Walking at Monsal Head

Trip Start Jun 08, 2007
Trip End Jun 10, 2007

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

09 June 07
After an enormous breakfast at B&B we got in the car and headed for Monsal Head.  We are not experienced walkers so wanted somewhere that was not too strenuous but was a good example of the area.  A close study of the OS map suggested that Monsal Head may be what we were looking for.  Further to that Alan at the Sheriff Lodge Inn recommended it as a very scenic place.
We drove to the Monsal Head Hotel and the view down Monsal Dale was stunning.  Right below us was the river Wye snaking its way through the steep valley and flanked by trees and undergrowth.  Striding across it was the beautiful railway viaduct.  The railway has shut now but even so it is easy to imagine the steam trains of the Midland Railway roaring across it
We descended in a south westerly direction on the gentle sloping path that led to the river side.  The path was well used and carried us under the trees and tall bushes that lined it.  It was like passing through a green pipe.  There were many species of wild flower including Germander Speedwell, Buttercup and Daisies.  We did not see many birds as they were well hidden by the foliage but we could here the songs of Wren, Great Tit and Chaffinch.  After a short while the silent air was broken by the sound of rushing water and shortly after we reached the river and saw the waterfall.  It was not a long drop but there was a large amount of water falling over it and so was a very impressive sight. 
We rested here for a while.  Not that we needed a rest but it was a good place to take in the scenery and I took lots of photographs.  The air did seem heavier in the valley floor but the most noticeable feature was the carpets of buttercups and daisies. 
We followed the path that led along the riverbank towards the viaduct and eventually we walked underneath it   Where I live all railway buildings and architecture is attacked by graffiti artists.  How strange this bridge seemed all clean with no urban artwork.  On the water we saw Coot, Moorhen and a Heron.  Once we passed under the viaduct we followed the river for a short while and came to a little bridge at Nethergate Farm.  This we crossed and after passing some buildings started the assent back to the Monsal Head Hotel.  We have not been walking for a long time and are very unfit so, the walk up the hill made us hot.  But we just looked forward to the nice pint of real ale (Wild Swan and Hartington) that awaited us at the top.      
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