Combs Reservoir and Across Dickie's Meadow
Route type: Other
Total climb: 482.28 ft
Distance: 6.45km, 4.01 miles. Like (14)
**This is a sample Collins Short Walk- more can be downloaded on your iPhone, through your OutDoors App.** Distance (kms) 4.8km Minimum Time: 2hrs 30mins 'Ascent: 164ft Difficulty Level: 1 - Easy Paths: Can be muddy, quite a few stiles Landscape: Lakes, meadows, and high moors 'Dog Friendliness: Farmland - dogs should be kept on lead Parking: Combs reservoir car park Public Toilets: None en route Description: Combs lies in a quiet corner of north-west Derbyshire, off the road between Chapel-en-le-Frith and Whaley Bridge and beneath the sombre crag-fringed slopes of Combs Moss. This is a fine little corner of Derbyshire, tucked away from the crowds of Castleton and Hathersage. Combs Reservoir. The route starts by the west side of the dam on a narrow path between the lake and Meveril Brook. Red campion and thickets of dog rose line the path, which rounds the reservoir to its southern tip. You might see a pair of great crested grebes swimming among the rushes. Beyond the reservoir the path tucks under the railway, which brings to mind a mysterious story concerning Ned Dixon, who lived in nearby Tunstead Farm. Ned, or Dickie as he was known, was brutally murdered by his cousin. Locals say his spirit lived on in his skull, which was left outside to guard against intruders. Strange things were said to happen when anybody tried to remove the skull. It is also claimed that the present road from Combs to Chapel was constructed because the railway bridge would not stand over Dane Hey Road. After the first bridge was completed it collapsed, burying the workmenÃ¢Â€Â™s tools. This was blamed on the skull: Dickie had been against the railway going across Tunstead land. Combs. A lane with hedges of honeysuckle and hawthorn winds into the village of Combs, where a handful of stone-built cottages are centred on the welcoming Beehive Inn. CombsÃ¢Â€Â™ most famous son is Herbert Froode. He made his name in automotive engineering as one of the inventors of the brake lining. Starting out in the early 1890s he developed woven cotton brakes for horse-drawn wagons, but his ideas didnÃ¢Â€Â™t really take off until 1897 when the first motor buses emerged. Froode applied his knowledge of brakes to this much greater challenge and by the end of the century had won a contract to supply brake linings for the new London omnibuses. Ferodo, his company, is an anagram of his surname. Final Views Through the village the route takes to the hillsides. Now Combs Reservoir, which is spread beneath your feet, looks every bit a natural lake. Beyond it are the plains of Manchester and the hazy blue West Pennine horizon. In the other direction the gritstone cliffs of Combs Edge, which look rather like those of Kinder Scout, overshadow the sullen combe of Pyegreave Brook. This very pleasing walk ends as it starts, by the shores of the reservoir. If you look along the line of the dam towards the right of two farms, youÃ¢Â€Â™ll see where Dickie lived. HeÃ¢Â€Â™s probably watching you, too. While you're there: Take a look around charming Chapel-en-le-Frith, a traditional market town with a cobbled square and the 14th-century Church of St Thomas Ãƒ Becket. In 1648 1,500 Scottish soldiers were taken prisoner and locked in the church after the Battle of Ribbleton Moor. Forty-eight soldiers died in what was to be known as the Black Hole of Derbyshire. What to look out for: On a winterÃ¢Â€Â™s day in 1995 a group of birders saw something they hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t been expecting. While wandering by the west shores of Combs Reservioir they came across some huge clawed footprints sunk deep into the mud. After studying the photographs they had taken it became obvious that a huge cat had been on the prowl - probably the Peak Panther that has had many sightings locally. Where to eat and drink: The Beehive Inn at Combs is a splendid little pub serving fine bar meals. Alternatively, thereÃ¢Â€Â™s the more formal Hanging Gate Inn at Cockyard. Directions: Follow the path from the dam along the reservoirÃ¢Â€Â™s western shore, ignoring the first footbridge over Meveril Brook. As the reservoir narrows the path traverses small fields, then comes to another footbridge over the brook. This time cross it and head south to continue across another field. Beyond a foot tunnel under the Buxton line railway, the path reaches a narrow hedge-lined country lane. Turn left along the lane and continue into Combs village. Past the eehive Inn in the village centre, take the lane straight ahead, then the left fork, signposted to Dove Holes. This climbs out of the village towards Combs Edge. Take the second footpath on the left, which begins at a muddy clearing just beyond Millway Cottage. Go through the stile and climb on a partially slabbed path and then uphill across pasture with the wall on your right. Away to the right is the huge comb of Pyegreave Brook. Climb the pathless spur and go through gateways in the next two boundary walls before following a wall on the right. Ignore a gate in this wall - thatÃ¢Â€Â™s a path to Bank Hall Farm - but stay with the narrow path raking across rough grassy hill slopes with the railway line and the reservoir below left. The path comes down to a track that runs alongside the railway line. This joins a lane just short of the Lodge. Turn left to go under the railway and north to Down Lee Farm. Turn left through a kissing gate 200yds (183m) beyond the farmhouse. The signposted path follows an overgrown hedge towards Marsh Hall Farm. The fields can become very boggy on the final approaches. When you reach the farm complex turn right over a stile and then follow a vehicle track heading in a northwesterly direction. After 200yds (183m) turn left on a field path that heads west to a stile at the edge of the Chapel-enle- Frith golf course. Waymarking arrows show the way across the fairway. The stile marking the exit from the golf course is 300yds (274m) short of the clubhouse. You then cross a small field to reach the B5470. Turn left to walk along the road (thereÃ¢Â€Â™s a pavement on the far side), and follow it past the Hanging Gate pub at Cockyard. After passing the entrance to the sailing club, turn left to cross over the dam of Combs reservoir and continue ahead to return to the car park.