Chee Dale

Chee Dale

from Wikipedia
Chee Dale is a steep-sided gorge on the River Wye near Buxton, Derbyshire, in the Peak District of England.

The Wye valley continues upstream towards Buxton as Wye Dale, while downstream are Miller’s Dale village and valley.

The dale has a protected nature reserve (close to the village of Wormhill), which is overseen by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. The reserve contains ash, yew and rock whitebeam woodland on the cliff sides and abundant wild flowers including cowslips, early purple orchids, rock rose and the rare Jacob’s ladder. Dippers are often seen darting low above the river and bobbing on rocks in the river. Other birds nesting in the valley include blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler. It is part of the Wye Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), running for 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of Buxton.

The Monsal Trail bridleway runs for 8.5 miles (13.7 km) from Topley Pike Junction (at the head of Chee Dale) to Rowsley near Bakewell, along the disused Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway line. It passes through Upper Chee Dale and then enters Chee Tor Tunnels 1 and 2 through to Miller’s Dale.

There is also a riverside footpath along the length of the dale with several wooden footbridges over the river. Sets of stepping stones allow walkers to pass the foot of the cliffs.

The crags of carboniferous limestone in Upper Chee Dale and of Chee Tor cliff in Lower Chee Dale have extensive rock climbing routes. These include the overhanging Cornice and Chee Tor. Chee Tor has the Chee Tor Girdle route, a 167-metre (548 ft) horizontal traverse 20 metres (66 ft) above the cliff base, first climbed in 1964 by Chris Jackson and J. Atkinson.

At the head of the dale, Great Rocks Dale enters from the north, at the former railway stations of Blackwell Mill and Chee Dale Halt. Great Rocks Dale is a dry valley and is the site of Tunstead Quarry, one of the largest limestone quarries in the UK.

The Pennine Bridleway crosses the River Wye over a footbridge at Blackwell Mill.

Access into the deep gorge is limited. Miller’s Dale car park is the obvious place for visitors to get into Chee Dale. At the west end of Chee Dale there is Topley Pike layby with limited parking by the A6 road. There is also a short steep footpath into Chee Dale from Wormhill.

from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
The majestic slopes and imposing crags of carboniferous limestone that form Chee Dale create a spectacular setting for a walk.

Allow plenty of time to explore this species-rich limestone dale. Among its many delights are the ash woodland, limestone grassland and an impressive 200ft deep gorge, all internationally important. The limestone grassland is bursting with colour all summer, from the cowslips and early purple orchids of May, through the delicately petalled rock rose and the spectacular bright blue spires of Jacob’s Ladder, to grass of Parnassus and sheets of scabious in August.

The dale’s ash woodlands have developed on the steep slopes and you will even notice some trees growing out of the cliff faces. Look for dark green yews and rock whitebeams with white undersides to their leaves. As you walk beside the river you may be lucky enough to see a dipper ‘bobbing’ on the rocks as it searches for food.

The woodland provides perfect perches for summer visitors like the spotted flycatcher to swoop for insects. Among other birds which nest here are blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler.