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.