Darley Bridge, Bonsall & Wensley
Cows | Caves | Concealed Paths | Well Dressings | Beer Festival | BBQ | Pufferfish | Debates On Pensions
A 12km walk taking in the many of the best of the farmland villages close to Matlock in Derbyshire. A walk which on this particular day provided a great deal of entertainment as we stumbled upon the Bonsall Beer Festival and Well Dressing.
Starting in a free car park at Darley Dale, the walk heads across the fields towards Oker and climbs up to the Jug Hole cave above Snitterton. From here we head down hill towards Bonsall via the winding and concealed pack horse tracks. After exploring the historic village of Bonsall the path leads to more hamlets including Uppertown and Wensley before returning to Darley Bridge.
Since visiting Bonsall for the first time I have come to learn several interesting facts through some online research;
It is (or was) the UFO capital of the UK (Fox Brothers apparently owning the rights to a film on the story)
It holds the World Hen Racing Championships every August
It was once the site of a volcano (3.5 million years back) or at least the site of a lava flow
The church at Bonsall used to have a Bull Ring
Here's my photo inspiration for you to visit these little off the beaten track areas of The Peak District. Also plenty of photographs that show the sights of the Bonsall Well Dressing and many of it's characters. This was the first time we managed to accidentally coincide a walk with a beer festival and it added a little extra interest on the day.
If you would like any help in planning your own walk here please get in touch.
River Derwent at Darley Bridge
Leaving the car park next to the cricket ground in Darley Bridge you cross the River Derwent heading into the village
The Usual Stile
Nothing says English Countryside walk quite like a stile.
It was pretty late in the morning but clearly we were disturbing this pair from their morning slumber.
The Usual Old Barn
Characterising the Derbyshire Landscape again are these rustic barns heading through the farmland towards Cross Green.
The View Over Darley Dale
The view back across the valley towards Darley Dale from the hills. I have only ever driven through this area in the past and never stopped to take in the setting. Located near to the town of Matlock this is an industrial area set amongst the farmland of the Peak District and probably a great place to reside.
Lots of summer colour in the landscape at this time of year as the field flowers start to dominate.
Cows On the Hill
Stumbling across another crumbling out house and noticing cows all around and on the top of Oker hill.
There follows a number of photos of cows among the thistles in this field as they remained pretty calm and happy to have their photo taken.
"Too early to get up so just get on with taking the photo"
The Only Brown Cow
How Now Brown Cow among the thistles.
How Very Dare You
Absolutely shocking behaviour
The Cows on the Hill
We made a detour up to the top of Oker Hill to check out the view and also the other herd of cows who chose to stay up high among the bracken. Clearly some kind of rift between these two herds.
Hiding Behind the Herd
A young cow inquiring what we want up here with their territory.
Stumbling down the hill towards the pretty hamlet of Oker with some typically beautiful houses along the lanes, and of course well kept gardens.
The compulsory blind spot mirror selfie.
More of the beautiful houses of Oker which sprawled along the narrow road.
The recognisable red of the Royal Mail among the hedges.
Much texture and colour found creeping up the stone walls.
Another animal awoken by our passing on this walk. This chap didn't look happy at all about being woken and proceeded to shout at us somewhat.
Passing through the hamlet of Snitterton around Snitterton Hall finding lovely extracts of the surroundings.
New Kinda Sheep
Never seen a sheep quick like this. White and black face, brown coat and white socks as we climbed the path up from Snitterton to Jug Hole woods.
Into The Woods
Entering the dense woodland of Jug Hole Wood which was a steep and wet climb
Taking in the plant life along route.
Discovering the Cave
Jughole Wood contains an open cave which we weren't expecting to find tucked away here.
Jug Hole Cave
The open cave near to Snitterton is dramatic set deep in the woods.
Mouth of the Cave
Looking up from the steep lower level of the cave towards the tree concealed entrance.
Trees Line the Cave Entrance
From above and from most sides this cave would be fully concealed from the unknowing passer by.
Ivy takes over the trees in the woodland around the cave which also included a large and deep muddy bog, looking something like the tar pits a dinosaur may be concealed in.
