2 Hours – approx 6 miles
Parking the car in the centre of the village of Foolow on a lovely March Sunday morning, I headed north up the minor road to Bretton. The birds were in full song as I left the village. In a field alongside the road were the first local lambs of the year that I had seen. Plenty of work for the farmers to come as these will just be the start and there were very many ewes in the other fields!
The walk up to Bretton and the Barrel Inn starts gently allowing muscles to get warm. The climb to the top of the edge is steady and quite steep but not too long. The views from the top this morning were spectacular with clear all round 360 degrees visibility. Towards the north, the high tops of Kinder Scout were visible with Abney in the foreground; to the west the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club’s airfield above Great Hucklow, to the south I could see Foolow in the valley with the hills above Great Longstone behind and to the east there was Eyam in the valley and the ridge stretching towards Sir William Hill.
The walk I planned to take this morning was either on the tarmac or on well made tracks; however there were options to take footpaths off at various stages towards Eyam and later back towards Foolow or indeed paths to extend the walk further.
The Barrel Inn, visible for much of the walk, dates back to 1597 and this morning looked very peaceful in the spring sunshine. A fine place for a stop, but too early for refreshment today!
A local shooting club was setting up in a nearby field with targets being arranged.
I continued along the road deciding to follow the tarmac above Eyam Edge and not along the disused road past the trig point on Sir William Hill. This was the highest part of my walk and I met a few walkers coming the other way from Eyam.
Coming to a junction just below Mompesson’s Well, I made a slight detour to view this well known and well kept piece of local history. On other days I might have relished the seat, but I now wanted to get down the hill to Eyam. A small wood gave me some interesting light and shadows for my camera and then as I descended I could see Eyam below – houses, church, playing fields and a few animals.
I saw some alpacas in one of the fields and diverted from my planned route out of curiosity. I followed a footpath down the side of the hill past the animals to the centre of Eyam. Whilst the lambs earlier had been frightened when I appeared, these alpacas showed disdain and kept on with breakfast!
Continuing down the path I ended up close to the Spar shop, and then headed west along the main road past the church, some of the plague houses and Eyam Hall before veering left through an estate and a track that took me all the way to Housley.
A very different set of views here, with empty undulating fields and stonewalls. Eyam Edge and the Barrel Inn remained visible on my right for much of the final part of the walk; I could also hear shots in the distance from the shooting taking place up on the top of the hill.
I came back into Foolow having walked briskly about 6 miles in just about a couple of hours.