Explore the Peak Forest
Derbyshire Life|November 2020
A walk through autumn fields and forests with far reaching views enriched by snippets of mystery, romance and the area’s industrial past
Sally Mosley

ROUTE

1 Walk up Church Lane to the small circular road island at Old Dam. This part of the Peak Forest is the oldest with a mixture of farmsteads, houses and cottages dating from the 16th century onwards. There is a reference to a dam here as far back as 1405 and a ‘great pond’ in 1440, at one time used to power a corn mill and as a sheep wash. Although the outline of these man-made structures can still be made out, all is now grassed over and utilized as pasture.

2 Turn right to walk along Old Dam Lane. Turn left down the drive to Oxlow End.

3 Go through a gate on the right to follow the bridleway through Oxlow Rake where the spoil heaps of former mine workings are camouflaged by a belt of mature trees. This area abounds with old mines, some of their names providing a reference to their nature such as Starvehouse, Hazard and Clear-theWay mines. Away to your left is Portway Mine, its name referring to the prehistoric track through what is now Derbyshire that linked Bronze Age hillforts. A further gate will follow then a section of trackway.

4 Pass through a gate and walk through mainly open pasture keeping the wall to your left along a section of the Limestone Way toward its start at Castleton. Notice how Mam Tor emerges like a huge mound to the north, whilst the summit of Win Hill is a giant pimple almost directly ahead in the distance.

5 Arriving at a combination of ways do not go through the gate but turn sharp right to follow a footpath as indicated by a fingerpost sign. Passing through a succession of gates, this ascends to Bradwell Moor. From this elevated position, there are far-reaching views over a vast area of the National Park encompassing both White and Dark Peaks. The footpath will become a grassy path then a rough track.

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