Not all who wander are lost: A journey through picture postcard Chee Dale

17th October 2020

Let’s take a wander down the stunning limestone gorge that is Chee Dale. Buxton, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

WARNING: This route although safe, does run alongside the river Wye with 2 sets of stepping stones which are needed to navigate the narrow limestone gorge. At certain times of the year when the water levels are high and especially during autumn and winter months, the stepping stones become completely submerged making this particular route impossible. Alternative routes are available.


Now we know that mental health affects everyone differently. We are not all the same. Some people suffer badly for many years in their lifetime, whilst others hardly ever. It’s a difficult thing to fathom is mental health and quite often for this very reason, many will not even try. There can be lots of reasons for mental ill health. Life’s stresses are something a lot of us can never ignore. What affects one person greatly will barely touch another. It has been this way for centuries and probably always will.

Similarly, the way we deal with life’s challenges also differ greatly from person to person. Some face their troubles head on, whilst others bottle it away. Some will drink alcohol, take illegal substances, partake in unhealthy habits such as smoking or eating too much or not enough. Whilst others take up exercise, therapeutic healing, keeping busy in the only way they know how. The mind is truly an incredible thing.

I chose hiking and exploring as my stress relief…. It seems such a long time ago now. So long ago that at times I can almost forget that I ever felt alone at all. It seems strange to me now writing this when I go by the name of ‘SoloExplorer’ on most social media platforms. For whenever I hike I never feel really alone. I feel every bit a part of the landscape as the trees, streams and hills. A feeling of belonging consumes me and lifts my spirits as high as the towering peaks around me. It wasn’t always like that though….

I had to learn to find me again and in the beginning that wasn’t easy as I just didn’t know where to look. I had lost myself along the way and wasn’t sure if I would ever return. I had always enjoyed walking and the great outdoors but had lost my motivation. I gained it back by taking on short easy walks and extending them as my health and fitness improved. I noticed over time, that the more I did it, the more I appreciated the outdoors and the benefits of therapeutic hiking. It gave me a lift which nothing else matched. The scenery, peacefulness, colours, sights, smells and calming effects all contributed to my recovery and I know my new hobby was here to stay. It set me thinking though, if it helped me in such a way, then it must be helping countless others too.


I wasn’t walking todays walk alone. Today I would have my Son Kye with me. I had invited him as for a long time now I had recognised a similar pattern of low mood and anxiety forming within him that I had suffered years ago. I knew in that instance that now was the time to act with as good an excuse as any. A day in the Peaks might just make all the difference. After all, what are we a family for?

Due to it being Kyes first real walking experience in the Peaks and admittedly, my first success in getting him to partake in such activities, I had selected a location which I knew would capture him from the outset. The sights and scenery around Buxton are some of the very best that the White Peak has to offer with some real hidden gems tucked away deep within its crevices. I didn’t want the walk to be particularly long and drawn out, yet there needed to be opportunity to explore and create an adventure without being too strenuous to the point that it might put Kye off exploring further. That is how the Chee Dale walk came to mind.

We set out early that damp morning in October arriving at Wye Dale Car Park at approximately 8.30am. We were lucky that day in that we had kindly been offered a lift to the location. It certainly saved time on travel as public transport services from Sheffield to Buxton are few and far between and are not the most direct or quickest of routes. I had spent the previous evening planning our journey and considering different ways of getting to our start point, yet each involved long bus or train rides with long periods of waiting time in between. This is never usually an issue for me, though it did highlight the fact that some areas of the Peak District are harder to reach than others and for people like myself with no alternative mode of transport, hikes in these locations are not always as straightforward.

Autumn, I find is a very appealing time to hike as I get the most out of my adventures in the way of scenery and colour. The way the light shifts and brings out the rich russet and auburn tones in the landscape are what really make it. The weather doesn’t even have to be great to experience this and with Britain being renowned for its temperamental overcast skies and rain throughout all seasons, it is no surprise that more people are choosing to embrace it rather than avoid. Finding a way to enjoy the outdoors despite the circumstances not being their best is a key aspect in improving both mental well-being and life satisfaction. Why miss out just because the weather is bad? As long as it is not too severe as to become dangerous I do not see an issue. I have always believed that the landscape and scenery changes drastically with each passing season and is exactly the same in different weather, so looking on the brighter side has never failed me yet.

