Holly Cottage is incredibly fortunate to lie right at the start of Bradford Dale, which is one of the Peak Districts lesser-known Dales. However, if you follow the path along the river’s edge for a couple of miles, you are lead straight to the start of Lathkill Dale, one of the Peak District’s most famous and beautiful Dales.
From the cottage I did a 10 mile loop which took in Bradford Dale, Lathkill Dale, Cale Dale and a small out and back to Arbor Low, the Henge of the North.
I have already written of my love for Bradford Dale, and how beautiful and serene it is.
Once you reach the end of the Dale, you cross a road and take a path that still follows the Bradford until you reach Alport, which is where the confluence of the Lathkill and Bradford lie. Here again, you cross the road and now you have the Lathkill on your right, but you don’t reach the start of the Dale for another mile or so. Instead you have a pleasant amble along field edges and hedgerows.
Once you reach another road, you must take a right, over the bridge and now you can turn left into Lathkill Dale with the river now on your left.
Now you can trot, skip or walk along Lathkill Dale for another 2-3 miles. You can see the Caves and the valley closes in on you as you travel down it.
Eventually, you’ll come to a fork in the valley with a large footbridge going left. On this occasion I took this route, but when I stopped to look behind me (something you must always do in the Peaks so you don’t miss the view!) I saw more paths to explore.
See how the terrain has opened up, similar to Dovedale. I can’t wait to explore there next.
I continued along my planned route however, and soon came to a choice:
When I’d plotted the route, I could see Cale Dale on the map but no defined path along it. However I suspected it may be possible to travel along it and this signpost seem to confirm my suspicions and it looked like I might have hit upon a little gem.
Unfortunately it wasn’t.
As a runner I wear a skort and although I was wearing knee length socks, this meant the thigh-height nettles had a field day! However if you are walking/hiking this probably won’t concern you but I was reduced to a walk through this Dale – it is rather unloved with trees fallen across the path and rocks hiding under foot to trip you up so walking was definitely best.
Soon I climbed up and out of this little Dale and found myself on the track to the farm which led to the road. Here I planned to take a little detour and go and see what Arbor Low was all about.
This site is just 2 miles up the road from the cottage so you have a lovely easy amble back down hill the whole way.
All in all a lovely route and one I shall be doing again soon. Happy walking!