Good Friday dawned with the unseasonally good weather continuing. It was more like an August bank holiday. With no plans we discussed what to do for the day. I tentatively
suggested a No Car day. After so many years spent in a car on bank holidays seeking to somehow overturn the obvious truth of traffic jams and overcrowding in order to go
somewhere pretty and relaxing, we decide to make the most of what is on our own doorstep and finally accept that the grass isn’t always greener.
The plan was to take a scenic country walk to Hayfield, enjoy a leisurely lunch and a
drink or two and then take the hourly bus back to Marple and from there find our way home via wherever and whatever.
Around 11.30 we set off, suitably attired and carrying the essentials in a man bag. The route took us up to the summit of Moor End road where fantastic views of the Kinder
plateau and the Sett Valley with the outskirts of New Mills, nestling in the foothills of the Peak District, were spread out like a picnic blanket before us, then a long
descent of Briargrove road, through a tunnel of trees coming into fresh leaf, embroidered by birdsong. New lambs filled the fields bordered by Hawthorn, Wild Cherry and Apple
all in bloom.
The path sidestepped Thornsett and reached the Sett valley trail , once the railway from New Mills to Hayfield, is now easy walking through trees and flowers, terminating at the Hayfield Bus terminus in what was once the station. In an hour and a half we had seen around half a dozen cars and even fewer people. Hope you all enjoyed the bypass!
A wander around the village, admiring the Church and inspecting what the four pubs could offer for lunch, we settled on The Pack Horse, attracted by it’s stylish terrace and a distant recall of someone’s recommendation.
We were not disappointed. Service was friendly and efficient as my pint of Wincle brewery pale ale and an Orange and soda were promptly brought. Two menus and additional specials were on offer but we chose from the bar menu. I went for the Ploughman’s Lunch. OH settled on the Pack Horse Salad: a selection of healthy seasonal fruit and salads with light lime water dressing and poached chicken.
Sometimes a menu promises much and you wish the quality of the prose matched the food provided and on the odd occasion, the reverse is true , and the food exceeds the description. The Pack Horse falls into the latter category.
The Pack Horse is somewhere we will definitely return to to try their dinner menu. To their further credit, the owners and staff seem to be making a real success of a pub owned by Enterprise Inns. So it can be done – anyone want to try The Oddfellows?
A post lunch pint in the Royal Hotel of Buxton IPA was served with a free cabaret of the way certain people enjoy a bank holiday. The star turn was the middle aged couple who thought it acceptable to bring their take away fish and chips to consume on the Royal’s outside tables where other guests were foolishly paying over the odds for the pub’s own food. They were soon seen off and finished their chips and lager skulking behind a van in the car park.
After another stroll round the village in the sun, we made our way to the bus station to catch the bus back to Marple, and from Marple we walked down to Marple Bridge and The
Royal Scot for a refreshing pint of Robinsons Ginger Tom and the opportunity to call a taxi to take us home and complete our outing.