Behold the peak district!
Sadly, August has brought almost nothing but grey skies and depressing rainfall to the UK, but on the odd occasion that it has been possible to venture out and not come home looking like a drowned rat, I have taken full advantage. Earlier this summer I visited Lyme Park– setting of the BBC’s memorable Pride & Prejudice drama series –and was bowled over with what I saw. That mini, mum-accompanied day trip inspired me to delve deeper into the peak district, an area of outstanding natural beauty that has always been on my doorstep but lamentably taken for granted for all my 27 years.
The Goyt Valley lies at the heart of the Peak District National Park, containing two picturesque reservoirs, Fernilee and Errwood, and a number of popular walking routes. With a mum and dad in tow, I spent the afternoon circling the Fernilee reservoir, gawking at the views and wandering why the hell I’d never been before.
The circuit is reasonably short and flat, so easy for anyone whose knees aren’t quite as nimble as they used to be. It’s a quiet walk, where you’ll only encounter dog walkers and friendly folk with walking sticks who are always up for saying hello.
It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes going at a leisurely pace.
What to see
Apart from an abundance of lush-green, looming trees and a myriad of other plant life, there are so many birds of prey and other forms of wildlife that populate the area. I am no bird-watcher, but I saw a what I thought was a kestrel, based on my hazy memory of some bloke coming in to school with one when I was about 8. There were butterflies and dragonflies everywhere, and plenty of geese– which are apparently of Canadian origin –to see too.
1. Take the exit for Whaley Bridge off the A6
2. Follow the road straight (Long Hill / A5004) through Whaley Bridge until you reach Fernilee.
3. Take the (signposted) exit to Fernilee Reservoir on the right hand-side and follow down to the small car park. There is usally space to leave your car here.
I swear I am not turning into an old man, just making the most of a summer which, regrettably, hasn’t been as jaunt-jammed as I’d have liked. But with landscapes like this on my doorstep something’s telling me I should feel lucky!