The main final walk of the year with RamSoc was to the beautiful countryside of Matlock. The sun was shining through my window as I got ready and I was feeling optimistic. This would be one walk where I did not start out in my waterproof, dreading the weather which we would face when we entered the Peak District. I was hoping for a lovely day, warm weather and a pleasant walk.

On the coach, I read through the walks sheet and tried to decide which walk to go on. Walking by the River Derwent and through Wensley Dale; seeing the Nine Ladies Stone Circle and Snitterton Hall; going on Shinning Cliff or seeing Riber Castle. I chose to go a route which explored Coumbs Woods, headed up to Lumsdale and the mill ponds and going by Riber Castle before walking into Matlock. This sounded like it would be more interesting and the description of multiple ascents as a pose to multiple steep ascents was also appealing.

There were masses of beautiful bluebells throughout Coumbs Woods; I had not expected to see so many. They were very impressive and made the landscape even more colourful and vibrant than it naturally was. The sunlight shone on them which made them seem brighter and prettier. The walk through the woods itself was nice but very steep in places. I don’t think I have ever seen so many steep ascents and descents so close together! The woods also offered protection from the sun which was becoming quite powerful and it was relaxing in there.

The funny point of the walk came with the sheep, well actually a sheep and a lamb, who blocked the stile we wanted to climb over. It took ingenuity and common sense to keep out the way and ensure that the sheep moved away from the stile so we could get passed. The lamb was still relatively small and looked very adorable.

Later on in the walk we reached some mill ponds which had been used to power the textile mills in the area during the industrial revolution and beyond. It was very interesting to see this part of history in the midst of woodland and hills. We were hoping to see a waterfall in this area but it turned out to be further than expected so we did not get to see it. We were able to see Riber Castle though which did actually look like a castle. Ever since realising that Nottingham Castle is actually a grand house because the original castle had burnt down has made me more sceptical about what something named a castle will look like.

When we arrived in Matlock we walked through a lovely park. It was great to see little children paddling in a specially designed paddling pool and wet area whilst other people were boating on a small lake or having a ride on a model train. At the edge of the park we all stopped for ice cream as it was quite hot by then and it seemed a shame to go and sit in the pub which is a sort of tradition at the end of RamSoc walks. Sitting and talking and relaxing in the sun, waiting to head back to the coach and home at the scheduled time, was fun and made a perfect end to a walk.

I will definitely be going on some more walks with RamSoc in the next university year and over the summer I will be doing more walking around the area where I live, if there is time between working and getting started on my third year of university (the dissertation!).


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