|Visited 7th March 2015
With Spring seemingly having arrived the pull of getting out and about to visit some megaliths proved irresistible. Even better was the fact that Five Wells was somewhere I’d never been before. Not sure why it had taken me so long to visit, I’ve been coming to the peaks for the last twenty years, but perhaps Mr Cope’s terse directions of ‘requires an OS map’ in the big papery TMA had put me off in the past, possibly expecting the requirement of advanced navigation skills, or at the very least somewhere safe to leave the car. Today I’m armed with Andrew Johnstone’s terrific ‘Prehistoric Peak’ book, and its detailed directions and map make finding the place a piece of cake.
Traveling east on the A6 towards Ashton in the Water, a right turn into a lane (opposite the sign for Beech Croft Lane Caravan Park, if you get to the brown sign for Tideswell you’ve gone too far!) takes you to the Taddington recycling centre, which although operational is now fortunately nice and tidy, rather than the open sore of a landfill described in much earlier fieldnotes. Here it’s easy to park right by the start of the footpath which leads up to the hill to the chambered tomb.
It’s an impressive place, another of those hidden delights of the Peak District, and I berate myself for not visiting it before. High on its hill the substantial remains of the mound which once covered the tomb spreads out around the two chambers which remain, still giving a good impression of the circumference of the tomb in its pomp. The craggy grey stones of the uprights looking suitably time worn and ancient, nevertheless provide an excellent shelter, as I sit within the surprisingly comfortable eastern chamber to write some fieldnotes.
The construction of this place reminds me of a smaller scale Bridestones, perhaps due to the portal stones flanking the chamber, although the setting at Five Wells is much more open and airy.
As the wind feels its way around the outside of the chamber providing a soothing soundtrack, I remain snug inside with a thermos of coffee, and feel a real sense of peace and tranquility. A skylark hovering overhead serenades me, and there is something about this place, nicely situated away from it all, that seems to encourage a sense of introspection, and a feeling of being at one with the elements (or perhaps it just my old hippy sensibilities coming to the fore). It’s certainly helped by the fine blue skies today and an actual touch of warmth from the sun when out of the wind.
Views from up here are lovely, although the quarry to the north is still a bit of a blot on the landscape, but it’s nice to see that after reading the early fieldnotes about this place, how the surrounding environment and access has improved, and somewhere as special as this really deserves it.
There’s a real sense of the quickening of Spring today and of life returning to the land, and there's no better place to experience it than at Five Wells.
Posted by Ravenfeather
8th March 2015ce
Edited 8th March 2015ce