Knowing the autumn as I did though, it prompted me to ensure that we both had warm clothing and waterproofs at the ready just in case the weather did turn and we decided on packed lunch for food. I had heard beforehand that there was a tuck shop along the route, though I was not sure if it would be open due to the current social distancing regulations in place at the time. During the month that this walk was done, certain areas of England were still in tier 3 lockdown restrictions and despite being able to travel further afield, many food outlets, public houses and other local amenities remained closed. Still, it was exciting to be once again trying out a new trail in a new location and broadening my ever expanding scope for adventure.


Buxton

The town of Buxton is a fascinating place. Well known for being a spa town, it is home to approximately 23,000 residents and is located within the High Peak boundary of the Derbyshire Peak District. It is said to be Englands highest market town being approximately 1000 feet (300 meters) above sea level. Buxton is famous for its mineral water which has been sold on a global basis for many years. One such source comes from St Ann’s Well which is fed by a geothermal spring and is bottled directly from it by Buxton Mineral Water Company. This is not the only spring in and around Buxton however and others contribute to the production and sale of mineral water in this district.

Buxton and it’s immediate outskirts cover a very large area and although we were venturing close enough on this day, our walk only covers a tiny section. The focus of this blog post is on 3 areas in the Derbyshire Dales of the White Peak known as Wye Dale, Monsal Trail and Millers Dale.


Overview

Map of the circular route through Chee Dale. Taken from OpenStreetMap (2015) supported by British Orienteering.

This particular hike is a circular route of approximately 5 miles in duration beginning at Wye Dale Car Park and ending back at the same place. The route will take us along a footpath running close to the river Wye as it heads under the spectacular viaducts of the Monsal Trail and onwards towards Blackwell Mill. At this stage we will take the footpath over the bridge heading through the stunning limestone gorge of Chee Dale, taking in the amazing scenery on offer there as well as experiencing the iconic stepping stones along the river which make this route popular. The walk is a riverside walk as much as a gorge and so people get the best of both worlds in regards to scenery, wildlife and nature. The trail continues onwards to Miller’s Dale where the route will turn back on itself as it begins heading back in the direction of Wye Dale. We took this opportunity to head back along a small section of the Monsal Trail to experience the old railway route, the lime kiln and the old railway tunnels along the way. The tunnels featured in this walk are the Chee Tor Tunnels which add a bit of gritty character to the walk before meeting up with the original trail head at Blackwell Mill.


Wye Dale

Taking the footpath in the far corner of the car park, we began heading alongside the river Wye as it flowed gently downstream. The pathway here is very easy going underfoot and we both had a sturdy spring in our step as we ambled along with ease, familiarising ourselves with our new surroundings.

It was especially good to see Kye excited and actually interested in the upcoming walk. Life for him recently had not been his best. He had spent many a day cooped up on his own in his bedroom with nothing but negative and uninspiring thoughts for company and getting him to be motivated in literally anything had been particularly challenging. If there was anything that I hoped might come out of this adventure, besides getting out of the house, was perhaps an opportunity for him to offload his stress, get a little respite from his already overdriven mind and find a new way to channel his energy. Kye until now, never knew what he was missing on the trail, how would he ever know if he never gave it a try?

The trail, although only at the start was already captivating us as almost immediately we caught sight of an impressive railway viaduct which ran overhead. It turned out only to be one of many we would pass under on our route, as the close proximity to the Monsal Trail meant that the footpath ran directly alongside and underneath it. The bridge in the following photograph is not the biggest to experience on the Monsal Trail, yet was an impressive addition to the scenery all the same and I thought it added a little character and history to the adventure, whilst all the while reminding us to appreciate what was here before the railway line ceased its use.

