Not everybody wants to head up to the highest hills when they go out for a walk at the weekend or on one of our wonderful summer evenings. In my new guide to the best things to do in the Peak District throughout the year, I’ve mixed up some of the more challenging routes with some of the easiest. But they all have one thing in common – they’re a rewarding adventure!
There are five walks for each season in Year Round Walks in the Peak District, and we’re well and truly into the ones that make spring extra special. In a previous blog, I described the benefits of heading to Hayfield for the bluebells. Here, I’m suggesting a day at Langsett Reservoir to enjoy the smell of fresh pine and see the ferns emerging on the moorland. It’s largely on the level, save for a small climb to sample the peaty moors. On a warm day, it’s a delight to feel the breeze from the water. And if the rain should come, the trees offer some shelter. It’s ideal for stretching you legs in spring.
There’s also some Tour de France nostalgia to get immersed in. When the opening stages of the Tour de France were held in Yorkshire during the summer of 2014, few would have thought the legacy would be so long-lasting and profound. They were a very special couple of days in these parts of Yorkshire, with thousands of people lining the streets before the best long-distance cyclists in the world hurtled by at break-neck speed. Langsett featured on Day 2 – the final day in Yorkshire before the event moved to London, and then France. The cyclists hurried down the A616, turning off near here at Midhope before going over the hills to Bradfield and finishing off in Sheffield city centre. Years later, the villages in these parts are still immensely proud of their involvement on that fabulous, busy day, when festivals were held every few miles along the route and a significant number of families gained a lust for cycling that still endures. As you drive along the route it’s possible to see some of the words of encouragement painted onto the road, and the trademark yellow bikes are still visible, maintained. At Langsett, look out for the sign at the bar of the pub featuring a crest made up of different Tour de France jerseys. The most prominent feature for miles around, though, is Bank View Café on the main road close to the starting point. To celebrate the biking event, the café was painted white and covered with red spots to match the “King of the Mountains” jersey given to the rider who tackles the climbs triumphantly. It’s a very popular spot for cyclists to stop off at and have a break, including those not so great at getting up the demanding Peak District inclines.
Top Tips for a Langsett day out:
1: Make time for a stop in the cafe
2: Arrive early to ensure a car parking place near the start of the reservoir walk
3: Bring a camera – there are amazing views from the moors and through the pine forest
4: Pack binoculars to check out the local bird life