After the car boot we drove through Castleton, up Winnets pass and eventually over to Monsal Head where we had our picnic.
Monsal Head is a famous beauty spot with a magnificent view down Monsal Dale and up the Wye valley. The position is at a spot where the Wye, on its passage eastwards to meet the Derwent, encounters a band of harder rock and is forced to make a sharp turn southwards and carve its way through a high ridge of limestone. The view is spectacular, with the river far below, winding through a steep-sided and often rocky valley.
The route of the former Midland Railway makes its way along Monsal Dale and was carried by a viaduct over the river and into a tunnel which goes right beneath Monsal Head.
This is now part of the Monsal Trail, a popular route with walkers at weekends. The viaduct is now an accepted feature of the landscape, but when the railway was built in the 1870s, John Ruskin campaigned against the damage done to this unique environment, simply 'so that any fool from Bakewell can be in Buxton by lunchtime'.
We then went to Ashford in the water, a little village nearby.
Ashford in the Water is a very pretty Derbyshire and Peak District village, situated on the River Wye, one and a half miles north west of Bakewell.
It's main attraction is the sheep wash bridge which is both picturesque and ancient. It was originally a medieval packhorse bride and only until recently, sheep were washed here prior to shearing. The lambs would be penned within the stone walled pen on one side of the river, whilst the mothers would be thrown in at the other side. They would naturally swim across to their offspring, thus ensuring a good soaking.
Described as a Royal Manor in the Domesday Book, `Aisseford' passed to the Nevilles in 1408, and then to Sir William Cavendish, the forebear of the Earls and Dukes of Devonshire in 1550. It remained under ducal control for the next 400 years until the houses were sold off individually in the 1950`s to help pay death duties, and today`s 800 or so residents reap the benefits of the skilled local crafstmanship employed for four centuries by various members of the Cavendish family.
Three pictures looking down into Monsal Dale (my photos are never going to show how spectacular this valley actually looks!)
A little chapel at Monsal Head.
Ashford in the Water.
this next photo isn't mine but the bridge was far too crowded to take any photos of it!