The trail head at Wye Dale Car Park. Image taken at the start of the footpath leading away from the car park with one of many Monsal Trail viaducts up ahead. Wye Dale, Peak District National Park.

A short walk along the footpath we came to Blackwell Mill Cycle Hire and Tuck Shop, a popular and well known facility for hiring bikes in order to ride the length of the Monsal Trail. It also sells light refreshments including sweets, chocolate and crisps as well as soft drinks, tea and coffee. It was so lovely to see it open with people using the service, no doubt eager to get out into the countryside after the long, drawn out lockdown when this opportunity had not been possible. Despite not actually purchasing anything from the tuck shop on this occasion, we decided to take this opportunity to stop here briefly and enjoy the breakfast we had packed due to leaving home so early in the morning.

Looking around for a place to sit we headed towards a low stone wall just past the tuck shop but at that moment, Kye spotted the perfect place. An old wooden treehouse just to the side of the trail. It didn’t appear to be in a garden of any kind but I wasn’t sure if the land was private. I couldn’t believe our luck when the man working at the tuck shop said anyone can go in it. Despite the weather being fine that morning, there was definitely a nip in the air and a light dusting of frost in places. Grateful of a warm, dry place for breakfast, we headed to the rickety ladder and began the scramble through the trapdoor entrance into the treehouse.

‘Kye’s tree house’ as we called it. Of course it wasn’t really built by Kye, but it was a fun explore early on in our hike and it was a wonderful shelter and respite from the cold and biting frost. Blackwell Mill Cycle Hire and Tuck Shop, Monsal Trail, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Conditions in the treehouse were dry and comfortable. It certainly was well built and sturdy. After breakfast of dehydrated porridge with golden syrup and a cup of coffee, we were soon ready and revitalised to continue our day and left the cosy treehouse behind us as we headed towards the river Wye.

Crossing a narrow wooden footbridge which ran over the river we saw in front of us a row of quaint cottages set back in the steep hillside of the valley. They were remarkable in that they looked like they were off the front cover of a model village magazine. Picture postcard with dormer windows built into their slate roofs, the cottages are widely known in the area as Blackwell Cottages. Set at the side of the footpath, the grassy land in front of them, although tempting to set up picnic and relax on the banks of the Wye, is actually private land and so is forbidden. Despite this, Blackwell Cottages on the edge of Chee Dale are perhaps some of the most photographed cottages in the Peak District alone and with the beautiful backdrop of scenery, together with the attractive floral window boxes, it is all too easy to see why.

Immediately upon crossing the bridge we turned right on the pathway and began a gentle walk as it lead us down into the narrow limestone gorge of Chee Dale.

Blackwell Mill Cottages, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Chee Dale

So what exactly is Chee Dale? Well, it is a deep, steep sided gorge characterised by white/pale grey limestone crag sides and was formed by glacial erosion. Running along the bottom of it right the way through is the beautiful river Wye. Due to its close proximity to the Monsal Trail, it has viaducts and bridges which cross over the footpath in many places with the path also running the full length of Chee Dale right through to Millers Dale.

It was at this early stage that we began to feel the character of this walk and immediately liked what we were experiencing. The path underfoot narrows out as it weaves around steep corners and down large steps as we headed deeper into the gorge and the way here in the damper sections under the viaducts had dead, slippery fallen autumn leaves covering the ground underfoot. Although not treacherous, good sturdy footwear is definitely needed and care should ultimately be taken.

Here is a selection of what we experienced here:

It is worth mentioning that although the gorge is stunning with its quirky viaducts and steep edges, the location is actually a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is rich in varying plant life, wildlife, trees and vegetation. It is common to spot the likes of Rock Whitebeam, Yew and Ash alongside early Purple Orchids, Cowslip, Rockrose and the rare Jacobs Ladder.

A section of pathway that rises and falls along the banks of the river Wye as we headed deeper into Chee Dale gorge. Chee Dale, Derbyshire.

