Jane B (knally) wrote,
Jane B

Edale Mill

My latest Landmark Trust holiday has been in the Peak District, in an old cotton mill, a rare survivor from 1795 (rare, since they usually burnt down!) It was a comfortable and very spacious apartment so you didn't get much idea of life in a factory. It was possible to get an impression of what the open floor looked like by looking from the bedroom through the hallway into the sitting room, with a couple of the steel supporting pillars in the view. One small way of seeing part of their life was to take their route to work. The first workers used to walk to the mill from Castleton, up over the intervening hill via Hollins Cross which I reckon must have taken them an hour. So that was an hour either side of a 12 hour day, which in the winter would probably have meant both walks were in the dark. Today it's a pleasant ramble with wonderful views down to the mill and across to the hills beyond, but even taken slowly and in daylight you have to watch your step on the stony path. They must almost have been glad of bad weather when they could stay at the mill overnight.

View from hill

The picture above shows the mill, and the Landmark apartment is on the right hand side, the second set of windows from the roof. The chimney for the old steam works is separate from the main building. The two shots below show the inside and outside of the building.

Inside Edale Mill Edale Mill Outside

The mill is divided into half a dozen apartments, only one of which belongs to Landmark. It is reached by a small wooded lane and is surrounded by trees with a small river at the bottom of the garden. After the drive through wonderful scenery it seems quite sheltered, but when you go up to the second floor where the Landmark is, the view opens up so you can see the hills. The one in the middle is Back Tor which you can reach either directly or by walking along from Hollins Cross. In the other direction is Mam Tor which I didn't get to this time, but since I really enjoyed this visit, I think I'll be back and will try to get there then. Window view from Edale Mill

I walked up to Back Tor the first day of my visit, and then visited Buxton in the afternoon when it looked like rain was coming in. Buxton actually looks better than what I remember from the eighties, and reading some of the notices around town it looks like it has been spruced up, sometimes with Lottery money.

On Wednesday I drove down to the south side of the Peak District and did the Dovedale walk from Ilam up to Milldale and back. When I was in college at Stafford I used to Youth Hostel in the Peak District and stayed at Ilam Hall. However the time I stayed there it must have been for one night and I must have been going on somewhere else since I only walked up to the Stepping Stones and no further. So after some 25 years I actually managed to do the whole dale. It is picturesque, the ending and the beginning are the most scenic I think, although the wooded slopes must be wonderful in the autumn. The highlight of the walk for me was the numerous sightings of dippers in the river. I tried to get some pictures, but they were too far away and in the shade so you can only really tell it's a dipper if I point it out to you, so I'm not bothering to post any of the shots.

In the evening, Geoff and Margaret came for dinner. Geoff was one of the lecturers at North Staffs Poly and was my sandwich year visitor when I worked at the European Space Agency. We've kept in touch with Christmas cards and the occasional letter and email over the years, so it was great to meet up again, and gossip about old students :-) Since they're both active ramblers we also planned a walk for the next day. They know the area well and were able to suggest places that I didn't know, or which I wouldn't have attempted by myself. In the end we settled on the fairly well-known (if you're a walker) Stanage Edge.

We were planning on a day walk but in the end the weather looked like it might be bad for the afternoon so settled for just the morning. The rain didn't actually come in until after four, but it bucketed down when it did come! To cut the walk shorter we took two cars up and parked one at either end of the walk. The walk itself was most enjoyable and varied. There was quite a lot of manmade interest with abandoned millstones and watering holes for sheep scattered around. The millstones used to be manufactured on the hillsides, they were abandoned if there was a fault during the making, and the industry stopped when cheaper imports came in. There were dramatic views all along the edge, with clouds making patterns across the hills.

Millstone below Stanage Edge Watering Hole on Stanage Edge

In the afternoon we went to Hardwick Hall which is somewhere I've had an interest in visiting for a while. Apart from the historical and architectural interest, it's well known for it's embroideries, particularly the slips. Quite by accident we were also there on the day when the stewards dress up in Elizabethan costume, which seems to be the last Thursday in the month. The costumes are all handmade by the volunteers using period clothing as the pattern, although they are willing to use shortcuts of modern material for some parts. A very fine effect was achieved in one costume by making the underskirt from a gold and black material (possibly an evening dress?) with black ribbons making diamond shapes over the top. All the stewards, including the gentlemen, were delighted to talk about their costumes, and they obviously took great pleasure in the interest shown.
The Hall itself is not what I was expecting since it's more like Hampton Court Palace (on a smaller scale) than an Elizabethan manor house.

Thursday evening was spent packing, reading (including the log for the mill, Landmark logbooks are always very entertaining) and delighting in being inside in the warm when it was bucketing down outside.

Friday morning I met up with Geoff and Margaret one last time and we visited
Treak Cliff Cavern where Blue John Stone is still mined a few weeks a year, and which has some wonderful rock formations. Our hearts sank when we realised we'd have to go round with a school party (the guide told us that during the school term, just about every week day tour would include a school party) but Year 7 were quite well-behaved and their exuberance - especially when the lights went out! - made for an enjoyable tour.

More pictures of the holiday can be found at my Photobucket album

Tags: landmark trust, travel

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