|Visited 11th May 2012
I'd had my eye on Minninglow Hill for some time, quite literally as I kept noticing its distinctive profile on recent visits to the Peak District. So with the rare combination of a day off work, combined with a rare burst of reasonable (or at least dry) weather it felt like time to make the trip.
I wasn't sure what access would be like now, and as Ellen tends to get a bit twitchy at the thought of having to trespass I thought the best approach would be via the Midshires Way footpath. We travelled up past Ashbourne, as if heading to Arbor Low, but turned off beforehand onto the A5012 road to Cromford. A couple of miles along this road at the village of Pikehall, a right turn is signposted to a parking spot on the edge of the village where the footpath can be picked up.
At the pleasantly large parking area and picnic spot, the tree topped hill of Minninglow was clearly visible. Setting off along the footpath which ran along the site of an old disused railway line, the open countryside, with Minninglow looming ever larger in front of us, looked green and inviting, and so nice to be here after weeks of grey drizzle making life in town seem even duller than usual.
After crossing a high viaduct, and heading through into the remains of a small quarried area, I was more than pleasantly surprised to see a clearly way marked path up the hill. The signage and gates up the path looked fairly new and substantial, and gave no indication that the concessionary path was likely to be closed any time soon.
So safe in the knowlege that access was not going to be an issue we started walking up the hill. The rocky outcrops and large stones on the upper reaches of the slopes reminded me of the remains of ancient ramparts, and with only the stares of curious sheep for company we entered the gate into the tree enclolsed hill.
Two large megalithic barrows spring immediately into view, huge capstones exposed and showing the size this barrow would once have been. Although reduced in size over the millenia when you stand atop the embankment crowning the hill and look around you get an idea of the huge scale of this burial mound.
You feel so enclosed and sheltered here, the outer circle of trees screening you from the outside world, whilst an inner semi-circle of beeches huddles protectivly around the chambers. We unpacked our picnic and basked in the weak sun, just enjoying the magical atmosphere of the place, and as we eat we spot a hare darting from the cover of the trees into the field beyond.
Soon the cold wind starts to buffet at us and dark clouds glower in from the peaks making it too cold to sit around for much longer. But as other posts have said Minninglow is a fantastic place, and so private, we saw several groups of walkers on the footpath below the hill, but none seemed keen to go slightly out of their way to visit this amazing place, although I suppose that makes it quieter for those of us who like to just come to ancient places to chill out!
It may have taken me years to get around to visiting Minniglow but now I have I'll certainly be back!
Posted by Ravenfeather
5th June 2012ce