After following the narrow path a short distance on a gradual downhill slope, the way levels out and heads into an open section which is very overgrown with wild plants and grasses. The ground here was very boggy and judging by the wooden boarding that was conveniently placed, it would appear that this is a common occurrence. In saying that though, the mud was a small price to pay when I considered our surroundings for right up ahead, there were the beginnings of the magnificent limestone crags which were common in these parts. The suspense and curiosity of the moment propelled us ever forward into its depths.

Chee Dale, Buxton, Derbyshire and the Peak District.
Kye enjoyed exploring beyond the waters edge that October day in 2020. River Wye, Chee Dale, Derbyshire.

Continuing onwards, it is not long before the gorge narrows once again and the footpath runs close to the waters edge. At first glance, it appeared that the path disappeared underneath the enclosing crag sides and ran into the river itself. On closer inspection, we found that indeed it did, however, there were some pretty stepping stones which led the way safety along. They were considerably useful to have in place at this section of the walk as the way would have been impossible without them. The steep sides of the gorge are vertical here and in places, overhang the river, meaning that there is no place for a footpath to run.

This particular set of stepping stones turned out to be the first of two and were the longest of both of them. They appeared to have been made out of a combination of concrete and limestone with some of them looking quite modern. We certainly had fun navigating our way across especially when we spotted some other walkers heading in the opposite direction and it was a case of hoping they would be kind and wait for us to reach the other side.

Following on from the stepping stones, we made our way forward on the path until we came to a place where a narrow wooden footbridge crossed the river before continuing on the opposite side. The trees in this section grew very dense here and I clearly remember the difference in light and the smell of damp all around. Although the path is clear and wide, care should be taken as in places, there are steep drops down off the edge of the path into the river which runs considerably faster from here onwards.

It wasn’t long after this that we approached the second and last set of stepping stones on our route. Unlike the last set, these didn’t run for as long and although short in distance, they were by far the most attractive. As we crossed we noticed that these were older, rockier and definitely gave the location more character, however, they were very slippery in places and one was wobbly and unstable when we put our foot on it. It is here in this part though that the beauty of this walk can fully be appreciated. This section of trail truly is a stunning setting and I felt blessed to be out enjoying it on such a perfect autumn day.

I have since learned on my return from Chee Dale that the stepping stones were put in place to provide a walk route and access through the gorge which up until then had not been possible. The river Wye is a relatively shallow river in this location, however water levels quickly rise in the latter months of the year or after prolonged and heavy rainfall. When this happens, the stepping stones become completely submerged by fast flowing water making the way ahead impossible. It is now advised to check the flood levels of the river Wye in Chee Dale before planning a walk in this location (something we didn’t do due to lack of knowledge of the area).

It is also common to see climbers scaling the steep sides of the limestone gorge as there are various climb routes documented here. On the day we visited, I remember getting the familiar stomach churning butterflies every time I glanced up towards the tall imposing crags and saw the tiny coloured dots of the climbers clothing. However, what a feeling it must be to be viewing the world from such a spectacular place high above as they were…. and if I was nervous for them from from the safe confines of the gorge, just how were they feeling from such heights? The power of emotion and adrenaline have always intrigued me.

Heading along the narrow gorge we decided to stop for our first real rest stop of the day at a pretty spot by the side of the river Wye where some felled trees lay wedged in the ground and partly crossed the water. It made a lovely place to sit and enjoy the scenery and a drink whilst chatting to passing walkers.

Our rest spot at the side of the river Wye, Chee Dale, Buxton, Derbyshire.

As we sat, we enjoyed stunning views from over our shoulder whilst glancing back along Chee Dale in the direction we had just walked. Quite often, we forget to look back, our aim to press on overwhelming us. Yet I’ve come to realise that we miss so much by this action. We set out on these walks and the drive to complete often consumes us before we’ve barely walked a mile when there is so much more out there than just what’s in front of us.

