After a gloriously warm sunny day on Saturday, which unfortunately I couldn’t take full advantage of, yesterday turned out to be dull and grey but it was fine so in the afternoon I took the dogs out for a local walk. I didn’t want to go too far as Michael and I were going out for a meal so I stayed fairly close to home, driving just a mile or so up the road to where I started my walk. Parking the van in a convenient place just off the main road I went a couple of hundred yards further on to where a path led up into the old Wilton quarry, a place I hadn’t been to since I was in my mid teens.
The path led up between two hillsides and was extremely narrow and ankle-twistingly rocky with water running down the middle, but eventually it took me to a large open area with a fallen tree and the rock face in front of me. This was Wilton 1, the first of four quarries which were originally used to provide sandstone for local buildings and street flagstones; the quarries were abandoned some time during the 1930s to 40s and got very overgrown, but because of their steep sides are now used by various climbing clubs.
The highest section of the quarry was The Prow, a 2-sided promontory with an outside face of 60ft. One section of the path took me towards the inside face of it but the ground was so boggy underfoot I didn’t go very far before turning back; I may have been wearing wellies but I had no wish to get stuck in something I could find it difficult to get out of. Back on the main path it led me out of the far end of the quarry and diagonally across the hillside above the main road I’d just come from to Scout Road, a ‘B’ road which skirted the lower slopes of the moorland.
Scout Road is well known locally for having a really bad bend at the top of the hill; over the years several vehicles have come off the road there and landed somewhere down the hill or in the quarry, with people being seriously injured and even killed. As well as the crash barrier there’s now a speed sign but some people still take the bend at a rate of knots. Further along the road is a car park and on a clear day it’s possible to see beyond Manchester to the airport and even to the Jodrell Bank main telescope in Cheshire, which is the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world. I couldn’t see very far this time though as it was so grey and cloudy and it had also started to rain a bit by then. Close to the car park, and near to the start of the path which would eventually take me back to the van, a large area of daffodils was growing in one section of the field – a very colourful and welcome sight on such a grey day.
The path from the car park took me across fields and past an area of pine trees before heading towards a farm, and just before the farm gate I came across something which seemed to have no rhyme nor reason – a large pyramid-shaped stone surrounded by a circle of daffodils. It looked like a memorial stone but there was no plaque on it or near it to say what it was; I didn’t see anyone at the nearby farm who I could ask and an extensive internet search since then has produced nothing, so it will have to remain a mystery for now.
The path ended in a track which took me through part of the farm yard and up ahead a splash of pink colour caught my eye – it turned out to be a clump of hyacinths growing on top of the grass bank near a barn wall and they were such a pretty colour I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo. The end of the track opened out into a tarmac lane and a small hamlet of houses which were once farm buildings – I had a choice of left or right but as they both ended up back at the van I took the right as that was the shorter one, and my last photo of the day was of a white-walled cottage set back in what will, in summer, be a very pretty garden.
By the time I got back to the van it was raining properly so I was glad the walk hadn’t been any longer. It had been interesting going back to the old quarry after all this time and seeing it as it is now but the route through it had been very wet and sloppy underfoot, so if I do that one again it will definitely be on a dry sunny day.
I’m linking up again with Jo’s Monday Walk where this time she’s back in England and exploring the delights of Knaresborough – it looks like a very quirky and interesting place. Time to put the kettle on now and read about where all the other Monday walkers have been this week.