Pately Bridge and Stumps Cross Caverns

The boyfriend had an interview yesterday near Pately Bridge, and as his designated chauffeur I had a few hours to kill in the area. I’ve only ever driven through Pately Bridge before and decided that would be the place to start.

The town is very small, but the tourist information lady promised me that the Pately Bridge Heritage Trail would take about an hour, show me all the historically significant and interesting places in the town and was the bargain price of 50p for the map. I took up the offer, and spent a pleasant half hour doing the trail- clearly the suggested time was aimed at the numerous OAPs i saw walking around. It was kind of interesting and I did see the whole of the town, but the plaques indicated on the map had the same, if not less, information that the leaflet and a lot of the places were now normal houses or pubs and so there wasn’t a lot to see.

The museum turned out to not open until 1.30pm and so I decided to extend the walk down the side of the river instead, which was very pretty as long as you didn’t look left towards the caravan site, but nevertheless was a nice little walk. I was then drawn in to a tiny art gallery by some really lovely pictures, not just the slightly odd ‘modern’ art some galleries sell. I ended up buying a trio of bird paintings to add a bit more colour to our walls, and was very pleased with the purchase, they are very cute but also well done, at least I think so.

For lunch I nipped into The Old Bakehouse that had queues out of the door, which I took as a good sign and was right! It did very good sandwiches- I had roasted Mediterranean vegetables and humus in ciabatta which I took to the park and ate in the sunshine. It also did a lot of baked goods which looked very tempting but I was trying to keep healthy this week and gave them a miss. I had already bought sweets from the Oldest Sweet Shop in England, which was like a treasure trove of sugary goodness and really bought a smile to my face.

Feeling that I had done everything there is to do in Pately Bridge, I decided to drive up to Stumps Cross Caverns, about 15 minutes away up on the moors. It is a self guided cave system so you just grab a helmet and go, but the route is well signposted and lit so it’s not that bad, although I did hit my head on the low ceilings several times. There seemed to be a quiz and things for kids to find throughout, but I felt a little old for that! It was really interesting but I had to rely on my long forgotten geography lessons to explain the features like stalactites as there were no info signs. There was a video at the end that explained it, which would have been more helpful at the start, but seeing the 90s fashions it featured were well worth the clunky graphic effects. Walking around took about half an hour, and a twenty minute video was more than enough. I passed through the gift shop on the way out and bought a treat for the boyfriend- a little stone dinosaur which he loved.

Overall, I had a nice day out and the Caverns were well worth visiting, but I don’t think I need to go back- Pately Bridge is lovely, just a bit small for more than one day.

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