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A special walk that takes you through Shining Cliff Woods, where in the spring the floor is covered with bluebells. Leaving the woods behind, you walk through beautiful open countryside with good views of the Derwent Valley, returning along the towpath of the Cromford Canal. 


Shining Cliff Woods is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the large variety of plants and animals found in this ancient woodland.


Betty Kenny and her husband lived here in the 17th century in a huge yew tree said to be 2,000 years old. According to legend, a bough of the tree was hollowed out to form a cradle for their children, the probable origin of the nursery rhyme ‘Rock-a-bye-baby.’


Alderwasley Church stands in the grounds of Alderwasley Hall; few churches in England can be in such a delightful setting. A cedar tree stands guard, while just below, a sparkling stream runs with little waterfalls and ornamental lakes. 


The walk along the Cromford Canal towpath takes you through a nature reserve, where you can watch the waterfowl busily looking for tasty morsels of food. Here you are within a few yards of four modes of communication, both past and present: canal, railway, road and river.






Length:     6 miles.


Start/Finish:    Ambergate Railway Station Approach.


Location:     A few yards along the A610 at Ambergate Railway Station, off the A6, Belper to Matlock road.


Terrain:     Mainly easy walking, with fairly gentle gradients. Can be muddy in places.







  1.  Walk back down Station Approach and turn left under the railway bridge, and then left again along the A6.  Cross the road and follow the lane down by the side of the church.

  2.  Go over the river bridge and turn right along a wide track, signed for the Betty Kenny Trail.

  3.  When the track divides take the right fork, which goes between several derelict factory buildings.

  4.  After leaving the buildings behind, maintain the same direction without deviation, before turning left at a finger post sign, for Alderwasley and Whatstandwell.

  5.  Follow the path as it climbs up through Shining Cliff Woods. Leave the wood by a stile, at first keeping close to the field boundary on the right.

  6.  On reaching a marker post follow the direction of the pointer, and maintain the same direction aiming to the left of Alderwasley School.

  7.  Walk alongside the school playing fields to reach a minor road. Turn right and follow the road round past the entrance to the school.

  8.  At a road junction, continue down New Road, until directly opposite to the entrance to Home Farm. Turn left, along a path marked for the Midshires Way and Derwent Valley Walk.

  9.  Keep left along a field path to a stile. Turn sharp right down the next field to go through a gap in the hedge about 20 yards in from the right hand corner.

 10. Turn left and walk close to the field boundary to a stile you can see in front of you. Go up the next field, keeping close to the hedge on the right to a stile at the top.

 11. Immediately you are over the stile, turn right over another stile at an intersection of pathways.

 12. Continue keeping close to the field boundaries on the right, though a series of fields, with Crich Stand, clearly seen in the distance, acting as your guide.

 13. After passing to the rear of Hankin Farm, follow the path to the right of a cottage and walk down the drive.

 14. Where the drive bends to the right continue along the path in front of you through an area of woodland. At the bottom of the wood turn right and walk to the road.

 15. Cross the road, go over a stile and walk down to the A6 and cross the bridge over the River Derwent.

 16. Walk a few yards up the road towards Crich, before turning right onto the towpath of the Cromford Canal.

 17. On the outskirts of Ambergate, go under the first road bridge you encounter, but at the second bridge leave the canal. Turn right down a lane signed for Ambergate Railway Station.

  18. Go to the left at the bottom of the lane and then left again at the A610. Station Approach is on the right just after passing under the bridge.



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Heage Windmill, (Tel. 01773 853579 - when mill closed telephone 01773 853136) a Grade II listed building, is the only working, stone-towered, multi-sailed windmill in England. Spectacular views across the Derwent Valley. Visitor Centre and shop. Light refreshments.

Normally open: Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from Easter to the end of October. please confirm details.


Arkwright’s Cromford Mill, (Cromford Mill Tel. 01629 823256, Masson Mill Tel. 01629 760208) the world’s first successful water-powered cotton-spinning mill. It is now a world heritage site and guided tours are available. There is a whole-food restaurant, a number of shops and free car park. The mill is a not to be missed attraction, along with Masson Mill situated about a quarter of a mile away on the A6, which has been converted into a shopping village and working textile museum. Open daily.


Mining Museum and Temple Mine, (Tel. 01629 583834) where you get a very realistic impression of what the conditions used to be like for men who toiled underground. After completing your absorbing tour of the museum, you can visit Temple Mine that has been worked since 1922. The museum is open daily throughout the year. Temple Mine is open on a reduced basis in the winter.





Hurt Arms (Tel. 01773 852006) is a large, roadside pub at the junction of the A6 and A610, open all day. Food lunchtime and evenings every day - book for Sunday lunch. Extensive beer garden and children's play area.


The Coach House (Tel. 01629 534346) is a converted farm and buildings with an attractive courtyard with tea room, licensed restaurant, ice-cream parlour, craft and gift shop. Art and Craft Fairs take place on Bank Holiday Mondays and the last Sunday of the month for non-Bank Holiday months. Accommodation. Open all year Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays – tea rooms from 10.30am-5pm. Please confirm details.





Provides a wide range of features on towns and villages with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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The village of Ambergate straddles the A6 and lies in a valley, now part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Corridor. It is a good starting point for a walk, either along the Cromford Canal, or through the ancient woodland of Shining Cliff Woods and beyond. 

Ambergate is the product of the 19th century, and has grown from a tiny hamlet to a substantially sized village, the birth of the railway era and the industries it attracted as a result being the main reasons for its growth. 



Ambergate Feature



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