Alport Castles

Walked -11th March 2012.  Distance 10 miles (16km). Total ascent 2368 ft (722m). Time taken  4 hours 45 minutes.

Route taken: Fairholmes car park-Lockerbrook Farm- Alport Castles- The Tower-Alport Farm-Snake Pass-Upper Ashop-Blackley Clough-Hagg Farm- Lockerbrook Farm-Fairholme car park

My jet lag from my recent trip to the West side of the USA coupled with 3 nights of interrupted sleep when I got home courtesy of my eldest son’s new Labrador pup meant that I have been feeling a bit jaded to say the least. Bramble as we call her howled through most of the first three nights.  So I decided to take it easy and do a short 10 mile day trip in the Peaks.

I parked up at Fairholmes car park, before the crowds arrived, surprisingly I saw very few people all day, with most I think happy to meander around the reservoirs near the car park.  It was a beautiful warm early spring day as I left the car park making my way up through a Beech wood and then a conifer plantation cloaking the hillside running down to Ladybower Reservoir.

The plantation is being gradually felled and the warm sunshine streamed into the clearings allowing glimpses of the surrounding landscape.

Clearing the forest I walked along the track towards Lockerbrook Outdoor Centre, and then up onto the moors following the easy track towards Alport Castles.

Whilst the sun shone brightly, there was a cool northerly breeze on the tops which justified wearing my Paramo 3rd element jacket with the sleeves removed and my Cioch trousers. When it was warm in the valleys and forest I could easily vent these trousers to keep cool.

I arrived at Alport Castles in time for an early lunch.  This has got to be one of the gems of the Peak National Park and almost looks as if it belongs to the Western United States rather than Derbyshire, a fantastic place to spend time just sitting and staring at the view.

After a leisurely lunch I made my way down towards the River Alport in the valley, crossing the river via a footbridge near Alport Farm.

I passed Alport Farm and made my way down the access road turning left at the bottom onto a short stretch of footpath to emerge on the busy A57.  Crossing the road quickly to avoid being mown down by the motorbikes that race along this road I dropped down the river and crossed using the shallow ford.

The track beyond led me to following a culvert until I reached Blackley Clough where I crossed the A57 again and headed up a very rough  bridle path near to Haggs Farm Environmental Centre.  After  shutting the gate to this track, I had to jump up on to a high bank next to the track as two mountain bikers narrowly missed me as the came down the track at break neck speed.  Despite nearly running me over there was scant recognition of the fact.  I have increasingly found of late the dangers of walking in some areas of the country  by a certain element of the mountain biking community, who seem neither to care or do not recognise other users when out biking.

The steep rough track emerges near to the Lockerbrook Activity Centre and from there I walked back through the forest to the car park at Fairholmes.

An enjoyable walk through some beautiful scenery, for large sections of the walk I saw no-one, quite surprising considering how popular the area is.

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22 Responses to Alport Castles

  1. Good post, Mark – worth waiting for 🙂

    Recently I’ve been catching up on bits of the Peak that I don’t know, and now here’s another! Ah well, it can go on the ‘to do’ list with the rest!

  2. An excellent part of the Peaks, one of my favourite valleys the Alport. Looks like you picked a good day to get out.

  3. What a super looking day – blue sky and everything! It is a wonder you didn’t see loads of people over there.
    Mountain bikes…we were nearly mown down a couple of months ago on Lantern Pike. I was so cross, I shouted and swore at the guy (which is actually very unlike me), but didn’t get an aknowledgement of any sort. It’s a wonder our lab wasn’t sideswiped by him and seriously hurt. And talking of labs, how about a photo or two of Bramble?!

  4. surfnslide says:

    The Peak is a wonderful place for a walk in the spring sunshine, some lovely spots just to sit on the grass by a stream and chill out. See what you mean about Alport Castles and the US West. In that spring light it could be a desert Mesa!

    Most of the Mountain Bikers I come across in the Brecons are courteous and friendly but sadly there are always a few rude an inconsiderate people in the saddle and out when out in the hills these days. Young people today!

    • Andy you are absolutely right about the desert Mesa. I used to go mountain biking in the Brecon Beacons with my wife, years ago when we lived near Bath but I was always careful about walkers. Most bikers are fine but a few are rather inconsiderate.

  5. backpackingbongos says:

    Boo my comment I left late last night looks like it did not work!

    • Yes sorry about that James. Something a bit odd with WordPress on my site. It asked me to approve your comment. Which only happens when someone comments for the first time – which is not the case for regular like your good self.

  6. GeoffC says:

    That photo of Alport Castles stands out really well, far better than we ever obtained, probably because we have never ascended/descended at that point, we always passed it on the ridge route above.
    I think the Peak Rangers occasionally have days out nabbing mountain bikers on footpaths, but those were on a bridleway, still having had a few near misses I know what you mean.

    • Thanks Geoff. I see a number of mountain bikers on footpaths and obviously they have the right to be on bridleways and green lanes. However going down a twisty bridleway with blind bends at break neck speed is going to end in disaster sooner or later !

  7. -maria- says:

    You have had a lovely day out, Mark! The weather looks perfect.

  8. PhilR says:

    Looks like a stunning day out, great pictures. An area I’m not familiar with but having seen it I now want to go.

    • Hi Phil, thanks for stopping by. The Peak District is not too far for me and full of great walks and scenery considering it is so close to Sheffield and Manchester. I will have a wander over to your blog when I have a moment.

  9. Pingback: #70 – Castles in the Sky (Alport Castles near Ladybower) | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  10. lee954 says:

    Some lovely photos of an area I haven’t visited for a long time.

  11. lee954 says:

    Some lovely photos of a part of the Peak District I haven’t visited for a long time.

  12. G says:

    Just walked this today – from the head of the valley – stunning weather like you, but your photos are superb compared to mine. But,bar some friendly bikers, this is a very quiet but gently challenging route. Thanks again for your fantastic shots.


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