A Whitle Walk

On Good Friday, some of the Peeling Back members enjoyed the spring sunshine in the lovely Dove Valley, walking from the farm at Under Whitle to “The Packhorse Inn” for lunch.

The group before setting off
The group before setting off

Down Marty Lane, on an ancient, we passed Broadmeadow Hall, a large manor house dating back to Tudor times.

Broadmeadow Hall
Broadmeadow Hall

We then walked downriver to explore Pilsbury Castle, which was built by Henry de Ferrers in the C11th as a statement saying “Here we are, us Normans, get on with it!”. Pilsbury Castle was never rebuilt in stone, as was Peveril’s Castle in Castleton, and today is owned by The National Park to safeguard its integrity as a rare example of a motte and bailey earthwork Norman castle. Would it have been possible that someone living in a timber house on the house platform where we found the charcoal (dating the site to 1350ish) looked towards Pilsbury Castle and wondered what was going on?

Standing on the remains of Pilsbury Castle
Standing on the remains of Pilsbury Castle

Turning upriver, we followed the Dove where Simon pointed out the remains of wide medieval ridge and furrow ploughing in the field beside the path, especially interesting as it still showed the headland at the top of the field. This was a raised area where soil from the plough was left as the team of eight oxen were turned around before continuing in the opposite direction.

At “The Packhorse”, Mick made us very welcome and, after lunch, we walked back to the farm, over the Dove by the stepping stones where Simon pointed out a series of strip lynchets “cultivation terraces” on the hillside.

at the Packhorse Inn Crowdecote
At the Packhorse Inn Crowdecote. Has Eric just told a rude joke?

Sitting round the table in Elspeth’s kitchen, where we had held so many planning meetings for the Project, we drank more tea, and cut into a traditional Easter Simnel cake.

Margaret and Eric

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