28 Aug 2013

Bradfield Dale: Strines Moor to Bradfield Village

After we left the Strines Inn, which can be seen looking back along the road, we headed back home passing Strines Moor before turning onto a ridge way track on the opposite side of the valley. We had been looking out for the two 18th century milestones along the trail, but failed to spot them.  Perhaps they were covered by the abundant vegetation along the lanes although I did mark them on the map we were using and I have my doubts about this theory since they are painted white and being of historical interest would be well maintained? Below is a photo taken from the 'Walkers are Welcome' leaflet and this is what we were looking for.

This milestone, called Handsome or Hanson Cross is dated 1753 and may take its name from a wayside cross that is said to have existed on the side of the road.  There are several of these milestones in the area and I've taken photos of others when I've spotted them.  The first milestones were large cylindrical stones erected by the Romans to mark every thousandth double step. The Latin for thousand was 'mille' and the distance was 1618 yards.  After the Roman military roads of the first century AD, highways developed to meet local needs.  Ancient ridge ways, pack-horse ways and other tracks criss-crossed the country.  In 1555 an Act of Parliament made townships responsible for the upkeep of local roads and in the 17th century County Justices were ordered to erect guide-posts on the moors and where routes intersected to guide travellers. In the 18th century milestones were made compulsory on the turnpike (toll) roads to inform coach drivers of distances and directions in order to help them keep to a schedule.

Also looking back we could see the conifer plantation and the road we had descended before stopping at the Strines Hill. This was constructed in 1777 as a turnpike road and roughly followed an ancient packhorse track.  The Lord of the Manor of Bamford not far away in the next county of Derbyshire wanted to increase trade between his area and market towns in West Yorkshire.  The coach and horses and other transport of the day would rest up at the Strines Inn before the next stage of the journey and before attempting to ascend that steep hill.

Below the Strines Inn is Strines Reservoir which is the smallest of the reservoirs in Bradfield Dale and was constructed in 1871. Across the reservoir is Ughill Heights and the area we would drive to once we had crossed the fern and heather-clad moorland with the outline of Stanage Edge in the distance to the left. The moors are wild and beautiful at any time of year, but there are boggy grassland areas and it's not wise to walk anywhere except on the official tracks.  On the left are fields called Broad Carr, Bull Piece and Jacob's Plantation where sheep and cattle graze and to the right is the Strines Moor.

Strines Moor Ridge

On the other side of the valley there's a different perspective of the moor and pastures. There are one or two large houses or farmsteads here and Sugworth Hall is one of them.  There is a path across the fields here and it's then possible to get closer to the house and the tower nearby called Boot's Folly.

Sugworth Hall was built in the 1600s and extended by Charles Boot in the 20th century.  His family had a construction company in Sheffield and in the 1930s built the Pinewood Film Studios. The name 'sugworth' derives from the Anglo-Saxon words for 'soggy' ('sugga') and 'settlement' ('worth').
The tower was built in 1927 by Charles Boot and it's a distinctive landmark.  There are two theories about Boot's motive for constructing it.  One is that it provided work for his employees during the depression and the other is that it enabled him to climb up and see his wife's grave in the churchyard at High Bradfield.

Passing Agden Reservoir below us we arrived back near Bradfield village.  This is a good view of this part of Bradfield Dale with St. Nicholas' Church and High Bradfield in the distance. At the bottom of the hill in the foreground is Damflask Reservoir, the reservoir nearest our home.

27 Aug 2013

Bradfield Dale: around Agden Reservoir

There are many walks and trails around Bradfield Dale and yesterday we decided to follow the route around Agden Reservoir starting in the top lane of High Bradfield village. 

purple heather, rose bay willow herb and a few thistles add a touch of colour

The winding lane passes rocky escarpments, plantations and pasture to the north east and farmland to the south before descending down towards Agden Reservoir and Low Bradfield. It's possible to walk through Roacher Plantation and on to the moorland beyond Roacher Rocks.

pine cones and flowering cranes bill

Agden Reservoir was completed in 1869 and takes its name from 'agden' which means 'valley of the oak trees'.  It holds 560 million gallons of water.

