I decided a year later on our return to start a photograph album entitled ‘Ella’s stairway to the past’ which will feature a photograph for every year of her life and will be captured every year on our return… If she allows me to that is lol.

I will include a link to the photo album at a later date.

As we approached the train station yet again, I decided to check out the Tudor style station building that I had noticed near the start of our walk earlier that day. I was surprised to find that it was in fact Grindleford Station Cafe which is a well known food outlet and serves hot food, drinks and cakes. It was a very welcome find seen as we had not taken any food with us for this short walk. We settled down to lasagne and chips and one of the cafes famous pint mugs of hot chocolate. It went down very well and I would definitely recommend it.

After our meal it was the end of our walk at Padley Gorge and time to head back to catch the train back to Sheffield. I thoroughly enjoyed this walk and exploring this absolutely stunning location. I would definitely be back to explore it again at a later date. Just a short one that day in May 2019 but definitely packed with adventure and spectacular sights. Not one to be missed!

Grindleford Station Cafe

Thank you for taking the time to read my first ever blog post. Bye for now…

Solo Adventurer23

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