A superb walk taking in a wide variety of scenery, best walked in the spring or summer, when the wild flowers are growing. The walk includes a nature reserve and two dry dales, each of a completely different character to the River Dove that separates them. Tissington Trail, popular with walkers and cyclists, provides an interesting contrast for the final section of the walk.
Shortly after setting off on this walk Biggin Dale is entered, a large part of which is designated as a National Nature Reserve. It contains many limestone loving plants, including purple orchids, harebells and purple flowered meadow cranesbill.
At first the sides of the valley alongside the River Dove are bare and rock fringed, but this soon changes, with the slopes on the right becoming thickly wooded. The dale, rich in wildlife, is wilder than Dovedale and more unspoiled.
After leaving the Dove at Coldeaton Bridge, the second dry dale is entered and the route soon becomes hemmed in by its steep rocky sides. On emerging from the dale, the Tissington Trail, a former railway track, is soon joined. The track was converted in 1963, and ever since has been a very popular area for leisure.
Length: 6.5 miles.
Start/Finish: Main Street, Biggin.
Location: On southern side of A515 Ashbourne to Buxton road.
Terrain: The descent from Biggin to the River Dove is long, but not steep. The lower section of Biggin Dale is strewn with scree boulders and carries surface water in the wet season. After leaving the River Dove, the climb up from the valley to join the Tissington Trail, is not particularly strenuous. Good wide, open views are in evidence during the trail section of the walk.
W 1. Walk down the main street past the Waterloo Inn along the road towards Hartington.
2. 2. At a road junction, turn right along Hardings Lane, and after two or three yards go left at the sign post directing you to Biggin Dale.
3. 3. Continue down the dale, eventually crossing a stile as the valley curves to the left, a waymarker and a sign for ‘Bridleway to Biggin Dale’ guide you on your way.
4. 4. At the dale junction the path bends further to the left to a stile, with a dew pond on your right. Once through the gate stile, turn sharp right and continue down bank, with the wall on your right.
5. 5. Maintain the same direction along the valley floor, sections of which carry surface water in the wet season.
6. 6. On reaching the foot of Biggin Dale, turn left and walk alongside the River Dove.
7. 7. Forty yards past Coldeaton Bridge, turn left immediately after crossing a stile into a narrow side valley.
8. 8. Walk up the valley eventually leaving what is National Trust land at a stile. Maintain the same direction, keeping the wall close on your left as you gently climb up the valley.
9. 9. The ground flattens out a little and you soon see some farm buildings, a little way ahead of you on the left. In the final field before the road cross a stile, by a gate a few yards in from the left hand corner.
1 10. Walk to the right up a minor road heading towards the bridge you can see in front of you.
1 11. Do not go under the bridge, but turn right by the Information Board and then left to walk over the bridge and along the Tissington Trail.
1 12. Walk up the trail in a northerly direction, passing through Coldeaton Cutting and then open countryside, crossing Back Lane and an embankment.
1 13. After passing through a short cutting and reaching another embankment you leave the trail at Biggin Road Bridge. Walk a few yards over the bridge before doubling back to the road.
1 14. Turn right, and walk under the bridge and continue down the road back to the starting point of the walk.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Manifold Valley Visitor Centre (Tel. 01298 84679) housed in the old Hulme End Station, where information displays outline the history of the railway, the industries and local community. Open on a seasonal basis - Leek Tourist Information Office (Tel. 01538 483741) will be able to supply further details outside opening hours.
Ilam Village with its alpine style cottages and close proximity to Dovedale makes it a very popular attraction. The National Trust grounds and country park of Ilam Hall are open to the public.
Hartington The picturesque village of Hartington with its spacious market place, village green, delightful duck pond and limestone houses, which sparkle in the bright sunlight, make it one of the major tourist centres in the Peak District. Hartington’s main industry apart from tourism is cheese making. Cheese can be purchased from the factory shop opposite the duck pond.
The Waterloo Inn (Tel. 01298 84284) at Biggin is a popular village pub with a tiled floor, and a real fire in winter. Open daily. Food served lunchtime and evenings. There is a 20 pitch site for caravan and camping at the rear of the pub. Outside seating.
Beresford Tea Rooms, Hartington (Tel. 01298 84418) Open seven days a week from Easter, this busy little café provides a good selection of light meals and teas. It also houses the village Post Office.
DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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A small rather isolated farming village two miles south east of Hartington, just off the busy A515 between Ashbourne and Buxton. It is a popular spot for walkers who come to walk beside the river Dove through Beresford Dale and Wolfscote Dale. The Tissington Trail provides one of many other options particularly when a circular walk from the village is planned.
The route that leads down to Wolfscote Dale and the River Dove is appropriately named Biggin Dale after the village. It is a National Nature Reserve and contains a fine range of flowers in spring. Most of the time it is a pleasant limestone dale but during periods of heavy rain, underground waterways emerge from springs, producing a swift running stream.
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