A morning's walk along the riverbank between Cressbrook Mill and Litton Mill is as pleasurable a 30 minute stroll as you'll find anywhere in the Peak District but you may well need your wellies as the footpath is often part-flooded especially in winter months. As likely as not, you won't see another soul except perhaps the occasional dog walker or even less frequently a horse-rider. If you're really lucky, however, you might encounter a fly-fisherman trying to outwit the wild brown and rainbow trout that frequent these waters. Only members of the Cressbrook and Litton Fly Fishing club are allowed to fish this stretch of premium river but day tickets can be purchased for Monsal Dale on the website.
So escape the tourist hot-spots and discover a place where the trout still leap for mayfly and the sound of coots echoes against sheer limestone walls above the clear waters of the Wye. There's not much to do and no ice-cream vans either but to immerse yourself in the sound of silence is a rare and precious joy in our 'modern' world. Brief a joy as it surely is, access is nevertheless possible to people of almost any age (and fitness level) as the whole footpath is flat albeit muddy and often covered in a few inches of water. Catch a fleeting glimpse of a dipper as it 'swims' underwater in search of a tasty morsel or two before bombing off, lightning quick, inches above the river to find another rock from which to launch yet more dives. Admire the swans as they silently glide over to their little island to bask and preen in early summer sunshine. Water-cum-Jolly-Dale, simple, accessible, beautiful and a rare and free respite for all. Enjoy.