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Nine Ladies

A fine spring day walk from Elton, past Birchover, around Stanton Moor, and back skirting Winster. All this, and the Nine Ladies stone circle, the King Stone and a tower commemorating the Great Reform Act of 1832!

We parked on the roadside in Elton village, located in the hills to the west of Darley Dale.
To the east of the village we joined the Limestone Way as it heads north along Dudwood Lane.
Before we reached the end of the lane we picked up a short footpath on the right that took us down to the B5056, which we crossed and headed uphill, and before we turned towards Birchover to our west we looked back across the valley and admired the rock outcrops of Robin Hood's Stride and Cratcliff Tor, with it's Hermit Cave. Somewhere to visit another day.
On the western end of Birchover we came across Rowtor Rocks, but we didn't scramble amongst them, choosing instead to walk alongside them on the lane until we came to the Druid Inn. We then picked up a path through the trees along a ridge that skirted past Birchover, coming out on the Stanton road, which we followed for a few hundred metres before turning right and up an old cart track onto Stanton Moor.
As we came out of the trees we passed the Cork Stone, which has obviously been a popular climbing rock for some time, judging by the foot holds carved into it, and the more modern steel rings.
We headed north along the Moor's eastern edge, skirting old quarries, before looping back at the top end and coming back south to the Nine Ladies stone circle. Legend has it that nine ladies were dancing on the Sabbath and, along with their fiddler, were turned to stone as a result. There are actually ten stones, nine standing, one flat, plus the 'fiddler', the un-regal looking King Stone 40m away.
After a short Bovril break at the stones, we headed east to the edge of the moor, and the Great Reform Act of 1832 commemorative tower, long since bricked up, but in a dominant position overlooking the valley below.
We then followed the moor edge south admiring the view before coming off the moor and heading downhill and passing through Barn Farm before heading off cross-country towards Winster.
A couple of hundred metres shy of Winster though, we veered off to the right, passed by the side of Winster Cemetery and onto the old byway that forms the entrance drive to Westhill Farm, before picking up the Limestone Way again and returning to where we had parked.

Date Walked: 28Apr14
Distance: 6.9 miles
Time: 3h16m
Ascent: 1037'
Descent: 1074'

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Points to note