Milldale walk

New walks book sampled today - Short Walks in the Peak District (Collins/Ramblers Organisation). We opted for Viator's Bridge, Milldale for a relaxing 2 1/2 mile afternoon stroll. Gorgeous clear, sunny day and 21 Celsius. What could be better. 

We headed up the back roads towards Grindon, relishing all the lacy, wayside cow-parsley and buttercup meadows left alone last weekend, when the mass silage cut seemed to be widespread.  
The delightful, old Grindon village - like stepping back into the past - was tranquil before milking time, so no herd of cows to wait for in the lane. The road out, leading down to Weags Bridge and The Manifold Trail opens up to stunning views above The Manifold Valley and over to Beeston Tor. In the sunlight, the lush fields, studded with hawthorn blossom, provided a great reminder for me of why this is such a beautiful place to live.  
We wound our way down to the valley along the narrow lane with its canopy of trees, luckily without meeting a vehicle, and crossed the Manifold Trail and Weag's Bridge. The winding ascent on the other side always impresses, reminding me of French mountain roads with its steep hairpin bends, wandering cattle and grass growing up the middle of the road. 
At the top we continued towards Mill Dale and parked in the free car park a short walk from the village.  A sprinkling of walkers were passing through the picturesque village on the Dove today - a lean day for ducks compared to summer weekends. 
The walk leads alongside the river towards Dovedale for about a mile before taking a left turn just before Dove Holes, at a finger post indicating Alsop Le Dale. This was new territory for us - Dovedale Dale is so lovely, especially when as quiet as this, that we've continued along by the river on other visits. 
We found ourselves  ascending gently through grassland on a narrow path which soon became more of a stony, woodland track, lined with wild garlic, a mossy wall on our right. Crags called The Nabbs 'guard' the top end of Nab Dale. I was too focused on trying to identify mystery clumps of yellow flowers clinging to them to really appreciate their presence but at this point we emerged into open country, the buildings of Hanson Farm on our left. 
The path led up towards a series of stiles a little to the right of the extensive farm buildings, through cattle pastures and along side a dry stone field wall. Soon the terrain levelled out and revealed panoramic views ahead of Dovedale, Milldale and Wolfescote Dale. A final stile led us onto the steep but gradual, zig-zagging descent down to Milldale, the limestone hillside dotted with tiny, jewel-like, alpine flowers and quaking grass. We found low, rocky outcrops ideal for a refreshment break and for photos like the one above. A shame that the Milldale hole-in-the-wall, Polly's cafe wasn't open as an ice-cream would have been a perfect end to this late spring walk!


'A lovely well-equipped cottage in which to holiday in this area....' 

'We all remarked how everything in the cottage was a very high standard and the fixtures and fittings were much better than you usually find.' 

'Yet another lovely weekend in this beautiful cosy cottage. Had a little excitement with the Highland cattle down the lane...' 

Our first visit to Croft House Barn. We quickly discovered that we had entered an environment that was clean spacious and well-equipped. The cottage was perfectly situated, enabling us to travel to the many attractions in the surrounding areas. Everything that we have experienced was confirmation of our initial phone conversation and subsequent email communications. To sum it all up, the Croft House Barn was like a home from home. We will see you again! 

'A delightful stay - warm hospitality, warm and gorgeous cottage, wonderful attention to detail in everything and a stunning environment. Who could ask for more!' 

'Brilliant stay, lovely cottage and welcome. Carsington Water provided a great day out, especially the bikes. Huge fun had at the Red Lion with good food to boot! Thanks ever so!' 

'What can we say? Everything fantastic, every little detail thought about - you really do just bring yourself! It is so relaxing and peaceful here, we feel as if we have been here two weeks and not 4 days. Many thanks for our welcome pack, a lovely touch. Looking forward to a return visit. Thank you.' 

We would like to extend our warm thanks to you for your generous hospitality during our stay in Croft House Barn. The cottage is delightful with luxurious touches everywhere  - beautiful bed linen and towels, delicious welcome basket - to the topped up bird feeders attracting an amazing variety of wildlife. We can only reiterate the comments of previous guests - you really go the extra 'golden' mile! Many, many thanks.' 

'A beautiful well-equipped cottage in a beautiful part of the country. We have enjoyed our stay so much we hope to return next year.' 

'A huge thanks. Always lovely to be here. We had a really quiet rest and chlled this year, but still managed Milldale - Dovedale and The Roaches of course. As soon as we get home, we'll be checking next year's diary for another visit.' 

'Back again - lovely to be here in summer agnd to get good weather! Great to have all the family sharing with us for 2 of the days. Checked out all our usual haunts along with a new discovery - Emma Bridgewater's Pottery (only 35 mins away). A real 'hands-on' experience - studio pottery painting for kids and a factory tour, also big discounts! Many thanks for the welcome pack, we've all had a splendid time and hope to return soon.' 

'Our 3rd visit to the cottage and Stephanie and Malcolm have maintained the high standards in the lovely cottage and the lovely welcome pack - loved the bakewell tarts! The cottage and area is a pleasure to visit. Dovedale, lovely in the sun. We all loved the Manifold Trail on the bikes and thoroughly recommend doing this - especially the little cafe at the end of the trail. We broke records of previous attendances at Alton Towers and managed bright, sunny starts to beat the queues. Busy and eventful, so lovely to return to cottage and comfortable beds for a good night's sleep. Thank you.' 

'Wonderful accommodation! Oatcakes were very tasty - amazing welcome pack. Nuthatch, swallows, great tits and blue tits, all feeding in garden. Definitely recommend and want to return! Everything we needed was available. Rest and relaxation is order of the day in such a comfortable cottage. Flowers were a lovely welcome. Unmatched hospitality from Stephanie and Malcolm! Lovely walks in beautiful countryside.' 

'Gold Stars for this holiday - we had a fantastic  week in September with 3 generations of family together to celebrate my special birthday. It was everything and more as seen on their website. Stephanie and Malcolm gave us a very warm welcome along with a wonderful hamper of local and homemade goodies - what a treat to start the holiday and it just got better from there! The cottage and facilities were excellent with thoughtful and homely touches everywhere. Everything was in its place, including a lovely vase of flowers and birthday balloons, to make this one of the best places we have stayed in. The perfect cottage to return to after a day walking and exploring the surrounding countryside with charming little villages and towns. A visit to Chatsworth House and gardens was a day to remember - a must for everyone visiting The Peaks! We will return to Croft House Barn and bring our friends so that they too can experience the delights of this lovely accommodation and beautiful countryside.