Chee Dale, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

The next leg of the walk upon leaving our peaceful resting place saw us scramble up a steep, rocky section of path as it continued leading the way onwards. The path was almost vertical here and involved the use of both hands on the rock. We had enjoyed spectating others as they scrambled the way in both directions as it had looked tricky, however it seemed an exciting task and made the walk that little bit more of a thrilling concept. What is an adventure without scramble anyway? A challenge always makes it more special in my eyes.

The start of the rocky scramble on our Chee Dale walk. I loved this section of Chee Dale with all the rich colours around and the deep browns and oranges of the fallen autumn leaves. Chee Dale, Derbyshire.

Continuing onwards, the path leads the way over various rocky sections along the bank of the river before crossing and continuing on the opposite side towards Millers Dale. It was here however, that we left the pathway and headed up a narrow path towards a viaduct which ran overhead. From here on, we wouldn’t continue into Millers Dale but would now begin our return to the starting point via the Monsal Trail.


Monsal Trail/Chee Tor Tunnel

The Monsal Trail, although in current times is a walking, cycling and horse riding trail in the Peak District National Park, it once formed part of the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway line which was built in 1963 and closed in 1968. The trail runs a length of approximately 8.5 miles from Topley Pike in Wye Dale right through to Bakewell and has numerous sight seeing opportunities throughout such as the Headstone Viaduct, Litton and Cressbrook Mills, Hassop Railway Station and 6 impressive railway tunnels which have been restored with extensive work and made safe in order to allow the public to make use of them on route.

The Chee Tor Tunnels are 2 of the 6 tunnels which can be enjoyed on the Monsal Trail with Chee Tor 1 being the longest. I have to admit that on this occasion it was the first time that I had visited the trail and I had never stepped foot in any railway tunnels before. As we entered we were both struck by the sheer size and height of the tunnel inside. We could see right along the length until it disappeared around a bend which seemed miles away from where we stood and as we walked, we felt the cool draft on our cheeks. The walls of the tunnel were damp and covered with a fine algae substance which was tinged with moisture from the water droplets which dripped down from the top of the tunnel every now and then. I remember glancing upwards towards the ceiling on occasion and spotting what looked like old black soot in the faint light. It seemed a strange feeling to know that it would still be present after all the years of not being used for trains and other locomotive.

Lighting was available in the tunnel which was a welcome sight as it would’ve been impossible to see around us to venture forward. Neither would we have been able to enjoy the detail of the structure of the interior of the tunnel. A row of florescant lights ran along the ceiling from entrance to entrance keeping the way ahead clear and visible and these remain on all day from first light until dusk.

Upon leaving the tunnel at the far end, it is only a short distance ahead that the Chee Tor Tunnel 2 can be spotted. This is only a short tunnel in comparison but was one of the first to be opened to the general public when first introducing the trail as a public footpath.

The Chee Tor Tunnel 2 as viewed from tunnel 1, Monsal Trail, Derbyshire.

Lime Kilns

East Buxton Lime Kilns. Monsal Trail, Derbyshire.

A short distance past the Chee Tor tunnels we spotted this interesting old building just to the left side of the trail. Feeling intrigued, we headed across to check it out and what an interesting find it sure was. We learned that it was the old East Buxton Lime Kiln which has become somewhat of a historical landmark of the Monsal Trail. Built in 1880 and used right up to 1944, it now stands derelict and ruined. It’s exterior is covered by intertwining climbing plants which add to its dishevelled appearance of abandonment. Despite this, certain parts have been left open to become a tourist attraction with a prominent notice board outside it giving information about what was made at the kilns.

East Buxton Lime. Monsal Trail, Buxton, Derbyshire.

The demand for quicklime during the period that the kiln was in use was extremely high with this particular kiln producing around 50 tonnes per day. Quicklime is produced when limestone is heated and is used in the production of cement and mortar for building purposes. At the front of the vast building is an open entranceway into the kilns and the place where the ovens were used. Upon entering, we found the building to be very dark and eerie as it extended quite some distance in. Unfortunately we had no decent lighting to be able to see clearly whilst inside but the places where the ovens once were can easily be noticed. Other parts of the building have been bricked up and made inaccessible for safety reasons but it was interesting to explore the small part we did.