Leaving The Woods
Something about these kinds of details of the landscape really intrigues me. The landscapes either side of this opening are completely different so it provides a dramatic dividing line.
Barn & Farm
A stroll across open fields led us to the start of the descent into Bonsall.
The Rain Falls
A short rain shower hit as we crossed the open fields.
The Overgrown Pathway
I really enjoyed the nature of these concealed paths on this route. The pathways felt isolated from each other, creating new sections to the walk.
Narrow Paths to Bonsall
Before heading to the Pack Horse routes into Bonsall the pathways remained closely concealed.
Emerging from the tightly packed steep paths into the village of Bonsall. Where we uncovered a festival about to begin.
Be Not Afraid, unless you are slightly worried about strange costumes.
Welsh morris dancers and their dragon at Bonsall Well Dressing
Bring Your Own Tankard
Luckily we encountered a beer festival at The Kings Head in Bonsall with a BBQ and the lot.
An old car makes it's way through Bonsall
The floats of the fair included a few vintage cars
Someone is jealous of the beer
This chap seemed a bit jealous of our viewpoint from the pub garden.
Morris Dancer in Bonsal
Taking a break from the morris party
Bringing the farm to the festival
The old David Brown Selectamatic 990
Old Macdonalds Farm
Many happy cows and scarecrows.
The unexpected sight of pufferfiah on a walk, at the Bonsall Festival
BBQ at The Kings Head
We enjoyed a tasty and much needed burger to soak up some of the beer before being able to walk onwards.
The old garage in Bonsall has stood the test of time, with plenty of retro features.
Auto Engineering Bonsall
This old garage really caught my attention being a blast from the past.
Overlooking the Festival
A family look over the festival going on below on the field as bubbles float in the air.
All the sights of the festival
Knitted dolls and creatures on display at Bonsall Festival
The Route Out of Bonsall
In typical Peak District village fashion the route out of the village winds between the cottages up to the fields via Steppings Lane. This was apparently paved by German POW's in the 1940's.
Looking back to Bonsall
The view back to Bonsall as we stumbled up the path with the beer festival intake causing a few wobbles
Bull in the Bushes
Chatting to the locals
Just outside of Bonsall
Reaching Upper Town
The path leaves the fields into Bell Lane, Upper Town
The Garden House
All The Wall Details
Beautiful gardens of Upper Town
At first I thought this was a stuffed toy in the window.
The Village Signboard
The Plants are taking over the notices in Upper Town
The Locals in the Garden
Daisys in Uppertown
Just the usual bit of garden creeping en route.
The Shed of Three Sections
Crossing the fields of Brumlea Farm out of Uppertown
Another Secret View
Crossing the fields now towards Wensley.
Another Concealed Pathway
Yet more of these mystical tree lined pathways.
Cow Line Up
Reaching Brightgate farm, guess what? More cows!
Another Grumpy Cow
Chatting Over the Wall
Activity on the streets of Wensley as we neared the end point.
Worn Footpath Sign
Crossing through Wensley as the footpath meanders through the houses.
Entering a new landscape right at the end of the walk was a welcome suprise.
Bridge Over The Beck
Bridge in Cambridge Woods
Looking all decayed in the woods. Could make for a pretty cool photo shoot location.
Darley Bridge & Apples
Back Across The Bridge
To the end of the walk
Cricket At The Bridge
The return to the car park as the cricket match was on by the River Derwent. Almost a sell out crowd for this stand.
A perfect route to fill a day exploring the lesser known areas of the Peak District and getting a genuine feel for the countryside around Derbyshire. Enjoyable for a long summers day walk with a pub (The Kings Head) at the halfway stage to enjoy a pint and some lunch.
If you would like to follow this route, you can find a link to the route on the excellent Viewranger at the end of the post.
Photographs were all shot on Fuji X100F. If you fancy a read as to why the Fuji X100F is great or these kind of walks where you want to pack light head over to this link.
You can view the full route for this walk on Viewranger click here, Viewranger is a great app for OS Maps to have with you on your phone and to track routes.
To find out the full facts and strange history of Bonsall click here.
Thank you for reading, please share with me your experience in this part of the Peak District or if you go on any of your own adventures nearby.
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