Part of the Ilkeston Cam "Days Out" Series

Middleton-By-Wirksworth - Part 02 - Middleton Moor & High Peak Trail
w/e 31 August 2014
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Middleton Top header

In Part 01 I promised to look at some of the natural beauty of the landscape at Middleton Top but even here, history and industry have left an indelible mark on the surrounding countryside.


At the rear of the Visitor Centre and at the side of the High Peak Trail a signpost points to a flight of steps leading to Middleton Moor.
Loading Bay

On the immediate left at the top of the steps are some old stone walls. These are the remains of a loading bay on a siding of the Cromford & High Peak Railway where limestone from Redhill Quarry on the moor was transferred to the wagons. The hill in the background is the spoil heap from the quarry which is now a designated nature reserve.
Middleton Moor

The siding continued to the right to other limestone quarries on Middleton Moor but now the railway has gone and it is only footpaths that draw hikers, walkers and photographers onto the moor.

The main line of the Cromford & High Peak Railway has been transformed into the High Peak Trail and is very popular with both walkers and cyclists. Many people pull up onto the car park with bikes attached to the rear of their vehicles either directly or on trailers but those who arrive without can soon hire one by the hour from the Cycle Hire Centre at the Visitor Centre.
Notice Boards

Then after checking directions and perhaps deriving some information from the many notice boards they can set off to explore the area. I did hear one lady returning with a child though exclaim that she felt a little saddle sore and thought that a three hour ride had been a little ambitious!
Viewing Point

For the less energetic (ourselves included) there is still plenty to see at Middleton Top. In a corner of the car park is a viewing platform overlooking the countryside to the south.

A plaque set into a large boulder at the viewing point commemorates the Queen's Silver Jubilee and identifies places that can be seen in the distance. We noticed that Crich Stand, the Sherwood Foresters' War Memorial could neither be seen nor was shown on the plaque.

In the pleasant late summer sunshine we decided to take a stroll from the car park along the High Peak Trail and set off in the direction of Parsley Hay which this signpost with Redhill Quarry spoil heap in the background showed was 11.5 miles away. We didn't go that far - by a long way!

Our walk though did reveal more of that lovely undulating Derbyshire farmland and countryside to the south.
Crich Stand

And as we turned to return to the car park we saw on the horizon like a lighthouse on the edge of a cliff, the feature mentioned earlier at the viewing point, Crich Stand.

Our journey to and from Middleton Top and taken 40 to 45 minutes each way and we were there only a couple of hours so it hardly constitutes a "Day Out". But given the right weather, a pair of walking boots or a bike, a day when the engine house is open and the engine working on a "Steam Day" a day at Middleton Top is hardly enough to enjoy all that it has to offer. A website for the area says that it has a visitor centre, gift shop, cycle hire centre, car park, toilets and picnic area which we have already seen but there is also the Redhill Quarry Nature Reserve full of wildflowers, a museum in the engine house and the wonderful countryside all around to enjoy.

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