The location around the kilns is home to a number of Swifts, an amazing breed of bird which can fly without stopping for anything up to 3 whole years! When glancing up at the kilns from the pathway, evidence of this can clearly be seen. A number of white boxes have been placed high up on the outside of the structure to attract and house the birds in nesting season. The inside of the kilns are also home to a number of bat species such as the Brown Long Eared, Natterer’s and Daubenton’s bats which like to hibernate there during the winter months.

A fingerpost directing the way up towards the top of the lime kilns via a narrow footpath located a short distance along the Monsal Trail. Monsal Trail, Buxton, Derbyshire.

The narrow pathway leading off the left side of the Monsal Trail if heading in the direction of Wyedale lies just a short distance past the lime kiln and is not easily spotted at first. Locating the path is made easier however by a conveniently placed fingerpost sign giving clear directions. Taking a left turn along the path we began the short climb towards the top of the kilns to check out what might be there.

Upon arriving at the top we found that it led out onto the roof of the kiln itself which was fenced safely all around its perimeter by a black metal fence. Gazing down from the top, we could see that we were quite high up and views across the autumn tree tops were clear. There is not a great deal at the rooftop except an old railway carriage of the type used to transport the quicklime from the kiln many years ago. This was set on a circular railway track for decoration purposes.

Local trees to the area include Hazel and Hawthorn and local plants can include Ground Elder, Wintergreen, Wild Strawberries, Campion and Forget-me-not. This particular area of the Monsal Trail is classed as a nature reserve which is maintained by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. We spend at least an hour there eating lunch and enjoying the views before packing away and heading back down towards the Monsal Trail.

Arriving back at our starting point at Wye Dale car park around 3pm that day, it was fair to say that we both felt tired. The walk that day had been stunningly beautiful, packed with lots to see and experience in such a short space of distance and time that it had taken a lot out of us. The distance of the hike had been approximately 5 miles so not a long walk but it is surprising how exhausted you feel when the circumstances are right.

The car park had been empty when we arrived there that morning, us being the only people there as we climbed from the car eager to explore Chee Dale. That hadn’t lasted long as we saw throughout the adventure and it certainly wasn’t the case now. The car park was now full with not a single space left and even as we stood there waiting for our ride home, cars were pulling in only to hastily turn around and leave.

The first specks of rain began to fall as we sat on a low wooden log fence on the edge of the car park. How lucky we had been that day to not experience it earlier. The weather Gods had certainly blessed us there. As we sat we talked about the day and all that we had experienced. Kye had a smile on his face too. One I hadn’t seen in such a long time. It wasn’t forced, nor fake and was a genuine smile of contentness which I was pleased about. If getting Kye to see the world differently, away from the everyday distractions such as social media and a mobile phone was the way forward then I was happy to feel exhausted by walking and adventuring with him more often. I could only hope that from the success of this adventure he would want to join me on another. As we crossed the car park heading towards our car, the rain now beginning to pound, I smiled at Kye and he smiled back. An arm appeared around my shoulder and he hugged me just like he used to all those years before. “Cheers Mum” he said, “That was awesome”. Sometimes the little things are priceless…


Walk Summary

Distance walked: 5 miles

Total distance and location covered as tracked using Strava GPS app.

Elevation gain: 463 feet

Total elevation and gain as tracked using Strava GPS app.

To summarise this walk it is fair to say that it is definitely one of my all time favourite ‘shorties’. It was only 5 miles in total and could possibly be completed in 2.5 to 3 hours if walking briskly. However, ours took near enough 6 as we dawdled and took our time to explore, eat packed lunch and capture lots of photographs. It was the perfect autumn day out for us as a family hike and we enjoyed it immensely.