After passing through the wooded lanes of Lower Bradfield we stopped at the Strines Inn which overlooks the Strines Reservoir and is sheltered by trees and hilly moorland. Originally a manor house it was built in 1275 for the Worrall family (another branch lived in the village of Ughill on the other side of the valley).  Most of the present day structure is 16th century and it was leased out as an inn during the 18th century when the track that passed beside it became more important and a charge (toll) was paid to use it.  It got its name from an Old English word meaning the meeting of water. 

These days the inn has become well known for the large number of peacocks that wander around the grounds.  

22 Aug 2013

Gathering ideas for a garden project

A cafe courtyard garden, Castleton, Derbyshire
At the moment we're thinking of creating a new seating area underneath the fig tree which will be surrounded by plants in containers. Our small, completely enclosed back garden is L-shaped and sheltered by a cedar hedge on three sides with the double garage, the covered yard and the house on the fourth.  Most of the borders are given over to 'cottage garden' plants, but we would like to create a small corner with a more Mediterranean-style of planting.  The front garden, too, needs some thought.  It's rather mixed in style at the moment with another fig tree, jasmine, lavender and some vines growing on the original dry stone wall that was once part of the old estate of a local manor house. There's a raised bed which was put in by a previous owner, but which also might get a makeover in the Autumn. Everything is at the thinking stage and gathering ideas from gardening books and looking at other gardens, which is enjoyable in itself. Nothing drastic will be done as my DH, 'The Gardener', could do with a bit of a rest from any sort of heavy work in the garden.

This is the area that we would like to create a seating area, moving some of the planting, retaining some of the shrubs and, of course, the fig tree.  The paved area which has been used to grow vegetables in containers will continue to be used in this way. DH was given a second box tree as a birthday gift.  The hare and the ornamental grass was a belated birthday gift given to our daughter by her brother and sister-in-law when she came to stay last week.

In the meantime we enjoyed spending time in a cafe during a recent visit to Castleton, Derbyshire where there was courtyard garden that had plenty of features to admire and inspire.
It was a wet day when we drove over to Castleton so after parking we went into the first cafe we saw on the high street.  It was a surprise to find the garden behind the cafe as all the buildings on the street have very narrow front gardens or none at all. On another, sunnier occasion it would be a pleasant place to sit out there. However, on that rainy day we sat inside in a corner of the cafe overlooking the garden and enjoyed our cappuccino and lemon drizzle cake.

20 Aug 2013

August days: North Yorkshire coastal resort

We've been going out with the family during the last week on day trips around Derbyshire and Yorkshire, including a day spent at the coast.  Scarborough is one of the nearest seaside resorts to where we live, but it's quite a drive so we rarely go there just for the day. There are two bays and we headed for the quieter sandy beach of North Bay.

We had a fish and chip lunch at a cafe restaurant by the promenade before walking to the beach at the far end of North Bay.

Metal sculptures are becoming a common sight in many places and this one is of an old retired miner sitting and looking out to sea.  He was a friend of the sculptor and one of the first of the Allied Forces to go and liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.  The sculpture serves as a war memorial and also represents the ordinary person who serves in times of critical need. It was very difficult to get a photograph because, as you can imagine, there were many interested people, old and young, crowded around it. It must have looked like a giant to the very young children and there was one little boy gazing at the huge shoes and looking at his own.

We spent the afternoon on the beach before going on up to the castle on the cliffs and the area overlooking the other bay, St. Mary's Church and churchyard where Anne Bronte, the authoress of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey is buried after spending time in Scarborough with her sister, Charlotte, during her last illness. You can read about her life here. Since we visited last, a newly-engraved stone has been put in place by The Bronte Society.

One of the quirky-looking houses in the castle area and opposite St. Mary's Church.

There are beautiful views across the bay to the harbour and a good walk down steps or by a little winding lane to the old town. At this time of the year it's extremely crowded and we were pleased to have stayed in the North Bay and to have finished our day trip in the quiet area on the cliffs before setting off back home.