In October last year Michael kindly allowed me to scan his wonderful collection of old Goyt Valley postcards. One in particular caught my eye. It wasn’t the most picturesque scene, but it set me wondering where it had been taken.
I did wonder whether it was a path that had long been lost. One that Strephon mentioned when describing a walk he made to Errwood Hall in 1880: “A footpath on the right high above the carriage-way. It is a lovers’ walk; a deep-green wooded way made for Phillida and Corydon“.
It was James who thought the old postcard might show the path which today runs from the ruins of Errwood Hall up to the car park. At the point it divides from the lane which once led down to Goyt’s Bridge (which has now been lost). And it seems he was completely right.
I took a photo a couple of days ago at the same position, and the angles of the slopes match exactly. I’ve created the fade below showing both the old and new views. Simply click either button to fade between the two, or drag the green slider.
The larger lane that runs down the slope to the left is now completely overgrown. It vanishes into the waters of Shooter’s Clough, and then under the modern bridge and into the depths of the reservoir.
This was the main route the Grimshawe family would have taken travelling to and from their fine country house, Errwood Hall. And it’s still possible to see traces of it from the bridge when the water level drops.
Today the smaller path rising up the slope to the right takes visitors to the car park beside Errwood Reservoir. At its highest point, the path winds around to the right, along a picturesque, tree-lined section which drops down to the River Goyt, heading past Goytsclough Quarry and the paint mills towards Derbyshire Bridge. (Walk 1 follows this path.)
I’m sure this path must be Strephon’s lovers’ walk. It perhaps doesn’t look very romantic on a damp and misty morning in early April. But when the leaves are out, the rhododendrons in full bloom and the birds in song, it can be a very beautiful walk. Especially as it slopes down towards the Goyt. So perhaps this is one more Goyt Valley mystery solved!