The route is short but sweet. I would say it is perfect for anyone who fancies a short walk which is packed with exciting twists at every turn. The scenery in this location especially Chee Dale and the Monsal Trail are stunning and probably some of the most picturesque in the Peak District. On the day we visited the weather was good and the walking conditions were excellent. We couldn’t have had it any better in all honesty considering it was autumn. The beautiful woodland, plant life, trees and wildlife all around are in abundance in these parts and walkers are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to nature. Autumn colours in the landscape and the nearby vegetation are what really captured me on this trail at this time of year and I couldn’t help but feel drawn to every sight, taking in every nook and cranny as if my soul depended on it. I didn’t want to miss a single thing, that’s how good this walk really is.

I cannot really suggest any room for improvement as the route really is a special one at that but it is worth noting that the path, although easy going mostly, does involve some scrambling in places. The area such as the steep rocky path close to the river Wye shortly past the second set of stepping stones involved climbing and using both hands to remain stable. Despite it not being a difficult climb for the fit and able bodied person, it might not be suitable for others and could be treacherous in wet or icy conditions. After experiencing this trail for myself, I would not recommend here for pushchair/wheelchair users or anyone with unstable footing. If this is an issue then sticking to the flat and easy going Monsal Trail is possibly best. The use of good grip sturdy footwear is a must!

One important thing to mention about this particular section of trail is that there are no public toilets. Outlets in which to eat and buy refreshments are limited with the only place available on route being the Blackwell Mill Cycle Hire and Tuck Shop. There are other outlets further along the Monsal Trail but these are not on this route and require longer distances to reach them. We were lucky that day that the water levels of the river Wye were low. As mentioned previously, in winter and especially when there has been a lot of rain, the route along the water’s edge becomes impassable as the path and stepping stones become completely submerged. Always check the flood levels of the river before attempting the Chee Dale section.

None the less there was plenty to see and do throughout our adventure with impressive structures and old buildings and lots of history and character. Apart from being a little slippery underfoot due to mud in places along the path, I cannot complain about it at all. Notice boards are placed at regular intervals giving visitors to the area a short insight into local history, buildings, wildlife and vegetation. I am overwhelmed in awe that there really is such a place as the magnificent Chee Dale gorge and it’s definitely fair to say that I loved every second. If you haven’t experienced this location yet I advise you to start now! I couldn’t believe just what I had been missing.


Thankyou notes

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to give my latest blog post a read and shared in my adventure through the beautiful Chee Dale and Monsal Trail adventure. This was one of my favourite walks so far and if this sounds like a place you enjoy then I hope this post may be of some help to you. Maybe you have been through something similar with mental ill health and have found yourself again through hiking and adventuring. Maybe you have been touched by mental health at some stage in your life or gained inspiration from someone else’s story. Whatever the reason you get up and go in the morning, give yourself great credit! You’re doing an ace job, keep doing it!

My extended thanks goes without saying to my Son Kye who has given me permission to include him in this blog and post his photographs. If I’m honest I wasn’t expecting him to agree and if that had been the case I would’ve respected his wishes. It is not often that he will even have his photo taken at all. So once again Kye Thankyou for joining me on this adventure. Your company was the highlight for me and having you there with me meant the world. You were a pleasure to share an adventure with and I hope there will be more one day.

And remember folks, if you ever feel alone, try and remember that in the hiking community you never really are. There is always someone just like you seeking an adventure. Not all who wander are lost.

Xxx


Factual information used to aid the production of this post came from the following resources:

Buxton, England, United Kingdom. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com

O’Brian, Oliver. (2015) OpenStreetMap. Base map generated by OpenOrienteeringMap. Supported by British Orienteering.

Chee Dale. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. http://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk

Chee Dale Stepping Stones-Buxton, England. Atlas Obscura. http://www.atlasobscura.com

East Buxton Lime. Wonders of the Peak. http://www.wondersofthepeak.org.uk

Peaks and Puddles – cycling, walking, exploring. Monsal Trail. http://www.peaksandpuddles.com

Peak District National Park. Monsal Trail Tunnels. http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk


All photographs and images used in the creation of this blog post are my own and have been captured by myself Lucy Bailey using an iPhone 7 camera device which were then edited using Instagram editor tool. The images can be viewed from my Instagram account at soloexplorer23.

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