Perfect walking weather and beautiful scenery made todays walk extremely enjoyable.  Our walk leader Norman took us on an 8.5 mile circular walk around the lovely dales surrounding Tideswell, known as the Cathedral in the Peak due to its historic parish church.  The area is also famed for its Well Dressings, a tradition dating back hundreds of years that celebrate Wakes Week.

There were a couple of announcements  – Jean mentioned that Brenda G had completed  ‘Race for Life’ in aid of Cancer Research UK – anyone wishing to donate/sponsor to see Brenda.  New walker Joan, and non walker Tina were welcomed to the group.  Six non walkers were dropped off in Bakewell, whilst the remaining started the walk along Tideswell Dale.  The path soon led to the second of the 4 dales of today’s walk, Miller’s Dale, the River Wye flowing at the bottom of a steep sided gorge.  Continuing along the river we soon reached the spectacular limestone cliffs at Water-cum-Jolly, a popular spot for rock climbers and birdwatchers.  Cressbrook Mill an 18th century cotton mill, now converted into apartments was the setting of a welcome coffee stop, with the pretty cottages built in 1840 on the hill at the edge of the village providing an insight into times gone by and another lovely photo opportunity.  The steep walk out of Cressbrook took us to the third dale – Ravensdale or Cressbrook Dale, that is now a National Nature renowned for its rare wild flowers, nestled around outcrops of limestone.  Our resident naturalist expert Dave C along with Jan W identified the following, just a small selection of flora and butterflies to be seen in this spectacular dale. Wild thyme, common rock rose, yellow sedum, field scabious, pyramid orchid, common spotted orchid, meadow cranesbill, meadow sweet, birds-foot trefoil to name but a few!! Whilst enjoying spotting the abundance of wildflowers, a number of butterflies and moths on the wing were seen, meadow brown, small heath, small tortoiseshell, comma, common blue and a small chimney sweep moth.  What could have possibly been one of the Eggar moths flitted past – far too quickly for absolute identification!! The dale was real feast for those with an interest in nature.  Climbing steeply, the fourth and final dale, Tansley Dale, led to the pretty village of Litton, where lunch was enjoyed followed by refreshments in the Red Lion pub or nice cup of tea at the local shop cum teashop.

Climbing steeply out of Litton, across fields with lovely views across the Derbyshire Dales, the path soon reached a quiet road leading back to Tideswell.  Some walkers broke from the main group, choosing the explore the village, have ice-cream and take a different route back to the coach whilst the main group walked through and around the village back to the coach.

A fabulous day’s walking was enjoyed by all and Norman was thanked for leading such an interesting and scenic walk accompanied by perfect summer sunshine and a gentle breeze.

Thanks as always to contributors of photos for the gallery.