The start of Lathkill Dale isn’t far from Knotlow Farm. We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather we’ve been having lately, take a small break from work on the farm and go for a walk.
Taking a route through our back pasture we entered one of the many pretty little lanes, contained by the drystone walls that abound in this area and make walking anywhere such a pleasure. Gaps through the green leaves of the hawthorn bushes on either side gave us glimpses of the farm, with our Aberdeen Angus cattle hugging the shade and swishing their tails. Blue geranium, rosebay willowherb and sweet cicely, with its aniseed scented seed pods bounded the path. Tractors hummed in the distance.
It is a short walk to Monyash village, with its neat little green, old market cross, and the stately three storey inn, the Bull’s Head. Everything was in bloom, masses of sweet scented roses climbing the grey limestone cottages and spilling over garden walls. The little car park was already full and the ice cream shop and café next to the pub doing a roaring trade with the motorcyclists parked up along the front of the green.
Across the road and turning left at the junction in the Bakewell direction, again it was only a short walk to the start of Lathkill Dale, through a set of kissing gates on the right-hand side of the road. Some cars and an opportunistic ice cream van were parked up in the layby under the trees.
Lathkill Dale starts off as a little valley and turns into a shaded rocky path beneath steep sided limestone cliffs before opening out again and finally running along beside the river. The water is clear and fish dart between the rocks. You can see birds such as ducks, herons, wagtails, dippers, waterhens and coots, and admire the beautiful tall yellow verbascum, in full flower at this time of year, or the rare Jacob’s Ladder.
We turned round and started back for Monyash after about half an hour, promising ourselves that we would bring husbands and children next time and make it a longer walk, taking in the cave if possible. You can carry on all the way through to Over Haddon, stop for refreshments there and come back to the Bull’s Head for tea, but we had children to fetch from school later and were feeling hungry for a bit of lunch and a cool drink. So we went back to the Bull’s Head and consumed a huge plate of seafood salad and crusty bread before returning to the farm and our parenting duties!