After having become aware of the Peak pilgrimage and purchased a book with its inspiring walks and photographs we decided it would be an excellent idea to incorporate it into our Monday walks.
We divided the route into six separate sections, the length of each being easily achievable in a day, visiting all the churches en route.
The first three days were made possible by utilising two cars, leaving one at each end of that particular days walk and using public transport for the final three. We have always appreciated the beautiful countryside, in which we live, but this was something special, so leaving home, we left our worldly worries behind us, determined to more fully appreciate God’s creation.
On the first day we left Ilam in the rain, having visited the Church of the Holy Cross, and walked the familiar path along the river Dove to the tiny Primitive Methodist Chapel in the hamlet of Milldale. After a short well-earned rest we continued, up the steep hill to our destination, St. Peter’s Church in Alstonfield.
At each church we visited we obtained a verse and a stamp for our Peak Pilgrimage book.
The following week we recommenced our Pilgrimage from Alstonfield to St. Giles’ Church, presiding over the village of Hartington, where we were particularly impressed with the match stick model of the Church and the beautifully embroidered pew runners. This day we ended our walk at Hartington Station, where we had left one of our cars.
On our third day we started from Hartington Station and followed the Tissington Trail to Sparklow, whilst admiring the huge abundance of beautiful wild flowers along the way. From Sparklow we followed footpaths to our destination, St. Leonard’s Church, in Monyash. From here on we were able to utilise local buses to the start and from the finish of each days walk, leaving our cars at home.
The next section of the Pilgrimage was from Monyash to Bakewell via Over Haddon, initially along the beautiful Lathkill Dale. St. Anne’s Church at Over Haddon was a revelation infusing both of us with a feeling of real peace and tranquillity, quite extraordinary!
Leaving Over Haddon we enjoyed the footpath to All Saints Church in Bakewell, as the sun was shining, the birds singing and it was essentially nearly all downhill!
From Bakewell the route took us to our much loved and familiar St. Anne’s Church in Baslow, via St. Peter’s in Edensor and Chatsworth Park.
The next and final section of the Pilgrimage was to St. Lawrence’s Church in Eyam. Knowing the area extremely well and having walked the Edges on many occasions we chose to take the shortest route to All Saints’ Church at Curbar before continuing to St. Martin’s Church in Stoney Middleton and onward to Eyam and journeys end.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our Pilgrimage over the six separate days throughout August and September. The weather was variable, but, as we walk in all weathers throughout the year it didn’t detract from our enjoyment of exercise and the beautiful countryside in which we are fortunate to live.
Angela Swindells & Tony Smurthwaite