Cressbrook Dale Coach Trip 12th May 2018

On a sunny May day 28 members of Rochdale Field Naturalists set off on a visit to Derbyshire. Our walk took in parts of Tansley Dale, Cressbrook Dale and Millers Dale. These dales are in the “White Peak” where the underlying geology is limestone, noted for its diversity of flowering species.

We alighted from the coach at Litton Village and began our walk along a country lane lined with Cow Parsley and Ground Ivy. We soon found the footpath leading down Tansley Dale.  This section of the walk took us down a steep sided valley with rocky outcrops and our wild flower enthusiasts were soon busy consulting their flora guides. Among the flowers here were Spring Sandwort, Cowslip, Early Purple Orchid and Heath Dog Violet. On reaching the bottom of this steep section we entered the open grassy valley of Cressbrook Dale. Here we had lunch where Meadow Saxifrage was flowering and a number of Butterflies were seen: Orange Tip and Green Hairstreak; the latter one we rarely see.

Walking on following a stream, the sides of which were blanketed with Wild Garlic, Wood Anemone and Goldilocks Buttercup, we entered some open woodland which was carpeted with Blue Bells, also there were great rafts of Water Avens with its delicate bell-shaped flowers in subtle shades of pinkish purple.

Passing Ravensdale Cottages we then gained a road which led us down to Millers Dale. Here, the steep banks held some stately clumps of Hard Shield Ferns and the rocky walls held Common Polypody, Wall Rue and Maidenhair Spleenwort, altogether we saw 10 species of fern

Our next section of the route took us past a pool where Water Mint was in profusion and then along the River Wye for about a mile. Here some members spotted 3 colourful Mandarin Ducks and trout in the river. Not so many flowers along here but we did see Pendulous Sedge, Marsh Marigold, Bugle and Golden Saxifrage.  Altogether over 60 species of wild flowers were noted.

40 Species of Bird were spotted or heard over the day including Sparrow Hawk, Wood Warbler and Tree Creeper

After traversing the final footpath following a stream across meadows, 28 tired Members met our coach at a car park in Tideswell Dale. All enjoyed the trip which was exactly 6 years, to the day, since we did it before.

Sheila Carr