Mid-Summer Walk In The Peak District, Leader Helen Richardson, Saturday July 7th 2012

Reporter: Christine Fildes

We met at 9.30am by the Etherow Country Park visitor centre, in Compstall. The walk of about 9 miles was along tracks and paths in parkland and woodland. Ten of us set off, plus Freddie, the latest recruit and despite the mixed forecast, the weather was perfect.

Compstall Mill was built in 1820 by George Andrew and Compstall Village was built to house his mill workforce. The waterways which can be seen today were also built by Andrew to carry water from the weir on the Etherow to turn the mill wheel (Big Lily). Built in 1839, it was the largest water wheel in the country, and stood where the car park is today.

After walking alongside the main lake adjacent the Visitor Centre, we crossed the bridge over the River Etherow which overlooked the weir (spectacular due to recent heavy rainfall) and climbed gently through Ernocroft Wood, and then joined Cown Edge Way. Eventually we were rewarded with exceptional views of over the Longdendale Valley, the Etherow Valley, with the Kinder Plateau on the on the skyline. We then descended by Warhurst Fold to the village of Broadbottom, passing The Lymefield Industrial Archeology Site and Visitor Centre. Once the site of a huge complex of cotton mills, the site of Broad Mills at Broadbottom, adjoining the Lymefield Visitor Centre, has been carefully reclaimed, and the remains of the mills with their complex arrangement of mill races, sluices, and die vats, restored for visitors to enjoy. A wide variety of birds and plants are in abundance in the area.

This was a perfect place to enjoy a lunch break (while basking in the sun). But we resisted the temptation to visit the garden centre and tea rooms nearby! After lunch Dave Taylor had to leave us, and then it was time to make our way back towards Compstall. We climbed gently again, out of the valley through delightful woodland (bathed in dappled sunshine) towards Hodgefold and Bothams Hall, where Helen and Brian assured us have recently seen a white peacock !*!* .... However not to-day, but we did see some pink pigs! A rare breed, according to a notice board. Finally we descended by Back Wood, passing the lower edge of Werneth Low golf club, Beacom Houses, and Mortin Clough to return Etherow Visitor Centre at approx. 3.30pm. Derek (wearing wellies), volunteered to go for a paddle in a stream with a very muddy Freddie, who was a little less exuberant than at the start of the walk.

Despite most of us being ‘Freddied’ during the walk, it was a delightful day. Helen had even arranged for Brian to do a spot of pruning ‘en route’. He produced a pair of secateurs from his rucksack when the footpath in Woodseats Lane disappeared through a gap in a holly hedge!

Thank you Helen for another well organised and interesting walk. You were even able to arrange some good weather for us too.