If you were asked to think of animals you might find in the Peak District, sheep, cows or horses might spring to mind or even alpacas, but not necessarily water buffalo! We bumped into this herd on a recent walk between Monsal Head and Ashford in the Water.
Our route took us under the Monsal Head viaduct and along the river Wye where we stopped for lunch in the sunshine. We may have had a lot of rain over the past few months, but the countryside looks greener than ever and the wild flowers have definitely benefitted from all the extra watering! Wild roses lined the river where water levels were as high as we can ever remember seeing them.
As we crossed back over the Monsal Trail, we were tempted into a short detour to Hassop Station for a cup of tea and piece of delicious cake. The station has been recently revamped into a lovely tea room, book shop and cycle hire point and was well worth the extra few miles’ walk. On the way, we passed another disused but still atmospheric railway station at Great Longstone, the platforms lined with flowers rather than passengers these days.
Back in Ashford, we looked for trout under the old sheep wash bridge. Originally a medieval packhorse bridge, the site was used until quite recently to wash sheep prior to shearing. Lambs would be penned in the stone walled area to the left of the bridge, whilst their mothers would be thrown in the water on the other side. They would naturally swim to their lambs, ensuring a good soaking. This is also the where one of the younger Wills family members got a good soaking whilst feeding the ducks a little too enthusiastically some years ago, but in the interests of family harmony, we’ll gloss over the details!