Today, we made it to Dove Dale in the Peak District (map -- it's the green area NNW of Derby). The Peak District is a National Park but not in the sense that you or I are familiar. There are many trails though they aren't necessary marked very well. The scenery is quite picturesque but it's not doesn't actually have very high peaks (the name is a misnomer and actually relates to an ancient tribe of the area).
Our previous foray into the PD was to visit Chatsworth, but I was after a walk/hike this time. Dove Dale, and its stepping stones (above) are fairly famous and close by, so I thought we'd start there. As usual, Saturday was filled with errands (and this time a nice dinner with friends) so that left Sunday. It was predicted to rain after lunch so I rustled the troops out the door before 8 a.m. (thanks, Dad). We were at the Dove Dale parking lot by 8:30 and ready to go. As you can see, the rain came before we finished but we didn't melt. It would be good to get some better rain gear though, especially before we head to Ireland this summer.
I just purchased a new book called  Short Walks in the Peak District for a mere £3.35 and picked out the trail in Dove Dale. Short and Long mean different things to the locals. Our "short" walk was about 5 miles. Equipped with the book and an Ordinance Survey map like above, we were ready to go (or so we thought).
From the parking lot, we saw the sign above. Most are not that well marked and we still need some more practice navigating. We had a few wrong turns but eventually made it there. As I mentioned in the post about Calke Abbey, there are zillions of public footpaths in the UK. Some are better marked than others. Our initial walk around and over Bunster Hill was a little vague for this group of novices but the main path along Dove Dale and the river was easy to find.
You can somewhat get a feel for the initial part of the walk from this shot. We are walking around Bunster Hill through fields with the obligatory stone fences and farm animals. Feels very British to us.
Hanging out with some of the sheep. As I mentioned, the walk takes you through, not around, the pastures. The kids are squinting from the last of the sun that we would see for the day.
Babies are always cute.
Some of the sheep apparently prefer leaves to grass . . .
These guys were following (herding) us! I guess they liked the path we chose.
After walking around and over Bunster Hill (~1000 ft elevation), we headed back towards the river. It had started to sprinkle/rain and it was good to get in the woods. It was slippery coming back down but we all stayed upright. After the descent we crossed the river on this foot bridge and then walked along the river for the rest of the walk.
A cool arch along the way . . .
A spire / peak along the way. We didn't get the guidebook out to see which one since the rain was coming down.
Lover's Leap (behind the crew)
Close up -- you can see that we are getting a little wet (but still smiling!)
We actually finished out the walk with the stepping stones. We had the option to climb another hill (Thorpe Cloud) but given the weather, we saved it for another day.
We'll have to come back when the weather is nicer but we still had a good time.