Historical walk 13th Nov 2016

22 members gathered at Hollin Bank car park on a beautiful morning and under the expert guidance of Bill Gordon, warden for the North Lees estate, we were soon engrossed in the first of many historical features, this being the ‘cut and cover’ water supply channel for North Lees Hall. We descended through woodland, passing the remains of Romano-British boundary walls and ancient enclosures, with Bill all the while pointing out features in the landscape and identifying our position on ancient maps. We arrived at the Grade 1 listed North Lees Hall, and were privileged to be shown inside. We climbed the spiral staircase to the top of the tower and admired the view and late autumn colours in warm sunshine.
After an external inspection of the adjacent cruck barn we made our way to the Chapel of the Holy Trinity and Holy Trinity Well, then descended to the Paper Mill Dam for lunch. It was difficult to imagine over 700 tons of paper being produced weekly from this site for transportation to Sheffield.
Greens Farm, the Limekiln and the site of the Raddle Inn were next visited, before we crossed the road at Dennis Knoll to make our way to the enormous Buck Stone. Perhaps used as a shepherd’s shelter, and a site of early religious significance, we were introduced to the first of many ‘apotropaic’ symbols to be seen en-route. We joined the ancient Causeyway and quarryman’s path onto Stanage and followed the edge to join the sled path for our descent to the plantation, which contains species of trees not native to the area, raising the question ‘who planted them and why?’ Our final ‘discovery’ was the almost secret location of the Resolution Stone and plaque to the Woodcraft Folk, a relatively recent addition to this ancient landscape.
Although familiar ground to us all, Bill’s expert knowledge provided an insight into how this landscape has evolved over many centuries, and revealed features which we would perhaps never otherwise discover.
A good day out, and thanks to all for your support.
Sean.
NB. ‘Apotropaic’ – from the Greek ‘apotrepein’ – to ward off. From apo (away) and trepein (to turn).

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