Our August walk, led by Chris West and Mandy James, took us into the unchartered territory of Dale Abbey, which is a beautiful, small and peaceful, Derbyshire village of significant historical and religious interest, unknown and unexplored by most of us, even though it lies only half an hour away from Hucknall!
Setting off from the Carpenter’s Arms on a perfect summer’s day, we headed first across fields to the Hermit’s Cave which, back in the early 1100’s, became the first dwelling in the then wild and marshy area, the hermit, (previously a baker from Derby), digging out and settling in the cave after a religious experience urged him to live a life of devotion there.
We then left the woods and continued along footpaths through fields and the privately owned Locko Park Estate, where we enjoyed our coffee break, sitting by the pretty lake. We then headed along gently undulating paths across fields and through woods until we reached the Stable View Café where we indulged in an ice cream break- a rare luxury on our walks but perfect for a warm summer’s day!
The last leg of the six mile walk saw us making the gradual descent through a pretty vale back down into the village where we were lucky enough to be given a guided tour of the Abbey remains, which date back to the 1200’s and are situated in a private garden, and then the tiny, ancient church, originally built by the aforementioned hermit who, after 20 years, was given a small income by a local landowner, impressed by his devotion.
Then, finally, a late lunch in the peaceful churchyard followed by a walk back through the village to the Carpenter’s Arms for drinks!