Our final leg of the Limestone Way took us out of Derbyshire’s White Peak and into Staffordshire. From limestone and dale to river and brick. The weather could not have been better, the walk was mostly downhill and we finished with a photo.
A day of gentle ups and modest downs in pleasant sunshine, taking us from a land of drystone dykes to one of hawthorn hedgerows. My first draft, and second and third, for this write up were very much “we crossed a field, and then another field, then a road, and then another field, and a road, and then a field, and another…”. So I’ve tried again…
I remember this walk as being in warm sunshine, but the photos show we started beneath a cloud-filled sky. The route was mostly downhill, though it wasn’t really noticeable and there were a couple of climbs out of dips. The Limestone Way swings east to Bonsall Upper Town, leaving the north to south direction of most of the route, before swinging back. A vestige from the original route that ran from Matlock to Castleton.
Our second day of the Limestone Way was in t-shirt weather. The navigation was mostly straightforward and the going was easier. There were two main uphill stints, at Sough Hill and Lathkill Dale, but most of the walking was downhill or level.
The Limestone Way is a 46 mile walking trail in the Peak District National Park. It begins in the town of Castleton, below Mam Tor, and makes its way over the broad limestone plateau of the White Peak, and down through the Derbyshire Dales to Rocester, home of JCB, in North Staffordshire. We had decided to walk the trail over four or five days, and after our first day decided five days was the best choice for us.
This, our final stage of our River Ayr Way, brought us to the coast. It was a relatively short walk, mostly on riverside paths, but with some mud near the start that needed close attention. It wasn’t especially well signed, and where there were waymarkers, their arrows were often too faded to read. That said, there were some interesting sights along the way, we found a bench by the river for lunch, it didn’t rain (much) and, at the end, we could bask in the warmth of our achievement.
It was back to Failford for the next stage of the Way. This time with the luxury of pavement and without rain. A path took us into Ayr Gorge to walk through the woodlands in the footsteps of Robert Burns.
Can I forget the hallow’d grove, Where, by the winding Ayr, we met, To live one day of parting love! Eternity will not efface
This short section is a walk along riverside paths, woodland wynds, wooden walkways, fenced and mown farmland tracks, un-named and little used tarmac, quiet residential streets and unpleasantly busy B-roads; over bridges of metal, of wood and of stone; beneath viaducts for road and rail; through deciduous woods and conifer, by hedgerows of soft and sharp branches, with colours of summer and autumn; past waymarkers, ambiguous signposts and places calling out for signage.