Derbyshire is crisscrossed with a network of pathways. It is a network that started in Neolithic times. Iron and bronze age man plus Roman invaders trekked these paths and generations continued to do so down through the ages. Many of these tracks became known as The Salters Way as they carved there way over moor, through forests and across rivers. For centuries Pack Horse convoys transport Salt (always a valuable commodity) from the Salt Mines and Quarries of Cheshire across the Pennines to all parts of the country, returning with merchandise for merchants in the north.
To-day these tracks are still well defined and no less important to many of us who love to trek across the countryside. Even so there was a time when these paths were in danger of being lost, not through neglect but by wealthy landowners acquiring large estates and then restricting access to the populace. But thanks to a network of determined individuals our right to roam was protected and footpaths preserved.
Salters Way, Goyt Valley
One such track is this one that crosses over the Derbyshire Moors across the Goyt Valley and on into Cheshire.
Following these tracks can still lead to interesting discoveries. Look at the picture above, the track heads up through the woodlands at the head of the valley and up over the hills beyond. Just as you leave the woodland and start on the last accent you will surprised when you stumble across this interesting little Chapel.
It is not really a Chapel as such but a Shrine to a very special Spanish lady, a Miss Delores. She was once the Companion to a Mrs Grimshawe and governess to her children. They lived in Errwood Hall which once stood deeper down in the valley, apart from a few foundations the Hall is no longer in existence.
In historical terms the Shrine is not that old, built in 1889 (or there abouts). But it is still well maintained. I have passed this way many times, over many years and in all seasons and with out fail the interior is swept clean, the little memorial within dressed with fresh (often wild) flowers…YET it is miles from anywhere so must have some very dedicated followers.
For any walker, hiking is to commune with nature, the landscape and the wildlife and all do take time to absorb the ambience….here at Errwood Chapel you can pass a few more moments in quiet contemplation.
If it had been built much earlier there is no doubting that it would have been of comfort to the weary ‘Salters’ as they carried their loads back and forth.