We join our friends from Large Outdoors and begin by walking towards the hamlet of Wormhill and descend into Flag Dale continuing up the dale towards the Tunstead Works. Turning back towards Wormhill we pick up the Limestone Way and follow it northwards towards the village of Peak Forest. From Peak Forest we turn south into Dam Dale.
The dale begins without you realising it’s a dale at all, with its wide open landscape full of green pastures and stone walls. As we progress however, the dale steadily gains its valley shape until we meet a lonely track that marks the start of Hay Dale. In contrast to Dam Dale, Hay Dale is very obviously a dale. Although shallow at the start it gradually becomes rockier with occasional trees, but this is essentially still the green pastureland characterised by Dam Dale. Until the dale’s end, that is, when shallow limestone edges begin to appear on both sides. Crossing a small road we now enter Peter Dale.
If Hay Dale was more impressive than Dam Dale, then Peter Dale, in turn, is more impressive than Hay Dale. There is significantly more tree cover here and the dale contains some impressive limestone cliffs on both sides, giving the dale the feel of a rocky ravine in places. Crossing another small road we now enter Monk’s Dale, which consists of three sections. In the first you are enveloped by a lush, dense forest. The going here is hard. The forest is extremely thick in places, almost like a jungle, with roots and rocks underfoot seemingly trying to prevent your onward passage.
The path has a tendancy to disappear in places, but then gradually becomes pleasing woodland and then suddenly you’re in the sunlight, in the high expanse of the dale. The path in this second section of the dale climbs the eastern bank and the twists and turns of the dale provide for ever-changing vistas. The dale then enters another section of woodland, more typical of Dove Dale, though less dramatic, less wet and less crowds! The village of Miller’s Dale quickly approaches signalling the walk’s end. After the walk those who want to can join us for a pint at the pub in Miller’s Dale.
9.45m – 4pm
Bookings via Large Outdoors website – or ring 0161 401 0460
With thanks to Large Outdoors