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Kilometre 40 (Mile 25) Harborough Rocks
100 metres along the road towards the Hoben Industrial Minerals works there is a stile and a footpath (the finger post simply says Public Footpath) that leads to the Harborough Rocks (SK 242 553). These rocks are about 300 metres away from the road and behind the works. The footpath goes to the right hand side of the works.
The Harborough Rocks and Rainster Rocks (see later) are geologically interesting. Most of the Peak District south of Castleton is made up of carboniferous limestone. Due to the whiteness of the limestone, this area is also known as the White Peak. About 350 million years ago, this area was a shallow lagoon near to the equator. What was then a coral reef has been changed over the eons, by heat and pressure, to the rock known as limestone. Some of the coral reef underwent a slightly different process to produce the rock Dolomite. Rainster and Harborough Rocks are dolomite and are quite distinctive from the abundant carboniferous limestone. The Harborough Rocks are popular with rock climbers.
Continue along the road. In 1.4 kilometres (0.9 miles), turn left at the T-junction, signposted to Brassington, Kniveton and Ashbourne. Brassington is entered in 300 metres.
Kilometre 42 (Mile 26) Brassington
Derbyshire has many attractive hill villages, and Brassington is no exception.
In Brassington turn right signposted to Bradbourne and Ballidon. In 100 metres turn right at the T junction by the Miner's Arms, which is directly in front.
On the right is a compact little church with a tower.
Continue along this road for 800 metres (0.5 miles), then turn right signposted to Ballidon.
The road rises steeply for a few hundred metres.
Kilometre 43 (Mile 27) Rainster Rocks
From the top of the rise the Rainster Rocks (SK 222 548) can be seen 400 metres directly ahead. These were formed in the same way as the previously mentioned Harborough Rocks. There is a small area on the left where cars have stopped before to admire the view. Rainster Rocks are a better example than Harborough Rocks as Rainster are more angular and jagged, and from the picturesque point of view, they do not have a factory in front of them.
Access to the rocks is via a bridle way which is right on the corner of the left hand bend in front of the pull off.
Go round the sharp left hand bend and continue along this road for 1.1 kilometres (0.7 miles) when the B5056 is met. At this T-junction with a STOP sign, turn left towards Ashbourne on the B5056 (A515).
The B5056 starts to go through quite a nice little gorge for 300 metres when it opens out into more undulating countryside.
1.1 kilometres (0.7 miles) later, the towered church at Bradbourne, which is not on the route, can been seen on a mound to the left. 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles) later, the stream on the right is called Bradbourne Brook. It runs alongside the road all the way to the junction with the A515 in 3.4 kilometres (2.1 miles) time.
Kilometre 51 (Mile 32) Fenny Bently
At the junction is the Bentley Brook which is a good food and watering hole. Fenny Bentley to the right has a population of about 130, a church, a pub, a hotel, and 3 camp sites. Nothing unusual about that, but what is unusual is that the small village of Fenny Bentley boasts two breweries!
One brewery is behind the hotel and is called Leatherbritches. Its beer can be found in the Bently Brook Hotel and holds a beer festival in May. The other brewery is at Ashes Farm. Its beer is called Black Bull and can be sampled at the Coach and Horses public house in the village. This is where the brewer drinks and with Black Bull at around 20% less than other beers, it proves very popular. The Black Bull brewery also brews a unique beer for the Royal Oak in Wetton. The brew is called Ankle Cracker in honour of the foot wrestling that takes place in Wetton.
Turn left to travel South for 3 km (2 miles) on the A515 to Ashbourne.
In 500 metres, by the roadside is one of the millstones which mark the Peak National Park boundary. We are now leaving the Park for a while, and if the Tourist Ordnance Survey map is being used, we have just dropped off of the bottom of it.
Kilometre 54 (Mile 34) Ashbourne
After coming down a gradient of 1 in 7, the centre of Ashbourne is reached. It has a traffic management system around its centre and car parks are well signposted. Follow the ALL THROUGH TRAFFIC signs to circumnavigate Ashbourne's centre and to find the car parks.
Ashbourne is another attractive market town with market days on Thursdays and Saturdays. Half day closing is on Wednesday. There are several quality shops (such as John Brocklehurst the men's outfitters) and a good selection of public houses and eating places.
On shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, the traditional Ashbourne Ball game is played. This is a form of Medieval street football which is played by most of the town's inhabitants. There are two teams, the 'up'ards and the 'down'ards. To qualify to play for a particular team depends solely on which side of the Henmore Brook the player was born on. This results in the teams being several hundred strong on each side! The game is played from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the goal posts are 3 miles apart!
The teams have featured on the BBC TV program They Think It's All Over as the mystery sports person(s)!
At Christmas, shops open late in the evening and a Victorian atmosphere is created by staff dressing in Victorian costumes and the many street entertainers.
The Tissington Trail ends about 800 metres from the centre of Ashbourne. At this point there is a Cycle hire centre. To get to the Cycle hire centre, which is not on the route, follow the signs for Buxton - A515. After the left turn that takes you out of Ashbourne follow the signs for Mapleton. These will take you along Union Street and onto Mapleton Road. The cycle hire centre is 350 metres on the right. In 2001, the cost of a mountain bike is £3/hour, £7 for 3 hours or £10 for the day. You will need a £20 deposit PLUS proof of identity and address. The telephone number is 01335 343 156.
Leave Ashbourne, heading West on the A52 (signposted to Stoke on Trent).
Ashbourne has a very impressive 65 metre (212 foot) octagonal spire to its St Oswald's church which is about 1 kilometre (0.7 miles) from its centre on the A52.
The Ashbourne end entrance to the church's grounds consists of four square stone pillars and iron gates. On the top of each of the square pillars are four stone skulls which support the pyramidal coping stone. There are some fascinating grave stones outside, and the interior is also very interesting.
1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles) after Saint Oswald's church follow the A52 round to the right. 300 metres later as the road goes uphill, turn right, signposted towards Okeover, Mapleton, and Ilam.
After 1.3 kilometres (0.8 miles), the road goes over a cattle grid and the scenery changes to parkland. On the right is the River Dove, and from time to time on the left the soil can be seen to be a very deep red. In the distance to the left is Okeover Church, which is adjacent to Okeover Hall. Just before the second cattle grid is reached, ridge and furrows are visible on the right. These are the remnants of an old method of agriculture. At the T junction, the building directly in front is an old mill.
At this T junction, turn right signposted to Mapleton.
The road goes over the humpback bridge over the River Dove.
In 100 metres, at the next T junction, turn left signposted towards Thorpe and Dove Dale.
At the next T junction turn left; there is no signpost at this junction, and then stop just before the millstone grit, park boundary stone.
This is a very good photographic stop because there is the millstone which says Peak District National Park, several dry stone walls, and the pyramidal hill known as Thorpe Cloud. We are now re-entering the Park, and if the Tourist Ordnance Survey map is being used, we have just reappeared on its bottom edge at SK 164 488.
Continue along this road for another 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) then turn left at the Dog and Partridge public house, signposted to Thorpe, Dove Dale and Ilam.
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Well that's the legal stuff sorted.
Should you decline to comply with this warning, a leather winged demon of the night will soar from the deep malevolent caverns of the white peak into the shadowy moonlit sky and, with a thirst for blood on its salivating fangs, search the very threads of time for the throbbing of your heartbeat. Just thought you'd want to know that.